Localization Hackathon in the Czech Republic

When I learned that I was going to co-organize the Prague L10n Hackathon, I was very excited. This would be my second visit. I wanted to see what had changed since the last time I was there. Upon arriving at the airport, I saw multilingual signs in Czech, English, Russian and Korean. When I got to the hotel, I saw lots of businessmen from the far East and a Chinese restaurant right across the street. Prague is far more globalized than it was a decade ago.

Our Prague L10n Hackathon on April 30 – May 1 united seven localizers representing these languages: Czech, Russian, Slovak, Upper and Lower Sorbians. Three localizers had not been to any Mozilla events prior, not to mention this was the first time for all of them meeting one another. I personally had worked with a few through email communications and bugzilla, so it was great to match the names with the faces.

Spring in Prague: localization communities of Czech, Russian, Slovak, Upper and Lower Sorbians.

My colleague Matjaž started the two-day event by sharing the latest info on organization changes, including the most recent change in the localization team. He also updated the attendees with the latest in product roadmap, including the end of FFOS as in mobile phone and renewed focus of Firefox on iOS and Android. He covered the overall team goals of streamlining localization tools and repositories. We also touched on the importance of translation quality and the ways to drive that, such as establishing locale-specific style guides and terminology lists. Having these should help recruiting and onboarding new localizers as well as keeping consistency of great work done by multiple contributors.

The Czech team used the opportunity to brainstorm about wireframe and discuss ideas around redesigning the translation interface of Pontoon. We took notes, filed bugs and fixed some of them. Good news, just a few days after the hackathon, Michal Vašíček and Victor Bychek of the Russian community both submitted their first patches to Pontoon!

In addition to working on team goals separately, all of us sat together sharing stories on how they got involved, what they had tried for community outreach, and the challenges they faced in recruiting and retaining localization contributors. No wonder during the Spectrogram, most agreed that it was easier to train someone to be technical than to become a better translator. Some of them had been long time Mozillians, working tirelessly behind the scenes. More than half were fairly new. The majority of the attendees were students or just fresh out of college. Michal Vašíček was the youngest of all, only 14 years old, with lots of great ideas. Michael Wolf single-handedly covered two locales all by himself.  He finished a few projects over the weekend.  Tomáš Zelina was supposed to spend the weekend studying for his high school exams; he came anyway. He wouldn’t pass up a chance to meet and collaborate with his community, in addition to practicing some English. Juraj Cigáň was the sole representative for Slovak, but he found common interests and challenges with the Czech community, not just linguistically.  Alexander Slovesnik, a long time Mozillian and Victor Bychek, a college student of Russia lived more than 1000km from one another.  Such event would make their first face to face meeting possible.

Our local rep Michal Stanke was new in this role though a veteran as a localizer. He helped us with identifying and securing the venue, providing info on transportation, arranging dining options that highlighted authentic Czech cuisines and the famous beers the country was known for. All the contributors stayed in an AirBnb which was just walking distance away from the venue. We wrapped up our event by taking an evening walk from the Old Town to the Prague Castle and beyond. We wondered which community would host the event next year. We all looked forward to a different city and perhaps a different country with more new contributors attending.

Localization Hackathon in Mexico

From April 9-10th 2016 we held a localization Hackathon in Oaxaca, Mexico. A total of 21 people gathered in this beautiful city for two days of work and fun. Eight locales were represented there, most of which were indigenous languages:

  • Spanish from Mexico
  • Triqui
  • Purépecha
  • Mozilla Nativo
  • Mixteco de suroeste
  • Mixteco de oeste central
  • Maya kaqchiquel
  • Zapoteco

As Jeff has already explained in a previous blog post this year’s l10n hackathons have a slightly different format than last year’s. Communities are more in control of their own agenda and need to determine specific and detailed goals beforehand. They are then expected to tackle those, mostly on their own, during the two days. L10n-drivers present (Jeff and I) gave summaries and presentations concerning the current status of Mozilla projects on Saturday morning – but the rest of the time we played mostly the role of observers and facilitators while the localizers took control of the event.
Exciting, right? 🙂
Here’s a recap of what happened:


The morning was dedicated to updates of the current active Mozilla projects relevant to localizers, which were mostly part of the Mozlando All-Hands discussions we had in November. Jeff and I covered topics such as FirefoxOS changes, updating our communication channels, Translation Quality & Style Guides, the future of l10n hackathons, changes in the way we handle repositories, and much more.

Each community learned the importance of testing their work with Transvision, specifically using the new “unlocalized“, “consistency” and “unchanged” views. These are great steps in our path to continuously improve the quality of the localizations and ensure they are state–of-the-art!
We then had a quick and fun spectrogram session with all the participants. It’s always a great way to learn where we stand and how localizers handle their work. I won’t talk too much about this session since it has to stay somewhat a surprise for the upcoming hackathons 😉 So, suspense!

