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How to contribute translations

Here is how you can help translating Lino into your language.

We assume that you have installed a developer environment.

We assume that you have installed a developer environment of Lino.

Basic knowledge

You are going to edit a series of .po files that are part of the Lino source code. Each Lino repository has its own series of .po files. Their place is given by the locale_dir setting in the tasks.py file (see Project configuration settings). Here are some examples:

If the .po files do not yet exist in your language read Add support for a new language before going on.

If you are the first to provide translations to some source code that has new or changed translatable strings, you must run inv mm ("make message files") in order to make sure that the .po files are in sync with the source code. The inv mm command never deletes any messages, so you can run it also when you aren't sure whether it has run.

To edit these .po files you can use either your preferred text editor or a tool like Poedit. We recommend the latter. On Debian you install it with apt-get install poedit.

Choose a site to work on

Don't simply translate all the messages in the django.po files because

  • there are a lot of them

  • translations can depend on the context. It's better that you see where a message is being used before you decide how to translate it.

  • it's more rewarding to start with the most visible ones and and watch the results of your work while you are advancing.

Go to some demo project or to some local site directory (e.g. the one you created in Install your Lino developer environment):

$ go first

Edit your project's settings.py file so that it specifies a language distribution (in the languages setting) consisting of

  • English as first language

  • your language as the second language.

The first language cannot be your language because some demo fixtures would fail (https://gitlab.com/lino-framework/lino/blob/master/docs/tickets/108).

Your settings.py file should look similar to this:

# -*- coding: UTF-8 -*-

from lino_book.projects.min9.settings import *

class Site(Site):
    title = "My Lino Mini site"
    languages = 'en es'

SITE = Site(globals())

Initialize the demo database:

$ python manage.py prep

Run the development server:

$ python manage.py runserver

Point your browser to view the site. Sign in as the user in your language.


Find the strings that you want to translate

The translatable strings on this page (gettext and Poedit call them "messages") are for example the menu labels ("Contacts", "Products" etc), but also content texts like "Welcome", "Hi, Rodrigo!" or "This is a Lino demo site."

Now you must find out which django.po file contains these strings. For example, you can open another terminal window and use grep to find the file:

$ grep -H Contacts ~/lino/env/repositories/lino/lino/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/*.po
/home/repositories/work/lino/lino/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/django.po:#~ msgid "Contacts"
$ grep -H Contacts ~/lino/env/repositories/xl/lino_xl/lib/xl/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/*.po
/home/luc/repositories/xl/lino_xl/lib/xl/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/django.po:msgid "Contacts"
/home/luc/repositories/xl/lino_xl/lib/xl/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/django.po:msgid "Client Contacts"
/home/luc/repositories/xl/lino_xl/lib/xl/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/django.po:#~ msgid "Contacts"


Launch Poedit on the django.po file for the Spanish translation:

$ poedit lino/locale/es/LC_MESSAGES/django.po

It looks similar to this screenshot:


Translate a few messages. In our example we translated the following message:

Hi, %(first_name)s!


¡Hola, %(first_name)s!

Save your work in Poedit. Poedit will automatically compile the django.po file into a corresponding django.mo file.

Now you should first touch your settings.py file in order to tell runserver that something has changed. Open a third terminal window and type:

$ go first
$ touch settings.py

This will cause the server process (which is running in the first terminal window) to reload and to rewrite any cache files.

Refresh your browser page:


Submit your work

When you are satisfied with your work, you must make a pull request to ask us to integrate your changes into the public Lino repositories. More about pull requests in Git cheat sheet.

Add support for a new language

Lino uses the same language codes as Django. You can see the list of available languages in django/conf/global_settings.py.

Every repository has a list of languages for which it provides translations. This list is in the languages parameter in the repository's tasks.py file. If your language is not yet mentioned there, then add it.

After adding a language, you must run inv mm, which will create the new catalogue files.

And then you probably want to create a demo user for your language. Otherwise pm prep gives a warning:

No demo user for language 'bn'.

There are three ways to do it:

  • Do this manually by signing in as robin and changing the language field in robin's user preferences. You will have to do this again and again after each pm prep.

  • Edit the demo_users.py <https://gitlab.com/lino-framework/lino/-/blob/master/lino/modlib/users/fixtures/demo_users.py> file in your local copy of the lino repository.

    And don't forget to include this change in your pull request (see Submit your work)

  • Create a local fixture that creates the user:

    $ mkdir fixtures
    $ touch fixtures/__init__.py
    $ nano fixtures/demo.py

The demo.py file should look as follows:

# This is needed only if Lino does not yet have a default site
# administrator for your language.

from django.conf import settings
from lino.modlib.users.choicelists import UserTypes

def objects():
    yield settings.SITE.user_model(username="roberto",

Trucs et astuces

Voici un pitfall: la traduction du string suivant:

msgid "%(person)s has been unregistered from %(course)s"

ne doit pas être:

msgstr "%(personne)s a été désinscrit du %(cours)"

mais bien:

msgstr "%(person)s a été désinscrit du %(course)s"

C.-à-d. les mots-clés entre parenthèses sont des variables, et il ne faut pas les modifier.

À noter également que le s derrière la parenthèse ne sera pas imprimé mais est obligatoire (il indique à Python qu'il s'agit d'un remplacement de type string).