New Firefox, continuous l10n, and l10n community workshops in 2017

There’s a certain excitement growing within Mozilla. We’ve spent the last year strengthening our core, making Firefox and other projects competitive, and eliminating pain points in the localization process. We improved our l10n quality control practices by holding l10n events (hackathons) to train localizers, creating language-specific style guides, and expanding our use of translation memory by enabling more projects on Pontoon. We’re now ready to expand on our l10n quality practices, support the release of a new Firefox, and transform localization into a continuous process in an effort to better support our users on localized builds of Firefox.

We’re preparing to contribute to this exciting time in Mozilla’s history by accomplishing the following long-term goals:

  • Implement a continuous localization process across all l10n projects.
  • Prepare Firefox desktop for implementation of l20n after Quantum.
  • Make sure that localization quality is a reason why users stay with Firefox.
  • Be aggressively competitive with existing mobile localizations and new mobile experiments.

Continuous localization

Continuous localization is a localization process whereby strings are quickly delivered to localizers for translation and testing and then quickly delivered to product teams for release, all with minimal manual intervention. With Quantum coming to Firefox, we’re expecting a larger than average volume of strings to translate and deliver to the organization. Optimizing our tooling and processes to more seamlessly interact with version control systems (VCS) and automating relevant QA checks & tasks will expand and focus the l10n community’s impact on the most critical tasks that have brought them to Mozilla to contribute: rapidly making Firefox available to users in any language. We’ll know we’ve accomplished this when we’ve done these things:

  • landed cross-channel localization,
  • improved our VCS interactions with Pootle & Pontoon,
  • incorporated a robust in-app notification system in Pontoon,
  • unified our dashboards,
  • and created the necessary training materials for localizers to know how to make a large impact within a world of continuous localization.

L20n in Firefox desktop

This goal might look familiar to you. We learned late in 2016 that a pure Javascript implementation of l20n introduced a number of performance issues in Firefox. This ultimately kept us from landing l20n in Firefox. With Quantum on the horizon, we’re working with the Firefox product team to define a timeline for accepting l20n into Firefox. This will likely not be until after Quantum has officially shipped later in 2017. In addition to setting this time line and criteria for acceptance into Firefox (and defining the l10n tech plan for Quantum), we’ll know that we’re successful here when we’ve landed l20n in Firefox for Android, added l20n selector support in Pontoon & Pootle, and continued our efforts to standardize l20n.

Measure and improve localization quality

Growth is the key word for 2017. Industry research tells us that users turn away from software that is poorly localized. As we’ve mentioned before, l10n quality is one of our highest priorities, however, we currently have no real way to measure quality. With performance, there are crash rate, startup time, and other metrics that can measure if a piece of software is well-developed. We’ve identified MQM as a similar metric that can help us measure the quality of localizations and inform how we recognize one another for good contributions and improve. We know we’ll be successful measuring and improving localization quality when we have done these things:

  • implemented MQM in Pontoon and Pootle,
  • improved localizer exposure to Bugzilla within tooling,
  • ensured that all l10n communities have and maintain style guides & glossaries for their language,
  • organize l10n workshops for all l10n communities shipping Mozilla localizations,
  • and create marketing materials & plans for us all to better evangelize Firefox in our languages.

Competition in mobile localizations

In 2017 Mozilla will be running multiple experiments in the mobile space. The continuous localization process will allow us the technical flexibility to support localization of these experimental projects. One way we can help make Firefox for Android and iOS a success is by offering users, at minimum, the same level of localization coverage as Chrome, Safari, and other competitors in this space. One advantage Mozilla has against Google, Apple, and others is our status as an open source project. Often we’re able to offer localizations of Firefox to users in more languages than they can thanks to you, the community. To be successful here, we plan to take these steps:

  • ship to users the same level of localization coverage as our competitors on mobile,
  • ship 5 more languages that they do not cover,
  • make it easier to clearly identify the set of strings required to ship a new localization within our l10n tools,
  • and work with the mobile teams to implement right-to-left (RTL) support in our mobile projects.

L10n workshops schedule

This year we’ll be holding six l10n community workshops (formerly called “hackathons”) in various locations around the world. These workshops will be larger than those we’ve held in the past, as they’ll involve inviting 3 localizers from anywhere between 9 – 23 l10n communities per workshop (27-69 localizers per workshop). The core focus areas for these workshops is four-fold:

  • Rebuilding communities
  • Evangelizing localized products
  • Localization quality & testing
  • Training on l10n tool features

Each of these are areas that we’ve identified over the last couple of years of organizing l10n events as areas in which l10n communities worldwide need more help and support from the l10n-drivers. We’ll work with each l10n community to set goals around these four areas for their participation in workshops. We hope that those attending these workshops will return to their communities and share the lessons learned at the workshop they attended.

We plan to follow this schedule for this year’s l10n workshops for the following active l10n communities:

  • 25-26 March | Barcelona
    • an, ast, ca, eu, gl, es-ES, fr, it, lij, pt-PT, rm, bg, bs, el, hr, hu, hy-AM, mk, ro, sl, sr
  • 22-23 April | Taipei
    • ja, ko, zh-CN, zh-TW, id, km, ms, th, tl, vi, my, lo
  • 6-7 May | Paris
    • ach, af, am, ff, son, xh, wo, az, ka, kk, tr, uz, ar, fa, he, ur, kab
  • 12-13 August | Asunción
    • pt-BR, es-CL, es-MX, es-AR, eo, cak, gn, zam, trs
  • 23-24 September | Berlin
    • br, cy, ga-IE, gd, de, en-GB, en-ZA, fy-NL, nl, uk, da, fi, is, nb-NO, nn-NO, sv-SE, dsb, cs, et, hsb, lv, lt, pl, sk, ru
  • 18-19 November | Kolkata
    • bn-BD, bn-IN, gu, hi, kn,  mr, ne, or, pa si, ta, te

The l10n-drivers will organize the workshops, including identifying localizers to invite from each community and seeking feedback and approval from each community’s leader(s). If you’re interested in following or participating in the planning, you can do so by following our projects in GitHub.

This is a big year for Mozilla as we aim to grow our influence. Thank you to all our community for your help. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together as passionate, dedicated Mozillians.


9 comments on “New Firefox, continuous l10n, and l10n community workshops in 2017”

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  1. Merike wrote on

    Happy to see that dates are planned early this year. I’m still a bit sad that schedule conflicts made me miss last year’s hackathon. Also loving that more communities are planned per event. I’ve certainly missed meeting some of the contacts previously made at various Mozcamps, I think others may feel similarly.


    1. Jeff Beatty wrote on

      Thanks Merike! We heard similar feedback from many communities last year. Glad that we can be flexible and help create a place for everyone to meet.


  2. Kristján wrote on

    Excellent changes! I welcome larger workshops because I believe there is a higher educational gain in getting feedback from a larger group (more angles). Takk 🙂


  3. Breana Gonzales wrote on

    Thanks for sharing, Jeff! These are great changes! 2017 is off to a fantastic start


  4. Michał wrote on

    This sounds great! Looking forward to having you all over in Barcelona 🙂


  5. Bjørn I. wrote on

    Are the scheduled dates the final dates for the Hackathons?


    1. Jeff wrote on

      Hey Bjørn, yes, the dates are final.


  6. Alem farid wrote on

    Fantastic,thanks for this good news.


  7. Claudio Galdiolo wrote on

    A link to l20n:


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