Spectrogram Session

Spectrogram Session

After a delicious typical Oaxacan lunch (thanks again to Surco Oaxaca for hosting us and providing lunch!) we went back to work and it was now time for communities to drive the event forwards.

Chapulines! Yummy!

Chapulines! Yummy!

Each team introduced themselves one by one, and presented their:

  • Active projects
  • Work flows
  • Successes since last year’s hackathon
  • Challenges since last year’s hackathon
Team presentations

Team presentations

It was interesting to hear how much progress teams had made and how the previous year’s hackathons had helped them grow. Also, some of the presentations helped other teams gather knowledge and insight into how they might work around their own challenges and find solutions to issues they were encountering.
Once this was done, the localizers split up into their teams and started working on the goals they had set for themselves beforehand. Some of those goals were: catching up with pending l10n work, coming up with recruiting strategies, review current tooling needs, testing their work, and much, much more! More details on goals can be found here: https://wiki.mozilla.org/L10n:Meetings/2016_Oaxaca_hackathon


Sunday was mostly community-driven, and probably one of the most productive days as it was fully dedicated to break-out sessions and getting caught up with tasks and goals.
To start the day, Rodrigo from the Zapoteco community gave an excellent presentation on his guide to localization for under-resourced languages. After that, all participants got their hands dirty with localization tasks 😛
We also went over style guides with each and every community, gathering feedback on the English Style Guide template that the “Translation Quality Team” has recently created. Some communities started writing their own style guides, which is an important step towards ensuring consistency and quality in their translations.
At the end, we talked about the future of hackathons and what next year might look like. Some people have volunteered to lead that discussion and organization (thanks!). Things to take into account in order to plan these are for example visa needs, general cost of the city the event will be held in, if a Rep is present and can help in that city, flight costs, etc.
In all, this event was full of work and fun, which we believe are the necessary ingredients to creating the best localized products in the world.

Thank you to all that participated! As chofmann once put, “I love this community!” (and if you haven’t seen this video before, you MUST watch it NOW:)

"Oaxacathon" Participants

“Oaxacathon” Participants

New directions for the Mozilla l10n-drivers

Many teams change and evolve over time. These changes involve organization changes as well as reorienting the team’s focus, mission, and function. I’m excited to announce that we’ve been experiencing some changes within the l10n-drivers team at Mozilla.

Team Organization

The biggest of these changes is that Chris Hofmann has stepped away from Mozilla after more than a decade of service. During his time, Chris ran a number of projects including starting mobile engineering. More recently, he’s been running l10n and our bug bounty program. We wish him the very best. I’ve been asked to lead the l10n-drivers team in Chris’s place as Head of Localization.

Another change is that Pascal and Arky are moving on to other projects. We’re grateful for their years of service to l10n and wish them the best in their future efforts.

Finally, we’ve made some specific decisions on team structure and responsibilities. I’m very happy to introduce you to the new l10n-drivers team organization:
Continue reading …

Moving the needle on translation quality

Identifying translation issues is hard

Trying to measure translation quality is like asking someone to tell you if a cake they’ve made tastes good. It may taste very good to you, but it may taste terrible to your friend. Despite the fact that the cake’s recipe might have been followed very closely, each of us has our own unique set of criteria of what makes a “good” cake. If someone were to ask you to describe why the cake was or was not good, you may struggle for the right words. It often comes down to a gut feeling that determines whether or not it’s good.

When you’re asked to evaluate a translation into your native language and describe whether the translation is good, you might find yourself struggling for words, leaving you to simply say, “The translation just doesn’t sound/feel right.” While this may be true, it doesn’t describe the issue with the translation or what needs to be corrected to make it better. Often we simply lack the right words to identify the translation issue.

Continue reading …

Localization hackathon in Dublin

This year’s Mozilla Celtic l10n hackathon was held in the heart of Dublin in an Irish language school near Trinity College Dublin called Gaelchultúr. We were thrilled to bring the Celtic Mozilla communities (Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton) together again to discuss Celtic language technologies, the Mozilla l10n process, and collaboratively raise the bar for l10n quality.


Irish, Welsh, Breton, and Scottish Gaelic Mozilla l10n communities together in Dublin.

Continue reading …

L10n invitations to Mozilla All Hands

Twice per year, Mozillians from around the world meet together for a week to work closely on projects that have a high-level impact. We also learn about new directions in the Mozilla vision and the roles that we play in that vision.

