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What Have I Been Learning from Contributing to WordPress Translation?

Before I elaborate what I have been learning for contributing in translating WordPress, first, I need to explain that I am not the one who translate WordPress as a whole. Translating WordPress is a collective effort from many contributors who have been spending their time with high dedication to translate word by word in the WordPress core. Some contributors were working individually, other else were bonding and working collaboratively in polyglot (poliglot in Bahasa Indonesia) team of WordPress Indonesia Community. I participated as a poliglot team contributor. I invite you to join the team. Visit this link to get started.

Not long time ago I started to involve in WordPress translation to Indonesian. I just worked on WordPress 5.3.x project. The translation statistics have now reached 100%. Besides WordPress core, there are many other translation projects, such as: themes, plugins and meta. I am also interested to translate them.

Here are some important things that I have been learning while being involved as a contributor to the translation of WordPress 5.3.x.

Translating is not easy

Translating from English (the default language of WordPress) to Indonesian requires carefulness in choosing the right equivalent words for technical terms that are often found in WordPress. To get the intended purpose of the WP interface’s language, it is necessary to check directly where the string can be found, whether in the exact line of code or WP Admin. Besides re-learning Indonesian and English, I also were learning the WordPress system deeply.

Teamwork is mandatory

There are thousands of strings in the WordPress core code. To make it easier to complete the translation, the role of many volunteers and cooperation of each other is needed. The roles and tasks within the polyglot team is explained clearly here. Delegate tasks, be responsible and never work alone.

Learn the translation workflow of WordPress projects

The workflow for translating WordPress projects is not too difficult to follow. Its tutorial can be read here and here (for the Indonesian version).

Communicate with other polyglot contributors when difficulties occur

I am not a linguist. So that I often have difficulty on finding best Indonesian translation of a word. When I encounter difficulties, I always ask other translation contributors on the #poliglot channel on the WordPress Indonesia’s Slack. This indirectly trains my communication skills.

Make clear guidelines for other contributors (especially new ones) to follow

Translation guide is very important to be made so that it can be followed by the next translation contributors or anyone who will take role of the previous translators who are no longer active. A neat and complete documentation will facilitate easier regeneration of new contributors in the future.

Always conscientious

Volunteers’ works are representation of the open source community in a whole, like WordPress, that is now used by more than 33% of all websites in the world. I got this information from this blog post. What a fantastic number! This fact shows that WordPress users are truly diverse. Some are from hobbyists, academics, professionals, and even corporations. Thus high quality of the translation must be first priority to take care of. The key is be conscientious.

Use online tools as a self-help, like Google Translate

Never feel hesitate to seek help from anywhere. Even from Google Translate though. Here are my favorite tools that I use often:

Be open and get rid of personal ego

WordPress is built and maintained by the open source community. Open wide opportunities for many people to get involved in all projects; including translation. Read to any translation proposals from anyone else regardless of level of expertise or any kind of background. Do not use ego when contributing. Always put an assumption that my translation should be corrected first. Mine is the worst.

Writing skill improved

I personally felt the positive impact on writing skill. Contributing to the WordPress translation project have been improving my writing skills. This is because I have always been encouraged by the polyglot team leader – Devin Maeztri – to be involved to compose translation guidelines.

In the process of making guidelines/documentation, her role was very important. She was always careful and critical in correcting any guidelines prepared by the polyglot contributor team members. So I learned a lot from Ms. Devin. Thank you very much!

Make new friends

Contributing to WordPress projects can be done anytime and from any places. WordPress translation contributors who are members of the polyglot team come from various regions in Indonesia.

Volunteers’ communication can be done through any platform, such as: Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. On the polyglot team, communication is more often done through Slack WP ID. That’s where I get to know other contributors from different places. It’s super fun!

Tegal. December 25th, 2019

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