Updates to localizations in Firefox 22 and 23

Axel Hecht


If you haven’t noticed already, we think our localizers are pretty awesome. We’re proud to announce that, on top of all the teams that follow the rapid release process, today’s update to Firefox desktop 22 (and Firefox 23 Beta) contains major updates to a few localizations that we’d like to call out.

We’d like to thank the teams for their rededicated efforts and commitment to provide the users of their regions with the best localized browser on earth. In order to demonstrate the potential impact their efforts have made, I have outlined the potential number of native speakers of each language based on the populations of the language’s regions (see  Ethnologue’s research):

  • Gujarati (gu-IN) = 46,633,190
  • Hindi (hi-IN) = 260,302,820
  • Kannada (kn) = 37,739,040
  • Malayalam (ml) = 33,534,600
  • Northern Sotho (nso) = 4,101,000
  • Oriya (or) = 50,137,290
  • Punjabi (pa-IN) = 29,518,600
  • Songhay (son) = 3,400,000
  • Tamil (ta, India) =  68,763,360
  • Telugu (te) = 74,049,000
  • Zulu (zu) = 10,349,100
  • Thai (th) = 20,421,280
  • Maithili (mai) = 32,800,000
  • South African English (en-ZA) = 50, 500,000
  • Hungarian (hu) = 12,319,330
  • Ukrainian (uk) = 36,028,490

Thank you very much and congratulations on your success!

New homepage and design on l10n.mozilla.org

Axel Hecht


Today we’ve launched a new homepage on l10n.mozilla.org, and a new sandstone theme.

l10n.mozilla.org with the theme

l10n.mozilla.org with the theme

The l10n site now integrates better with the rest of the mozilla websites, and the homepage is more engaging.

Special thanks go to Matjaz Horvat, it’s his first big landing to elmo, the code behind l10n.m.o. The homepage redo was spearheaded by Jeff Beatty, and the design was done by Matt Ternoway.

Teach yourself L20n at L20n.org

Jeff Beatty


Language can be very difficult to capture within software localization. Each natural language in the world evolves at its own pace and in its own unique way, creating vibrant and rich means of expression. Sadly, simple static string translation is often ill-equipped to properly accommodate gender, conjugation, plural, or case changes required within the language by changing string variables and other run-time string composition issues. This is why we created L20n.

We’re super happy to announce that we’ve released an amazing tool to help localizers, engineers, and localization tool developers learn and practice L20n themselves! l20n.org contains a real-time text editor that allows you to edit L20n code and visually see how it impacts localization. The real-time editor is part of the “Learn” section of l20n.org dedicated to walk you through what L20n has to offer, feature by feature, and give you a chance to try these features out in real-time.

L20n is a localization framework (comprised of a pseudo-programming language) meant to transfer the ability to localize software using the fullness of any language from the developer to the localizer. L20n empowers localizers to be more independent of source language developers and have more control and flexibility in localizing software according to their native language’s demands.

l20n.org is live and running now! Go give it a try! Not only is it live, but its hosted on github for you to fork and contribute to. Enjoy testing out L20n!


New locales added to Firefox Aurora

Jeff Beatty


Today we’re very pleased to announce the addition of three new locales to the Firefox Aurora channel: Azerbaijani (az), Burmese (my), and Sakha (sah).

Azerbaijani (az), also known as Azeri, is primarily spoken in Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Syria. Ethnologue reports that there are approximately 25,000,000 native Azerbaijani speakers. To help their localization of Firefox move to the Release channel, join the Azerbaijani l10n team.

Burmese (my), also known as Myanmar, is primarily spoken in Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Ethnoloque reports that there were approximately 32,000,000 native speakers of Burmese in 2000. To help their localization of Firefox move to the Release channel, join the Burmese l10n team.

Sakha (sah), also known as Yakut, is spoken primarily in the Sakha Republic of the Russian Federation. Ethnologue reports that there were approximately 450,000 native Sakha speakers in 2010.

Congratulations to these teams! We look forward to seeing their hard work on the Release channel soon.

Giving linguistic feedback for Firefox localizations

Jeff Beatty


Testing and getting feedback about a localization’s linguistic quality is critical to delivering a browser that will meet users’ needs. We want to attract people in any region to the world’s best browser by making sure that it is the best localized browser available. The language availability and feedback mechanisms vary according to the language’s current status.