We (the l10n-drivers) have the pleasure of selecting Mozillians in the l10n community to join us for specific projects at each of these All Hands work weeks. The way it works is like this:

  1. The Platform group (l10n is part of Platform) is given a budget and a number of Mozillians we can select to come to All Hands to collaborate on specific projects with us about 3-4 months in advance.
  2. We determine which projects we will focus on during our time together and make goals for what we’ll accomplish in those projects during the week.
  3. Once the projects are decided, we identify Mozillians who are actively contributing to those projects we want to tackle at All Hands.
  4. We then follow a similar process to the process we use to invite Mozillians to the l10n hackathons we organize by asking ourselves this series of questions about those Mozillians we’ve identified:
    1. Who is most engaged in the specific l10n infrastructure projects we’ll be working on at All Hands (for example, Transvision, Pootle dev, etc.)?
    2. Who will be able to represent a particular l10n perspective when involved in cross-functional area meetings (for example, who can contribute code to implementing RTL support in Fennec)?
    3. Who is tuned into the global l10n community and can represent their viewpoints in l10n conversations?
    4. Who is currently working in l10n and other functional areas of Mozilla and would benefit from meeting with multiple teams in a Work Week?
    5. Who can participate best within the l10n agenda and goals that we hope to accomplish during this specific Work Week?

How can I apply or be nominated to go to All Hands for l10n?

There is no self-nomination or application process. We support the Participation Team’s “open nominations” program, which engages with global community leaders to nominate members of their community who seek to deepend their participation within the Mozilla project. We will be part of the nomination review process here. During that process, we’ll apply our selection criteria (mentioned above) for All-Hands Work Weeks to those of you who apply for the program.

We look forward to seeing a many localizer nominations to this “open nominations” program. If any of you have questions about this, please feel free to ask. We’re always interested in improving our selection criteria for these opportunities and we attempt to improve and iterate where we’re falling short. Feel free to reach out to us if you have ideas on how we can iterate and improve here.

Mozilla localization hackathons in 2016

In 2015 the l10n-drivers sought out to re-unite localization communities that hadn’t had an opportunity to gather and hack on localization challenges in person in years. We created a three year plan to bring back a sense of community and collaboration that is critical to Mozilla’s ability to deliver quality localizations of Firefox and other products to users worldwide. The plan is as follows:

2015: L10n-drivers organized and led these hackathons, including most (if not all) logistics and a templated agenda for each hackathon.

2016: L10n-drivers create a hackathon schedule and plan parts of the hackathon, leaving most of the agenda and some logistics to be collaboratively planned by the l10n communities participating in each. L10n communities lead the hackathons during the event.

2017: L10n communities organize and lead l10n hackathons for their community or for multiple communities, including logistics and agenda. L10n communities invite l10n-drivers to attend the hackathons in which their presence is needed.

Continue reading …

Firefox L10n Report (Aurora 47)

Hello localizers!
Thank you all for your great work with Firefox 45 and 46. Here’s an outline of what is currently in Aurora this cycle (47) and what we accomplished together last cycle:

This cycle (Fx47)

Key dates:

  • Beta (46) sign offs for *already shipping locales* must be completed before 6 April.
  • Aurora (47) sign offs must be completed before 18 April.

String breakdown:

  • Approximately 177 new strings landed in Firefox desktop and 13 for Fennec (unshared).
  • About 59% of the new strings in desktop are in devtools and DOM. 10% are for a Synced tabs sidebar. 10% are related to rewording the phishing warning message in Safe Browsing. 5% are for the Narrate feature in  Reader Mode. Please see the Aurora release notes for Firefox desktop for more info (to be available soon).
  • 23% of the new strings in Fennec are related to rewording the phishing warning message in Safe Browsing. 23% are concerning the phasing out of Gingerbread support. Please see the Aurora release notes for Fennec for more info (to be available soon).

Last cycle

Noteworthy events (45):

  • 63% of all locales signed off on updates of Firefox 45 on desktop. Congratulations to everyone who signed off and shipped this last cycle! Sadly, this is an 11% decrease in locale coverage between Firefox 44 and Firefox 45.
  • 62% of all locales shipped signed off updates of Fennec 45 on Android. Congratulations to everyone who signed off and shipped this last cycle! Sadly, this is an 12% decrease in locale coverage between Fennec 44 and Fennec 45.
  • Despite the lower number of sign-offs, about 96% of all l10n communities contributed to making Firefox & Fennec 45 available in their native languages. Thank you for your time and effort!
  • The Guaraní localization team launched their first localization of Firefox desktop in Fx45! This is the first indigenous Latin American language community to ship a Mozilla localization.
  • The Romansh and Maya Kaqchikel localization team will launch their first Mozilla localizations in Firefox for Android in Fennec 46!

Thank you to everyone for all of your dedication and hard work this last sprint. As always, if you note anything missing in these reports, please let us know.