Mozilla Baltic l10n Meet-up

At the beginning of June, together with my colleague Axel, we headed to Vilnius (Lithuania) for the Baltic l10n meet-up. The plan for the week-end was to meet some of our localization teams in the Baltic and East Europe area, get them up to speed on Mozilla’s mission and future, and discuss each team’s status and needs.

Vilnius - June 2015

The event was hosted at the Mathematics and Informatics faculty of Vilnius University, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help and logistical support of Rimas Kudelis, historical maintainer of the Lithuanian localization, and host extraordinaire.

We managed to gather localizers for Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian, in the same room, all together possessing a very diverse mix of experience. Localization is one of the groups at Mozilla with the highest number of “old guard” contributors, but we had a lot of people who only recently joined the project, with involvement ranging from 1 month to 1 year. As far as I know, this meet-up also holds the record for our youngest l10n contributor (Jānis, Latvian).

Given the number of “new-guard” contributors, we started the first day with an introduction on Mozilla’s mission, largely based on the presentation that Mitchell gave in Portland at the end of 2014. Then moved to other themes like Firefox 38.0.5, plans for the next southern-spring release, and the decision making process at Mozilla. On the second morning we focused on tools and Firefox OS, leaving the afternoon – like the day before – to each team to catch up with actual localization work.

During the various discussions, one interesting idea came from the Latvian team: Google is doing an incredible job with doodles, celebrating local relevant dates, historical figures, etc. Can we use home page snippets in a similar way to promote localization? For example: create a snippet with a national Latvian theme, promoting localization and targeting en-US users in Latvia. That, together with the idea of promoting alternative downloads emerged at the Celtic meet-up, would greatly improve the visibility of some of our localizations.

We also need to figure out the secret behind the growth of the Lithuanian team: it moved from being a one-man band for several years, to having several active contributors in just a couple of years.

Here’s a brief list of other topics that, I believe, require more thinking and follow-ups:

  • Decision making: sometimes localization teams feel excluded from discussions. Mozilla needs to improve the way it communicates key decisions, not just to the general public, but more importantly to the community of core contributors.
  • How can we improve the interaction with Reps, and make localization as appealing as other initiatives (maker parties, app development, etc.)?
  • l10n mailing lists: can we improve the signal to noise ratio?
  • l10n testing: how do we get access to platforms that are not available in a localization team (e.g. Windows or OS X machines, iOS devices, etc.)?

Note to self: make always sure that someone is covering the event with photos, and organize the group shot at the end of the first day. Also write these posts earlier, before memories get foggy 😉

I’d also like to thank publicly our colleague Jeff Beatty: it’s so easy to travel around the world without worries only because there’s someone behind you who’s taking care of organizing these trips down to the smallest detail, and managing the immense amount of paperwork and emails. Thanks Jeff, both from your colleagues and all the localizers who, thanks to your work, are able to enjoy these events to the fullest.

Mozilla Nordic L10n Hackathon 2015

At the end of April 2015, Axel Hecht, Matjaž Horvat, George Roter, and I took a trip to Stockholm to organize a l10n hackathon for the Nordic l10n teams. The last time we did something like this was in 2013. Essentially, Brian King, Axel, and I organized a central Nordic hackathon in Copenhagen, then we hopped in a car and drove from there to Gothenburg, Oslo, and Stockholm, organizing MozCafes all along the way to learn more about the Nordic community. On my way to meet with Brian and Axel in Copenhagen, I also stopped into Reykjavík for Iceland’s first MozCafe.

Since that experience, members from various Nordic communities expressed a lot of interest in holding another Nordic community meetup targeted at localization within the region. We were more than happy to help! Not only were we happy to help, but staff from Wikimedia Sverige were very happy to allow us to use their office space for the event. They shared with us how their community is growing and were excited to be able to collaborate with Mozilla for this event.

Continue reading …

Firefox L10n Report (Aurora 41)

Hello localizers!

