Translating Kirby

When I launched the Kirby Panel in 2012 I started with two languages: English and German. English, to make it available for as many users as possible right from the beginning and German, because, well, I'm German.

I never expected it to be easy to find additional translators for more languages and yet I hoped to solve this problem somehow. It's one obstacle to use a new software with an unfamiliar interface, but it's a much higher obstacle to use such a software in a language you are not completely comfortable with.

Translations can help users to feel at home faster and make their lives instantly easier. It's a matter of accessibility to translate your software into as many languages as possible.

I was extremely surprised and happy to see how fast more and more contributors started to translate the Panel interface after I launched it. Right now we have translations in 24 different languages, which is amazing.

But translating the Panel has always been a very technical task. Translations for the Panel have so far been stored in PHP arrays and you could only contribute by creating a pull request on Github.

Even for developers this has been tricky, because whenever we made changes to the core and introduced new translatable strings, there was no way to notify translators. There was also no way to instantly show what has changed and which translations are missing.

Introducing Transifex

That's why I wrote a tweet and forum post about how we can make the lives of translators easier the other day. One service that kept on popping up in various suggestions was Transifex. Their platform is specialized to solve all issues around collaborative interface translations. Their service is being used by companies like SoundCloud, Waze or CloudFlare.

After about an hour of giving it a try I knew that this was the right tool for us to move forward. I started porting all language files to Transifex and got everything up and running this morning.

From now on we will do all translation work directly on Transifex. Everyone who wants to become a translator can join there:
http://transifex.com/getkirby/panel

The biggest benefits for translators are probably the great interface, instant suggestions, translation memory and being able to work directly on missing translations without digging through a huge PHP array.

For us updating the language files has also become so much easier. Instead of accepting pull requests over and over again, we can now simply pull in all the latest changes from translators with Transifex' command line utility:

tx pull

This will automatically fetch all updates and store them in the translations folder of the Panel, ready to be comitted and released.

Join the team!

I can only hope that this will be the start for a great new journey and that we will see many new languages soon. Please feel free to join the team!

See you on Transifex :)

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