This specification discusses the development of a set of best practices on running Ubuntu translation teams and a set of policies for the Ubuntu Translators translation group. These will be published in the Ubuntu wiki and will be used as the main source of reference for providing more structure to the Ubuntu translation process.

Release Note

There is a clear definition of best practices for Ubuntu translation teams, including guidelines on how to run a team, how to accept new members, how to communicate within the team, how to interact with upstreams and how to work collaboratively and ensure translation quality.

There is a clear definition of policies and the procedures which must be followed by translation teams in the ubuntu-translators group.

This will greatly benefit translation quality, ease collaboration within teams and improve working with upstreams.


The problem is well known and historical: contrary to the translation efforts of other OSS projects, there is no authoritative set of policies for better structuring the Ubuntu Translations process, neither there is a set of guidelines on best practices to run translation teams. As a result, translation quality, work done in upstreams and reputation of the Ubuntu translations process has been negatively impacted for quite some time.

The main goal is to provide more structure to the process while at the same time making it easy for translators to contribute to the project.

User stories

  • Eric is leading the Klingon translation team. He would like to improve his team's workflow and how they can work better with upstreams. Having a set of reference best practices with use cases from other teams gives him a lot of good ideas and helps him implementing a better translation process in his team.
  • Anna is an occasional Catalan translator providing suggestions. She'd like to know how her suggestions are accepted, how translation teams work and how she could join one in her language. After asking at #ubuntu-translators, she reads the general documentation on how to join a team, how to contact the team for her language and sets off applying for joining the Catalan translations team.
  • Hajo is an upstream translator of an application translatable in Ubuntu. He's concerned about Ubuntu Translators modifying his translations, but after being pointed out to the policies and best practices documents he understands better how the Ubuntu translations process works, making easier the relationship with downstream translators.


We will focus on providing a list of guidelines and policies, getting some feedback from the Ubuntu Translations community, drafting them and finally getting the community approve them.


The following actions have been identified as necessary to implement this specification:

Unresolved issues

As the Ubuntu Translations process is very tied to Launchpad Translations as the tool translate Ubuntu, there will still be unresolved issues in terms of relation with upstream and potential duplication of work. Hopefully some of these will be addressed in the near future as a result of the upstream integration work in Launchpad.

BoF agenda and discussion

Best practices list

Initial set of best practices. If you'd like to change or add items to the list, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Policies list

Initial set of policies. If you'd like to change or add items to the list, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

  • Adding a new language to Ubuntu
  • Starting a new Ubuntu translation team
  • Translation team leader duties
  • Stepping down as a translation team leader
  • Reassessment of translation team leaders/contacts
  • Usage of Translation Guidelines
  • Team homepage information in Launchpad
  • Team subscription policy
  • Accepting new members to a team
  • Translations precedence
  • Translation milestones
  • Optional (once these processes are more settled):
    • Reporting translations bugs
    • Testing language packs

UDS session notes

= Best practices and policies in translations =

 * Problem is well known and historical: Ubuntu translation project has no structure or clear rules
 * Previous cycle was about introducing more transparency and introducing everybody to the process of translation in Ubuntu
 * Asked about how teams communicate between themselves (IRC channels, mailing lists,...), good response

Main goal is to get more structure, put up well defined guidelines.

Is this about rules or guidelines: we want both, document best practices and policies for running teams.

== Guidelines/best practice ==

 * Introduce 'best practice' for communicating inside a team (see
 * 'Best practice' for communication with upstreams and other software users
 * Good start is at
 * Define a procedure for accepting new team members
 * Have guidelines that describe how translation is done, see
 * Link to guidelines from Launchpad
 * Keep the team running nicely (provide an example to make it easily understandable what it involves)
 * See if someone else is working on the same translation at the same time

== Rules/policies ==

 * Accepting new reviewers to teams as a policy (Danilo)
   Example policy: they have done at least some reasonable amount of translations (either upstream or in LP) before becoming a reviewer
   Do not try to enforce the policy (it's hard), but if we get pointed at them (eg. someone makes bad translations), we can act on it with authority
 * If team owner is unresponsive, unassign the language team (Adi)
 * Enforce documentation link on home page of each translation team (Timo)
 * No 'Open' teams (all should be at least 'Moderated')
 * Have at least one contact from each team on ubuntu-translators@ list (or any other list)
 * Regular reassessment of translation team contacts, especially for supported languages
 * Must have guidelines to be a supported language

== From theory to practice ==

- We agree on separating the description of the policies from the implementation of them (i.e. how they are enforced or checked).
- Policies should be short
- Best practices is going to be much longer, and we invite everyone to improve it; incorporate feedback from different teams; add examples of what teams are doing
ACTION: David to coordinate this! Woohoo.


Specs/TranslationsBestPracticesAndPolicies (last edited 2009-12-14 16:32:16 by 212)