Thank you all for your great work with Firefox 39 and 40. Here’s an outline of what is currently in Aurora this cycle (41) and what we accomplished together last cycle:

This cycle (Fx41) — 29 June – 10 August


Key dates:
– Beta (40) sign-offs for new locales must be completed by 22 July.
– Beta (40) sign offs for already shipping locales must be completed before 29 July.
– Aurora (41) sign offs must be completed before 10 August.
– The next major Firefox seasonal release is Firefox 42, which will be available for l10n on 10 August. I’ll be sending more information about this in the coming weeks.

– Approximately 199 new string changes landed in Firefox Aurora desktop and 79 for Fennec Aurora exclusively (unshared).
– 63% of the Firefox desktop string changes are new strings/files that need translation (125). 53% of those new desktop strings are in devtools. 14% are related to Telemetry services. 10% are related to add-ons management and 5% are related to Pocket. Please see for more info.
– 66% of the Fennec strings changes are new strings/files that need translation. ~24% of those are related to unsigned addon management. ~17% of those new strings are related to private browsing. ~23% of those new strings are related to various prefs (data privacy, QR code reading, etc.). Please see for more information.

Please remember that sign offs are a critical piece to the cycle and mean that you approve and can vouch for the work you’re submitting for shipment. Users for some Firefox and Fennec locales have not received a proper updated localization in the last 30 weeks to a year. If you belong to one of these locales, I’ll be reaching out to you this cycle to discuss the future of your locale as an official localization.

Last cycle — 11 May – 29 June

  Noteworthy events:
69% of all locales shipped Firefox 39 on desktop updates on time. Congratulations to everyone who signed off and shipped this last cycle! Sadly, this is a 13% decrease in locale coverage between Firefox 38 and Firefox 39.
77% of all locales shipped Fennec 39 on time. Congratulations to everyone who signed off and shipped this last cycle! Sadly, this is a 10% decrease in locale coverage between Fennec 38 and Fennec 39.

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 me know.

Firefox L10n Report (Aurora 40)

Hello localizers!

Thank you all for your great work with Firefox 38 and 39. Here’s an outline of what is currently in Aurora this cycle (40) and what we accomplished together last cycle:

This cycle (Fx40) — 11 May – 29 June

Key dates:
– Beta (39) sign-offs for new locales must be completed by 9 June.
– Beta (39) sign offs for already shipping locales must be completed before 16 June.
– Aurora (40) sign offs must be completed before 29 June.
– Firefox 39 released 12 May.
– Firefox 38.0.5 (Northern Spring Release) releases 2 June.

Remember that the schedule for the next few cycles is going to be odd. Here are the basics:
– May 11 – June 29 — This cycle will be 7 weeks in order to catch up to the regular schedule after cutting the Fx38 in Aurora cycle short by one week.

– Approximately 239 new string changes landed in Firefox Aurora desktop and 35 for Fennec Aurora exclusively (unshared).
– 40% of desktop string changes are related to devtools. 13% are related to e10s and add-ons. 9% are related to Firefox Hello and 10% are related to new tabs and new prefs. Please see for more info.
– 2 devtools files, ( and were moved from browser (browser/locales/en-US/chrome/browser/devtools) to toolkit (toolkit/locales/en-US/chrome/global/devtools). Tools like Pootle will automatically detect this change; if you’re localizing directly on Mercurial, you should move the files using ‘hg mv’. Feel free to ask more information on the mailing list or IRC (#l10n) if you need any help.
– 50% of the Fennec strings changes are related to tab queue management. ~30% are related to doorhangers firstrun, and onboarding, and prefs. ~20% are related to tab queues. 37% are obsolete strings that need to be removed from your repo.
– In addition to Firefox and Fennec, Firefox for iOS will launch it’s first version after the Northern Spring Release. I’m hoping to have more information about this next week.

Please remember that sign offs are a critical piece to the cycle and mean that you approve and can vouch for the work you’re submitting for shipment. For the 38 Northern Spring Release sign-offs, Axel and I made the decision to accept sign-offs for locales who had spent a long time trying to come up-to-date but have struggled to complete translation for all necessary parts. Our rationale was that it was better for a new user to receive the most up-to-date localization, even if that localization is only 80% localized, rather than a localization of Firefox that was 65% localized. If anyone has questions about this, please feel free to find Axel and I.

