How to Give Feedback

Feedback helps teams to share information so everyone is working together toward a common goal. For localeLocale Locale = language version, often a combination of a language code and a region code, for instance es_MX denotes Spanish as it’s used in Mexico. A list of all locales supported by WordPress in managers and translation editorsTranslation Editor Translation editors can approve translations for projects. The GTE (General Translation Editor) and LM (Locale Manager) roles can add new users with the "Project Translation Editor" role that can approve translations for specific projects. There are two different Translation Editor roles: General Translation Editor and Project Translation Editor, this may look like explaining why a translation was rejected or giving feedback on a proposed change to your locale’s glossary or style guide.

It is common to be afraid of feedback – both receiving it and giving it! Feedback, especially negative feedback, can feel personal. It can also build trust and healthy ways to communicate within a team, allowing new contributors to grow through the feedback they receive. 

Why feedback is important Why feedback is important

Feedback is what lets people know when their efforts are working well, or not. In a team, feedback helps make sure that everyone involved is acting in a way that supports the team’s goals.

Feedback is also an excellent way to grow. Without feedback, you don’t know what to change – or even how to change. When providing feedback to other contributors in your locale, there are a number of benefits, including: 

  • It helps contributors grow. Translating WordPress is a skill. Over time, many pieces of the translation process may feel like “second nature” – you do them without thinking. For new contributors, they may feel uncertain of best practices or unsure of how to interpret existing documentation. Giving feedback allows them to understand what they’re doing well and where they can improve.
  • It maintains, and improves, the quality of the project. Polyglots know the value of contributing good quality translations, especially for the end-users who navigate and manage their sites using these translations. Giving feedback ensures that everyone who contributes provides consistent and contextual translations to improve the user experience.
  • It builds trust between contributors. Giving and receiving feedback often feels vulnerable. For the person giving feedback, they may feel unsure of how their feedback will come across. For the person receiving, they may feel uncertain about their contributions or if they’re doing a “good” job. Using feedback to collaborate with others helps to build trust between people. The person receiving feedback knows someone cares about what they’re doing; the person giving feedback knows their mentorship is meaningful.
  • It’s a form of training. When someone doesn’t follow the guidelines or best practices developed by your team, giving feedback allows them to correct that. Most people don’t ignore guidelines on purpose. By giving feedback, you help to educate others on why you follow certain guidelines, how to be a better contributor, and how to improve their work in the future. This type of improvement can help build future leaders and mentors in your community.

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When should you give feedback? When should you give feedback?

When giving feedback, it is a good idea to focus on documented and agreed-upon processes within your community. In other words, just because someone does something differently than you, that doesn’t mean it requires feedback. When considering when to give feedback, it can help to ask:

  • Does this behavior negatively impact the team’s goals?
  • Does this break any rules or guidelines our team has agreed on?
  • What are the consequences if I don’t give feedback?

Maintaining documentation or meeting notes can be a really helpful tool for explaining why something deserves feedback. As an example: if someone disagrees with a word in the locale’s glossary, it can be helpful to point them to where similar conversations have happened in the past. Since feedback can often feel personal, being able to reference public documentation and conversations also helps to confirm it is about helping the person improve, rather than critiquing them personally.

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Where to give feedback Where to give feedback

Where to give feedback varies between localesLocale Locale = language version, often a combination of a language code and a region code, for instance es_MX denotes Spanish as it’s used in Mexico. A list of all locales supported by WordPress in In general, it is a good practice for all translation contributors to join their locale’s SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at instance. (For a list of local Slack teams, check Local Slack Teams.)

If the translator has already joined your locale’s Slack, you can share feedback in a public channel, i.e. if you have a Polyglots or translation-focused channel. This sort of public feedback is helpful since it allows others to learn from the feedback as well, but you can also share feedback in a direct message with the translator if that feels more appropriate or comfortable.

If the contributor isn’t part of your local Slack, try reaching out via the global Making WordPress Slack, or consider opening a new forum post via your local forums or writing a blog post on your /team/ blog. You can @mention their username, so they receive a notification via email.

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Tips on how to give good feedback Tips on how to give good feedback

When giving feedback, the goal should always be to help the other person to succeed or to improve. Likewise, after giving feedback, ideally:

  • You feel successful in clarifying what was not working well.
  • They feel empowered to improve.

With that in mind, here are a few additional tips for how to give constructive, empowering feedback:

  • Try to keep it timely. Don’t wait too long to give feedback, as it can feel less relevant. Likewise, giving feedback in a timely manner (as much as possible) reinforces that you care about the other person’s contributions.
  • Be clear. It can feel difficult to phrase feedback – you don’t want to be too harsh, but you want to ensure your feedback is easy to understand, as well. Do your best to make sure your feedback is straightforward and easy to understand.
  • Leave room for conversation. After clearly sharing your feedback, ask for questions. This allows the other person to collaborate with you, ask for clarification, and make them feel supported.
  • Support your feedback with a reason. Words make a difference, but it takes time to compose the perfect feedback message. To save time, you can make a template containing the main points of feedback. For example:
    “I reviewed your translations, and you used [Term A]. The team discussed this word in the past and decided that [Term B] is more appropriate in most circumstances, so we chose that for the glossary. To maintain consistency in the locale, it’s important to use [Term B] when you see it in a stringString A string is a translatable part of the software. A translation consists of a multitude of localized strings..”
  • Feedback should be actionable. Whenever possible, when you give feedback, offer a solution on how to improve, too. Receiving feedback that includes a call to action is empowering, whereas receiving feedback you can’t do anything about can feel disengaging.
  • Don’t forget that positive feedback is feedback too. A good way to get comfortable giving feedback is by giving it when you see good practices. If you give positive feedback publicly, it also shows others in your community things that they should emulate – and make the other person feel good. You can also use the “positive, constructive, positive” method exemplified below:
    • Start by saying that the team really appreciates their contribution and make them feel welcome. Say something appreciative about their work.
    • Continue with constructive feedback – things that can be improved, what exactly doesn’t comply with the styles and rules your locale uses. Don’t be generic, be specific.
    • End on a positive note. Thank them for their contribution.
  • Follow-up. After feedback is given, ask the translator to let you know if improvements are made. This helps you get an idea if your feedback was helpful. Likewise, make sure your team knows you are giving feedback to a specific contributor to prevent the case where a contributor gets simultaneous feedback from multiple GTEGeneral Translation Editor A General Translation Editor (often referred to as GTE) is a person, who has global access to validate strings on all projects for a specific locale.’s.
  • Finally, don’t get discouraged by lack of response. You might not get a direct response to all of your feedback, but don’t give up! There are many reasons why someone may contribute translations just once. Even if the translator doesn’t reply to your feedback, you have still contributed to creating an open, feedback-friendly culture just by sharing.

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