DRAFT: This page is still a draft and being actively written. If you find an error, please comment below.

[Includes general expectations for localizers, including things like "don't include random links" and expectations on what "voice" localizations should use.]

As a translator, you want to make sure the language of the localized project is well polished. Establishing and following translation rules might seem like a lot of extra work if you are just starting out. In fact, it can cut the translation team’s workload by reducing the need for correction and clarification.

Do’s and Don’ts #

  • Don’t include random links:
    The language files for WordPress projects should only contain links to wordpress.org domains (or other relevant project domains such as bbpress.org) or the translation community’s official documentation. If you need to link to a translated version of the original link, make sure it has a permanent home in one of those places.
  • Don’t translate literally, translate organically:
    Translated messages don’t need to be structured the same way as the English ones. Take the ideas that are presented and come up with a message that expresses the same thing in a natural way for the target language. It’s the difference between creating an equal message and an equivalent message: don’t replicate, replace.
  • Try to keep the same level of formality (or informality):
    Exactly what level of formality or informality to use for each message in your target language is something you and your team will have to figure out on your own, but WordPress messages (informational messages in particular) tend to have a politely informal tone in English. Try to accomplish the equivalent in the target language, within your cultural context.
  • Don’t use slang or audience-specific terms:
    Refrain from using colloquialisms that only a certain group of readers will understand. If the uninitiated blogger were to install WordPress in your language, would they know what the term means? Words like pingback, trackback, and feed are exceptions to this rule; they’re terminology that are typically difficult to translate, and many translators choose to leave in English.
  • Learn from other localizations in your language:
    To get a feel for things like commonly used terms and formality level, try reading through the translations of other popular software or service. Of course, WordPress has its own tone and feel, so keep that in mind when you’re reading other localizations, but feel free to dig up UI terms and the like to maintain consistency with other software in your language.
  • Keep it consistent:
    Consistency is one of the most important characteristics of high quality translation. To maintain consistency throughout various WordPress projects, you can use glossary and style guide specific to your language.