Last cycle — 30 March – 11 May

Noteworthy events:
82% of all locales shipped Firefox 38 on desktop updates on time. Congratulations to everyone who signed off and shipped this last cycle! This is a stunning 11% increase in locale coverage between Firefox 37 and Firefox 38! Hooray!
87% of all locales shipped Fennec 38 on time. Congratulations to everyone who signed off and shipped this last cycle! This is a stunning 12% increase in locale coverage between Fennec 37 and Fennec 38! Hooray!
– The Azerbaijani [az] team launched their first localizations of Fennec with Fennec 38. Please reach out to them with your congratulations!
– The Persian [fa] team launched their first complete localization update of Firefox desktop in nearly two years with Firefox 38. Please reach out to them with your congratulations! Here’s to many more Persian localizations of Firefox!

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 me know.

Mozilla l10n efforts to measure translation quality

Measuring translation quality is a shared priority

Part of what makes Mozilla projects so unique is the involvement of the community. Our community prides themselves on being experts on the Web, Mozilla, and all of Mozilla’s products. Thus, delivering high quality localizations of Mozilla products to users is not only a priority for the l10n-drivers, but one that is close to the community’s heart. For something that we all care deeply about, we have trouble collecting the required data to measure and benchmark translation quality within Mozilla.

Why do we need to measure translation quality?

It’s in Mozilla’s best interest to measure translation quality for three reasons:

  1. Our l10n community rocks and everyone outside of Mozilla needs to know it! Community-based translation, as a practice, is often underestimated. We have tons of anecdotes that illustrate how dedicated, skilled, and talented our community is at weaving together the perfect translations for Mozilla projects, but we can’t measure a cool story. We’re out to collect measurable data that demonstrates how awesome our l10n community is, in addition to the stories we know and love.
  2. Our l10n community rocks and everyone within Mozilla needs to know it! This information could help key decision-makers within Mozilla when making internal decisions that have an impact the direction of product development.
  3. Our l10n community rocks and our localizers themselves need to know it! Many of us who have attempted to bring new Mozillians into the l10n community often mention that l10n is a good place to learn, grow, and develop skills. Unfortunately, without accountability or a standard way of measuring and certifying an individual localizer’s growth, that promise becomes meaningless. Regularly gathering this data in intervals would allow the l10n-drivers to benchmark translation quality and make good on the promise that a localizer can show the world that they’re awesome through participating in Mozilla l10n.

Currently, Mozilla has no criteria-based framework for evaluating a localization/translation’s accuracy or quality. Determining how to evaluate translation quality is a very difficult task because language itself is very flexible and subjective. Critical to creating a successful framework for evaluating translation quality is including elements of a project’s scope as well as the most objective pieces of language, such as orthography, grammar, and corporate style guide. A translation quality assessment framework would need to be flexible, robust, interoperable, and easy for graders to use. Developing such a framework is difficult, but there are efforts from standards bodies working to solve that problem.

Evaluating the options

Pilot projects are a good way for us to determine the most appropriate standard and accompanying toolchain to use within the Mozilla l10n program. In June, we’ll be running another pilot project to assess the translation quality of new strings between Firefox OS 2.1 and Firefox OS 2.2 in Spanish using two different standards and their accompanying toolchains. We’ll collect data from each, analyze their efficiency in providing actionable feedback for localizers, and determine which standard and toolchain to begin implementing within the l10n program. If you are fluent in Spanish & English and would like to help evaluate Firefox OS 2.2 translations with this project, we would love for you to get involved! Visit us in #translation-quality on IRC. If you’re interested in other opportunities to help with translation quality assessment projects, stay tuned to the l10n blog for updates.

Celtic Languages Meet-up

At the beginning of March I was able to attend a localization meet-up/hackaton hosted in the lovely city of Bangor, Wales. Besides being the home of good part of our Welsh localization team, Bangor’s university hosts a very active Language Technologies Unit working on fields like speech recognition, machine translation, language corpora, etc.
On Friday the meet-up was preceded by a conference, Through Technological Means (Trwy Ddulliau Technoleg), that aims to bring together academics and practitioners who have an interest in the use and proliferation of language technologies in minority languages.

