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Translators team: Reaching more people in their native language


The FSFE's translators team has been working tirelessly throughout the second year of Covid-19 to enable people all across Europe to read and learn about Free Software in their native language. Since the beginning of 2021 we have had over 230 new translations into 9 different languages, not counting the English originals.

Multilanguage heart in black

Since the founding of the organisation in 2001 the FSFE's translators team has been an important part of the FSFE. The translations made by the translators team have enabled people all across Europe to learn and read about software freedom and the FSFE's mission to empower users to control technology. Translations from English to another language enable people who are not fluent in English to read, learn, and participate in Free Software. Without the help of our translators team, this would not have been possible.

For the last 20 years the FSFE's translators team has been working on translating the FSFE's statements, news items, activities, campaigns, and background information. The first translation for our website, which is today no longer available on the website, was made in 2001 by translating the "Volunteers welcome" text to French. Later the "Volunteers welcome" text became our contribute page. In 2004, with the move from gnu.org to our own infrastructure, the then translation coordinator, Reinhard Müller, launched the first general information page about the translators team and the translation process. Since then a lot has happened.

Reinhard Müller: "Translating web pages and press releases for FSFE is not only an important contribution to increase the outreach of our message, it has also proven to be an excellent first step for getting involved in FSFE's work."

FSFE's translators team today

Today we have over 280 members on the translators mailing list, helping us in their spare time to translate for software freedom. We have 40 languages represented on our web page, with almost 7,000 translations. Among them are large projects, like the nearly finalised translation of the "Public Money? Public Code!" brochure to Spanish and the on-going translation of it to Italian.

Alejandro Criado-Pérez, translations to Spanish: "It's especially important to propagate the FSFE message in as many languages as possible, because Free Software's freedoms and their implications are often unknown or misunderstood, causing the general public to undervalue their vital importance to our democracy, privacy, and sustainability."

Not only have we increased our numbers in every direction (members, languages and translations), we have also improved our translation process. We have an actively maintained webpreview tool which allows translators as well as proofreaders to view the HTML source code as an actual web page. And of course we have also kept working on our style guide, wordlist, and the translators wiki. All of this is done with the help of the translators team itself.

If you are interested in joining the FSFE's translators team you are very welcome to subscribe to our mailing list and have a look at our wiki page.

André Ockers, Deputy Coordinator Translations, Translations to Dutch: "I translate for Free Software because I support the Free Software movement and want to help spread our message of empowering people to control their technology to Dutch-speaking people. Dutch is also the policy language in the Netherlands and a policy language in Belgium, so translations might be helpful in enabling policy advocacy on that level."
Luca Bonissi, Deputy Translators Coordinator, Translations to Italian: "I love translating items about Free Software mainly because I love Free Software and I want that all Italian people could easily know the benefits of Free Software in their own language. As a side effect, since the translation process usually involves more than one person, I'm also learning more about English and Italian too! :-P "
T.E. Kalayci, Translations to Turkish: "I like doing translation for FSF(E) because I want to spread the wise words of Free Software (which is very important to humanity and society in my opinion) to Turkish-speaking people. I am hoping that more people will understand the words, embrace the ideas in it and take part in the community to provide benefit to all the people."
Pablo González, Translations to Spanish: "I like translating into Spanish because Free Software is for everyone, including people that don't understand English. One of the barriers here for the adoption of Free Software is the language."