At Mozilla, we release Firefox desktop localizations in two ways: through language packs (also known as langpacks) and official builds. Before a language hops on the rapid release train to be distributed as an official build, it is distributed through the Firefox add-ons manager (AMO) as a langpack. L10n teams will update these langpacks as they progress with their l10n efforts. Users in that region (or users whose preferred language is found as a langpack instead of an official build) can download, install, and give feedback on the langpack’s linguistic quality all on the langpack’s AMO page. Here’s a list of all of the current localizations distributed as langpacks.

Official localized builds of Firefox desktop can be found here. These localizations have been technically evaluated by passing rigorous technical reviews. Although they’re on the rapid release train, these Mozilla l10n teams still benefit greatly from receiving feedback from their users. The best way users can provide feedback on a localization’s linguistic quality is to download and install the localized Firefox Aurora build and begin using it as their default browser. As users see translation errors they can log them in Firefox Input, located in the toolbar under Help > Submit Feedback. The Mozilla l10n team responsible for that localization can see their users’ feedback and then make corrections as needed.

Giving feedback is simple and can take as little time as 1-3 minutes to do. If you haven’t already downloaded and installed your language’s Firefox Aurora build or langpack, go for it! Your Mozilla l10n team will be grateful for your help.

Goal setting for your locale

Jeff Beatty


We work on two different cycles at Mozilla: a quarterly cycle (this is being posted in Q1) and a six week rapid release cycle. On a quarterly basis, the l10n drivers are responsible for setting goals for the progress they’d like to make on facilitating the localizer’s ability to get involved, the number of new locales we’d like to add to the shipping line-up, and the number of locales who, for one reason or another, have fallen behind and we’d like to help catch up. We attempt to make these goals based on what we assume to know about the l10n teams we’re working with, however, we’ve seen that we often don’t have enough visibility to accurately predict the number of new locales we’ll add to the shipping list or the number of locales that can catch up in a quarter. As you can imagine, these goals aren’t always met by the end of the quarter, largely because they don’t take into account the localizer’s schedule, commitment level, technical experience, or the l10n team’s goals. Well, we’d like to change that :-)

This quarter, along with the l10n team health evaluations, we’d like to encourage all l10n teams to start setting quarterly goals with us and publishing them on their l10n team wiki page under this heading:

===Team quarterly goals===

What type of goals would a l10n team set?

Here’s an example of a l10n team’s quarterly goals:

===Team quarterly goals===
* Sign off on Firefox Beta channel by week 2 of cycle.
* Add Fennec to project's list and set goal for which release to ship 
fully localized Fennec.
* Catch up on Firefox Aurora backlog. Be ready to sign off and ship 
up-to-date localized Firefox desktop at version 22.
* Recruit 2 new localizers-in-training.
* Make sure all team members have profiles in Mozillians directory and 
are in both the l10n and l10n:[locale-code] groups.

How will this help my team?

Planning and goal setting not only help you and your team to be more organized and successful, but it allows you to identify areas where new contributors could pick up tasks and join the group. By publishing these goals on your team wiki pages, we’re able to see your efforts and help where we can. Plus, it helps us identify what excites and motivates you as a team. Maybe [insert motivator here, like competition, SWAG, events, accomplishment, etc.] makes your team excited to localize and proud to be part of Mozilla. Your transparent goals will help us to see that and respond in a more personalized manner to your needs.

Need help with goal setting?

If your team needs help setting goals, please reach out. I’m happy to help you focus your efforts and make goals that will improve your efforts. You can also explore the l10n teams directory and see what goals other teams have set and see if they also apply to you.

Documenting how to localize Gaia

Jeff Beatty


Everyone is eager to get their hands on Firefox OS in their own language. Since Firefox OS will land in the Brazilian market first, localization is a very high priority. Some l10n teams have already hit the ground running with localizing Gaia. If you take a look at the Firefox OS project on Pootle, you’ll see that Fulah, Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh are already at 100% complete!

Of course we don’t want to stop there; we want everyone to be able to localize Gaia! But where do you start? What tool do you use? How can you test your work in Gaia? Those are the questions that we’re working on answering. In the next few months, we’ll be working on adapting the existing documentation to a wider audience and to our l10n documentation information model. We’ll also be updating it’s content. With this in place, anyone will be able to come in and localize Gaia into their own language!

If you have or are currently localizing Gaia and have already experimented with answering these questions, please get in touch with me (jbeatty [at] mozilla [dot] org) and I’ll be sure to add your experience and learning to the new Gaia l10n documentation.