The target of this event was to gather localization teams from several languages spoken in the area, in order to take them up to speed on the recent changes in Mozilla, discuss their successes and struggles, compare experiences and catch up with some localization work.

The event spanned over two days, with about 20 participants covering Breton, Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Manx and Scots. A perfect match of old-guard locales with over a decade of experience, and new locales just starting to localize Mozilla products.

Celtic Meet-up Group

Photo by our fearless Mozilla Rep, Stephen Murphy

We started of with Mozilla’s mission: “Build the Internet as a global resource, open and accessible to all”. How can a product be really global, or even accessible if it’s not localized?
The localization of Firefox into Celtic and minority languages is a representation of Mozilla’s commitment to accessibility. As an open source project, everyday people take the fate of their language’s digital existence into their own hands and make Firefox a browser that esteems all the languages of the world equally.

We then moved to Mark Surman’s call to radical participation, and how important is to create a virtuous cycle where participation helps our products and programs, but at the same time people get value from participating.
It’s interesting to see what kind of values localizers are getting (or would like to get) from their contribution:

  • Being able to create connections with other people sharing the same passion for the language.
  • Being able to have an impact.
  • Being able to work directly with advanced technologies normally not accessible.
  • Coming from a linguistic background, learning practical IT skills.
  • Supporting local initiatives (e.g. localization academies).

It’s also important to remember that all these teams don’t simply work on localizing Mozilla products, but are often involved in localizing other Open Source projects like Libreoffice, KDE, etc.

Some interesting thoughts, and potentially actionable items coming from the meeting.

Download Page and Discoverability

The current download page for Firefox on relies exclusively on the current browser’s locale. If you’re using a browser set to en-US (American English), you’ll get a download link for the en-US version of Firefox.

It would be interesting to introduce geolocation in the picture: if you’re downloading Firefox from Bangor, the page should at least tell you that there are other builds you might be interested in for this area of the world. The same issue is relevant for other regions: think for example of a browser set to es-ES (Spanish from Spain) but used in Mexico, Argentina, or Chile, where we have specific localizations.

Printable and Localizable Marketing Material

We focus our entire communication on the “online”, but sometimes it would be useful to have material specifically created to be localized, printed locally and used in local events, or places like universities and libraries. And even keeping the focus on web content, we could do better in creating localizable campaigns. For example see this Libreoffice animation completely localized in Welsh.

Multi-language Support in Firefox

The current experience is far from good: you install an add-on (language pack) to add support for a specific language, but then you need another add-on to switch the UI language (or manually change preferences in about:config), and sometimes things break badly.

Multi-languages support is particularly important for minority languages: it’s not possible to install a browser in language X when there are multiple people with different language skills using a computer (think for example about universities and IT labs), sometimes that’s not even possible at home, where proficiency in a specific language might skip an entire generation.


Personally I found the event extremely fulfilling and useful. I hope it’s been an occasion for all participants to strengthen their bonds as Mozillians, and I’d like to thanks all people who spent energy and time in making this possible.

If you’re interested, some more links with further information and photos:

Virtual, global Mozilla l10n sprint — Report

I want thank everyone who both accomplished their Spring Release work before the l10n sprint and participated in the l10n sprint. As you know, the Spring Release is one of the two major releases this year and a big opportunity for new users to download and install your localization work. When they do so, we want to make sure they’re installing the most localized version of the browser(s) yet! In order to be sure that your localization is one of those shipping an update in the Spring Release, please sign off on your projects by 30 April.

Here’s what we accomplished before and during the sprint:

Firefox 38 desktop:

  • pre-sprint 48% signed off,
  • post-sprint 53% signed off (rm, tr, fa, ko)

Fennec 38:

  • pre-sprint 64% signed off,
  • post-sprint 66% signed off(pt-PT)

Web parts:

  • eo, kn, bn-IN, sk were able to bring their and other projects up-to-date.

