Translation Guide

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This document describes how to translate the software and manuals shipped by Zarafa. All our translation work is done through a web interface called "Pootle", if you have your own tools to make translations you can use our Pootle as well (just download and upload).

We currently only give a translator account on request. Use the form on this page to do this: Translator application form.

We ask these questions because we want, to some degree, control the quality of our translations.

Please understand that, as mentioned in our translation interface, you hand over the copyright of your work to us. This we need for potential re-licensing of future versions and commercial offerings.


What to translate?

Since translation takes quite a bit of effort: not only producing the initial translation but also maintaining it afterwards. As users become dependent on translations it is important to do it well, and keep doing it.

We currently have a number of translation projects but these are the most important: Terminology, Windows Client, WebAccess, WebApp, User Manual and Administrator Manual.

First (as explained below) the Terminology --more specifically the "zarafa-terminology.po" file-- should be translated. This is the basis for all common terms in the other translation projects.

Then the Windows Client, WebAccess and the WebApp should be fully translated (in any order). These projects translate the UI string found in our software.

The User Manual is next (as users are less likely to comprehend English at the level admins do).

And finally the Administrator Manual. We do not want to spend to much resources on this, as it is a big document, requires someone with full technical skills, and needs to be maintained very well. Currently we would like this document translated to French and Brazilian Portuguese only.

Getting started

First you need log-in credentials. If you do not have that, request it here.

Point your browser to and log in. If you log in for the first time you will be shown the following page:

Pootle welcome.PNG

Please click the link that says "No languages or projects selected. Choose yours now." This link will bring you to the following page, where you can select your components of interest:

Pootle set langs.PNG

NOTE: You can get back to this page at any time by clicking "My Account" from the menu on the top, and then moving on to the "Settings" section.

On this page you select 3 things:

  • the Interface language for Pootle (if you change this from the default, English, you cannot expect the same wording from this guide -- we recommend leaving it on English as which should be no problem for a translator)
  • Languages; select those that you wish to make translations to (usually only one)
  • Projects, you probably want to select all of these (hold CTRL and single-click each of the projects)
  • Alternative Source Languages, when you like to translate from a language that is not English (this source language needs to be fully translated, therefor we recommend to simply use English)

After you're done hit the "Save" button at the bottom.

You are now ready to go!

Translating the Zarafa Terminology

Before you start translating software or manuals you should first translate the "Zarafa Terminology" to your language. This is the terminology as found in Microsoft Outlook of your language, please make sure to have a localized copy of Outlook installed before you start translating the Terminology.

  1. Click "Home" form the the menu on the top.
  2. Click "Terminology" in the right column.
  3. Click the language that you like to translate to.
  4. You are now on the Terminology project page for the language of choice. Click "Terminology" to see the files is contains.
  5. You should now see a file called "zarafa-terminology.po" click the link behind it that says "X words need attention" in the Summary column.
  6. Now start you localized copy of Microsoft Outlook so you can translate the terminology to your language in the exact same way it is translated in Outlook.
  7. Translate the file completely (how to do so is described in another section of this page).

After you have translated "zarafa-terminology.po" you should get proper suggestions for common terms. It is important to do this before you translate the rest so the common terms are translated consistently AND in the same way they are translated in Outlook.

NOTE: At night we trigger Pootle rebuild all indexes. So after you finished translating "zarafa-terminology.po" you might want to wait one day before you start translating other projects.

Translating placeholders

When translating UI string from a computer you sometimes find placeholders like: %s, %1.f, %d, or sequences like: "%a %x %X". These placeholders all stand for something as explained here for times:

And here for non time related strings:

Mostly you will find %s (for inserting bits of text) and %d (for inserting numbers without decimals). For translating it is usually enough to simply keep the placeholders in your translation as if they where words that do not need translation. The best way to know the context of a string is to see the name of the file(s) that it occurs in (right about the original) -- this usually gives a hint on the context.

Translating XML tags and entities (only in documentaion)

Especially when translating documentation you will find so called XML tags and entities in sentences. XML tags look like this: <literal>. They usually come in pairs and enclose a piece of sentence. For example: <emphasis role="strong">IMAP</emphasis>. This means that the word "IMAP" will be formatted bold.

XML entities are formatted like: &amp;. Starting with a "&" and ending with a ";". These entities are usually to denote characters that have a meaning in XML and therefor need to be escaped. For example: "&amp;" translates to "&" and "&#62;" translates to ">". In most, if not all, cases you can simply copy the entity from the English string, straight into your translations without translating it!

Translation workflow

When you log in (not for the first time) to you are presented with the "Home" page:

Pootle home.PNG

This page shows you the progress of different languages, the Projects that are available for translation, and some News.

From here the next step is to either click on either a language or a project of your choice.

When you select a language you are presented with a page that shows the projects available for that language, and the progress that is made.

After selecting a project you are presented with a list of available languages for that project as shown here:

Pootle user manual dutch.PNG

You can see the progress that has been made on the projects for that language. To start translating click on the link that says "X words need attention" in the Summary column. This will bring you directly to the Translate section in "quick" mode:

Pootle translating.PNG

The Translate section in "quick" mode brings you directly to the next to-be-translated (or reviewed) item. You simply translate the "English" to you language of choice and click Submit.

"Fuzzy" translations might to contain small errors and therefor need to be checked again. Strings become "fuzzy" with the original string is slightly modified. Sometimes a spelling error in the original is fixed, in that case the "fuzzy" translation can be "unfuzzied" and submitted. Please note that all strings need to be un-fuzzied for the translation to be complete!

You can add comments to future translators know what you did or why you did it. This to prevent doubt or double work.

Finally you should know that in case no translation is supplied it the English original will be used instead.


  • Use the TAB key to pick a common action like "Submit", "Suggest", "Fuzzy" or "Next". Hit TAB one or more times and hit ENTER to confirm. Try not to use the mouse, it is much faster without!
  • You can use the copy button (right of the "English" tab) to copy the English directly into the translation.
  • The Terminology suggestions on the left can be clicked on in order to paste them into the translation (capitalization is added intelligently).
  • Use "Suggest" (instead of "Submit") only if you are quite certain you are wrong. It is better to submit with the "Fuzzy" flag: this will make sure the translation is reviewed.
  • the search box on top of the page bring you to the next occurrence of a certain phrase.

The Review section (automatic checks)

When you are viewing a project in a specific language you also see a link to the "Review" section. This section shows some statistics that might be helpful. Have a look at the screenshot:

Pootle review.PNG

It basically shows some potential errors in your translation, like forgetting a period at the end of a sentence. It is not necessary to fix all these suggestions, but at times it is helpful to walk through the suggestions as they might rightfully point out some small mistakes.

Checking your translations

Of course you would like to see your translations in their context. As translations are usually made on the trunk (in-development) version of Zarafa, you need to get a trunk build of the software or documentation that was made after your translations where "pulled-in".

Every night we "pull-in" the translations from Pootle. Directly after that we fully build the documentation and put that in, have a look there the next day after translating a manual to see how it worked out.

For software we currently do not have straight forward way to share trunk builds, but we are working on a demo server based on trunk that should reflect your translation effort within a day.

Questions, remarks, etc...

If you have any questions or remarks please send them to translations AT zarafa DOT com.

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