Open source shines at Localization World Seattle

Jeff Beatty


As many of you know, Mozilla had the chance to attend and present sessions at one of the premiere localization industry events, Localization World Seattle (LocWorld). It was a great pleasure to participate in the conference and network with interesting people within the l10n industry. It was also a great success for both open source l10n and Mozilla’s l10n efforts.


Check out some of the greatness coming from our time at LocWorld:


L20n feedback
First, the audience in our session gave us great feedback and suggestions for L20n:
  • Create a central repository of common L20n files.
  • Too much coding, localizers are not software engineers.
  • Creatie a library of commonly used language macros for those who are not interested/able to create their own but still want to use L20n.
  • GALA and others interested in helping to develop and standardize L20n.
Pontoon feedback
Second, the audience also gave us great feedback for Pontoon:
  • Go backwards: in an admin panel, the Pontoon could be able to show where the string displays in the interface (Adobe was doing something similar by md5-hashing strings).
  • Character styles should be manageable when preforming in-context editing. Perhaps on the fly rendering of HTML added to the translated string.
General successes
Generally speaking, there were a lot of elements at LocWorld which combined to make the whole experience a great success. For example:
  • Both sessions received a lot of questions and interest. For our tools session, we had a Q&A session of about 30 minutes. We learned that this is apparently unusual for a LocWorld session. This session was considered one of the most engaging sessions of the whole conference.
  • A room moderator and conference program scheduler for LocWorld wants to institute an open source track for next year.
  • There are some industry publications and research firms interested in adding the Mozilla & open source perspective to their publications. We’ll have more to tell you about that in the future.
  • Several amazing organizations have expressed interest in contributing and collaborating with Mozilla and our l10n teams. Some of these are Translators without Borders, Amazon, and some language services providers (LSPs).
  • Overheard in the audience about Pontoon and L20n: “This is the future of l10n!”
  • The official theme of the event was ‘mobile,’ but all you could hear people talk about was crowdsourcing and community localization :-)
We’re excited to continue to participate in these events and look forward to attracting more interest on our l10n community’s excellent work! If you have any questions about our experience, shoot us an email.

New localizations for Firefox 16 desktop

Jeff Beatty


We’re happy to announce that we’re adding new localizations towith the release of Firefox 16 desktop.

The Kazakh (kk) and Acholi (ach) teams have been working tirelessly to produce the world’s first ever Kazakh and Acholi versions of Firefox desktop for native speakers of the languages wordwide. According to our friends at Wikipedia, there are more than an estimated 10 million native Kazakh speakers and 1.22 native Acholi speakers around the world. Native Kazakh speakers can be found in Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Iran. Native Acholi speakers can be found in Uganda and South Sudan. Thanks to these teams and their efforts, more than 11.22 million native Kazakh and Acholi speakers can now enjoy the option to browse the Web with Firefox 16. The release of a these Firefox desktop localizations brings our total number of regularly shipped languages to 80. Congratulations to the Kazakh and Acholi l10n teams!

We also want to thank all of our l10n teams for their consistent, dedicated efforts to bring the latest innovations of the web to the people of their regions.

See all the different language versions at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all.html.

Process changes for releasing new locales

Jeff Beatty


There are a bunch of new teams out there who have been waiting on progress. Sorry for the wait, but here’s what you’ve been waiting for.

We changed a few things around releasing new localizations. Many things did not change, but I’ll start off with the new.

We’ve redone the process points from review request to being on the rapid release cycle. The purpose was to put less emphasis on the bugs and the technical details, and more emphasis on the l10n dashboard.

We hope to get to a point where localizers are working on the aurora branch on each cycle, and the contribution gets wider testing on beta, and then seamlessly goes to release. We want to have most things lined up before going into aurora and having aurora ready in one 6 week period. Then migrate to beta, get wider testing, and on the same version go to final, if the community review passes.

To do that we did the following:

  • dropped the requirements to have new contributors do search engine patches, etc. We’ll need your input on what services to hook up, but Milos will do the technical implementation. We also call these “productization bugs”.
  • be more crisp on what’s required on the web site. Sure, you can do more, but we’ll set you up with what’s required, and nothing more.

And again, we put your team page front and center. That’s where you find what’s up to do, in the initial phase and beyond as we move from one cycle to the next.

Things that did not change:

  • We still only start taking your contributions upstream if they’re close to done. We don’t have a setup where we can take the first 20% and then care or not.
  • The tooling story is as difficult as before. Right now, narro is tougher than the locamotion (Pootle) setup, but none are without serious caveats.

The next batch of localizations we’re taking is going to ride along Firefox 18, coming on to Aurora next week.