The following locales were done with Firefox/Fennec spring release before the sprint. Congratulations and thank you:

  • af
  • an 
  • ar 
  • az 
  • bg 
  • bn-IN
  • br 
  • cs 
  • cy 
  • dsb 
  • es-CL 
  • es-ES 
  • et 
  • eu 
  • fi 
  • fr 
  • fy-NL 
  • ga-IE 
  • gd 
  • hr 
  • hsb 
  • id 
  • is 
  • it 
  • kk 
  • lv
  • my
  • nl 
  • pt-PT
  • pl
  • ro 
  • ru
  • sk 
  • sl 
  • sq 
  • sr 
  • sv-SE 
  • uk 
  • zh-CN 
  • zh-TW

The following locales made progress on localizing Spring Release products (Firefox/Fennec) during the sprint. Thank you for your involvement:

  • bg
  • br
  • cs
  • de
  • es-MX
  • fa
  • hi-IN
  • kn
  • ko
  • lt
  • nn-NO
  • pl
  • pt-PT
  • rm
  • si
  • ta
  • tr
The Beta cycle is not yet over and we all still have time to ship the most linguistically accessible version of the Firefox browsers yet! If you have not yet signed off on your localizations, please do so by 30 April. We will be reaching out to individual locales between now and then to see how we can help you ship a complete update for Spring Release!

Awesome l10n contributor: Umesh Agarwal

Part of a series similar to the Awesome L10n Communities series where individual contributors are spotlighted for their efforts.umesh

Umesh Agarwal

Started with Mozilla project: 2013
Nationality: Indian
Languages: English, Hindi, Bengali
Background: CS graduate specializing in Big Data and Data Mining, working on Oracle apps development.
Role in L10n community:  Translator & review for Hindi projects, coordinating Hindi Marketplace l10n
Projects you’re currently working on:
  • Marketplace
  • Other projects in need
  • Previously worked on Webmaker
How did you get started with the Mozilla project?

I began at Mozilla as a university student. Other members of the Indian community (Shahid Farooqui, Biraj Karmakar, Chandan Kumar) recruited me to be involved in the project. Shahid created an event at the university and gave me the chance to give a presentation on Mozilla design. After that event, Shahid conducted an online sprint for localizing projects in Pootle. Biraj and Shahid trained me on how to localize Firefox and other projects and then got me in touch with Rajesh Ranjan. Through Rajesh, I became familiar with the FUEL project and I became more and more involved. Seeing the software in my language was a very good and motivating experience.

What have been some of the biggest challenges to your localization effort?
It can be very difficult to find documentation for being involved in l10n. It is especially very tough for beginners. Connecting with mentors can help to fix this and make getting involved in Mozilla localization much easier and a lot of fun.


What have been some of your biggest successes?

Becoming a reviewer and then a l10n project coordinator for a national language (Hindi) in less than two years.

What’s your philosophy/method on localizing Mozilla projects (how do you stay on top of things)?

Having a clear priority for a project helps localizers to know where to concentrate all of our efforts and provide the best quality translation for the project. Take the Marketplace project, for example. When it became a priority and a need in India for the Firefox OS launches, we were able to focus on it. Before then, we didn’t focus on it. Prioritize your team’s projects within your own team. When another project priority is escalated, adjust. When there’s no escalation, rely on your team’s internal project priorities. Document these priorities on your team’s wiki page.

As a reviewer, I must also be a mentor. When I reject a string, I must follow up with them feedback on why that string was rejected to help them to improve their work and grow.

If you could identify several best practices that have helped you to become a successful Mozilla localizer, what would they be?
  • Follow the Mozilla L10n guidelines as closely as possible.
  • Following the guidelines from your regional l10n mentor.
  • Be in contact with your l10n mentor frequently.
  • Enjoy it! 😀
You’re a Mozilla Rep and a localizer. Do you see these roles as complementary? Could you provide details?

