Why we localize Firefox

Mozillians participating in L10n are very diverse. They come from many different backgrounds, countries, languages, and experiences. For most, software development,  IT, and translation are their background. Others are Social Workers, Teachers, even Financial Civil Servants. Some are even employees of other open source projects similar to Mozilla (e.g., RedHat). I recently had the chance to ask Mozillians about their motivations for localizing Firefox. I learned that their reasons for localizing Firefox can be just as unique and varied as they are.

Let’s take a look at some of these reasons. While most were unique, there were also some common trends within the responses. These are top three motivators for localizing Firefox, according to Mozillians:

  1. To help users in my region have access to the web in their language.
  2. To preserve my language.
  3. To participate in open source software projects.

In addition to these, localizers also had very personal reasons for getting involved:

“I tried to help Armenian localizers so my grandfather could use Firefox in Armenian.”

“I wanted to do something which had an impact on others. This is difficult to do when you are a student and all your work is something which is graded and then forgotten. Contributing to an open source project was my way of having
an impact. Mozilla was a good fit for me because the Mozilla browser was so much better than what I had before, and I wanted to be part of it. Mozilla became my choice because the project seemed to balance principles against market relevance, whereas other open source projects at the time had a narrow focus on principles.”

“I was intrigued by the web-style XUL-based UI design and found that I could just edit a couple of text files to change the strings to German, which was fantastic compared to any other software I knew.”

It was also interesting to note that these reasons rarely change over time. The only difference between a localizer’s first reasons for localizing Firefox and their current reasons is that they have become more focused. As time goes on, a localizer’s focus gradually moves toward giving back to Mozilla and preserving their language.

“Now I also do it to give back to Mozilla.”

“Original priorities regarding language revitalization and open web are now greater than ever. Firefox Cymraeg was the first popular piece of software available of Welsh. It has shown the way and has set expectations for a multitude of other software to be available also in Welsh. Long may it continue. Melys moes mwy.”

“I am not a student anymore, so looking for a place to have an impact is not that important to me anymore. The Mozilla mission means a lot more to me now.”

When asked to share any final thoughts about their reasons for localizing Firefox, this is what some localizers had to say:

“Nowadays is easier to find software available in you own language, the real challenge is to deliver a professional quality product and prove that an Open Source community driven by volunteers is capable of doing it.”

“Having Firefox in our language is a very powerful tool for language revitalization. Because the Firefox brand is so well respected, it gives respect to our language also. It normalizes our language on the web and provides a good example to localizers of other software.”

“Minority languages need a presence on the Internet to enhance their raison d’etre and to provide a source of support and pride for their speakers.”

“Our web needs a good community based browser that is translated into as many languages as possible.”

What are your reasons for localizing Firefox, or any Mozilla project? Please tell us about your experience below or by emailing here.

If you’re not currently contributing to Mozilla L10n and would like to, please visit this site to find all of the L10n opportunities available to you.

3 comments on “Why we localize Firefox”

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  1. Shajib wrote on

    I like Mozilla….it is friendly to me….and hope to all others same to……


  2. nasir uddin wrote on

    I like Mozila it is frindly to me


  3. ISSA wrote on

    Io Salve Io mi chiamò ISSA mio langue e PULAAR vorrei fare traduttore ma ho non visto vorrei persone chi devono aiutare mi


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