Both have their separate responsibilities, but in some ways they overlap. I’m able to organize localization events for Hindi, which helps the Hindi l10n community. As a Rep, my network goes beyond l10n, so I often help with events that aren’t l10n-specific. Where there’s a need from a specific l10n team to help, I’m able to support them with the Reps program, regardless of if it’s within the Hindi team or in another. I have helped with Bengali l10n events and the Maithili Fennec launch event in Patna.

What unique practices does the Hindi l10n team have for working on l10n projects?

We hold virtual l10n sprints, since the Hindi l10n community is spread throughout India. The Hindi mailing list helps to coordinate all of the work no matter where we are.
We also divide the workload and l10n project ownership. Many localizers want to be involved in Hindi l10n. It’s important to spread out the workload and give others an opportunity to participate and grow. Decentralized leadership also helps to mentor more people and share good ideas and practices.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing this year in your l10n efforts?

With this month’s virtual l10n sprint, I hope that we can arrive at 80% complete in Pootle for the locale. I’m also really looking forward to reactivating the localization literacy map project in FUEL.

Five things you may not know about me:
  1. I’m helpful, but sometimes it comes off as arrogant because I’m unable to help when there are communication gaps.
  2. I’m the leader of the FSA task force leader in India.
  3. I just recently became a Reps mentor 🙂
  4. I like soft Hindi music.
  5. My favorite food is biryani.

Virtual, global l10n sprint for Northern Spring Release

Hi localizers!

Thank you for all of your work to make the Northern Spring Release a success. Because the timeframe was so brief for localizing 38 in Aurora, we’re asking that you continue to focus your efforts on making 38 a great release while it’s in Beta. The marketing and publicity that will be used to promote this release will be critical to gaining more users across all locales and platforms. To best serve Mozilla users at this important time, we need to be sure that they receive the best the community can offer in localized products.

That being said, I’m excited to announce that we’re trying something new and different than what we’ve done before. On 8 April, we will be holding a virtual global localization sprint for the Northern Spring Release! We feel that the opportunity for user growth provided by the Northern Spring Release creates an exception to the preferred way of localizing these projects and requires this rare event. I use the term “sprint” specifically because we are hoping to cover a lot of l10n work within a short, 24-hour period of time in Beta (essentially, we’re sprinting to cover a lot of ground, fast). Here’s what will be involved:

– Unify the global l10n community virtually for 24 hours in order to complete l10n work associated with the Northern Spring Release (Fx38, fennec38, fx-ios, marketing, fxOS2.2, marketplace).

How it will happen:
–  A few l10n-drivers will clear their schedules throughout the day on 8 April starting at 12AM UTC. Each will work exclusively to support those participating in the sprint by answering questions, helping with testing, performing sign-offs, and even jumping in to translate where you feel it would be helpful.
– We have created the localization channel in vidyo just for this event ( and will hold most of the discussions there and in #l10n.
– There is no schedule of sessions or topics; this will be simply the largest online gathering of localizers around the globe intent on translating Mozilla projects for the Northern Spring Release.
– We’ll publicize the sprint on social media using the hashtag #mozl10n.
– While the sprint will be going on during those 24 hours, no one is expected to stay for the full 24 hours. We’re simply asking that you plan to spend time with us that day translating together.

Please join us on 8 April for this rare event for the Northern Spring Release! And please forward this email along to all members of your l10n team.

Please also let us know if you have any questions.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Localize Firefox 38: Northern Spring and ESR!

Firefox 38 is now string frozen. On March 30th, we’ll migrate 38 to
beta, which gives you a week and a half to get the translation work into
a great state.

This is one of our two big releases this year, and it’s the ESR, so it’s
going to be around for a while.

We ended up with a good 300 strings for 38; they’re split across:

  • Reader View and Reading List
  • Hello (tab sharing for example)
  • Developer Tools

Upcoming schedule for 38 and the northern-spring release:

  • March 30: Migrate from aurora to beta
  • April 6: Marketing material string freeze (including content for
  • April 30: last chance to get changes in on beta
  • May 12: Release Firefox 38, and celebrate

We’ve been talking to Dwayne about opening up 38 on Beta on locamotion,
and giving you all the goodness there. He’ll follow up on that.

Thank you so much for your contributions and your patience.