Getting Started with Localising Agenda

Want to help translate Agenda? Leave a post here below if such topic doesn’t exist yet, and we’ll add you to the translation project.

Where to start?

The place to start is the dedicated page for your favourite language in the language section of the community where we track progress, users can make suggestions or propose corrections, etc, but also where you can leave a post to show your interest in helping us translate Agenda to your mother tongue. We will then add you as a translator to the project and you’ll receive further instructions how to obtain the necessary tools etc.

How does it work?

In short, we have extracted all sentences from both mac and iOS app, but also those used in sample documents, App Store description pages, screenshots, etc, and added these to a simple macOS and iOS application called Local Agenda. This application allows you to provide all translations in a single place, and it also allows us to push new and/or updated sentences to you in order to keep everything up-to-date and prepare for new features.

Screenshot of the Local Agenda mac app, a single place to provide all translations

Once we give the go-ahead to start the translation to the language you offered us to help with, we will select an initial set of translators to do a first round of translation. We will send you the instructions on how to download Local Agenda as well as a key to log in with.

The hard part

Once you have been giving access to Local Agenda the hard part starts. About the first third of words and sentences have already been filled in for you, with help of Apple’s translation glossaries. These translations only need to be verified and helps you decide on a consistent vocabulary with what Apple uses in the system apps for example. The remaining sentences need to be translated by you.

We’ve written a set of guidelines and tips. Be sure to keep an eye on this post to learn about pitfalls, insights, and tips on how to get a consistent and great localisation.

Working as a team

After the initial first round of translations have been done, we will invite more translators to help us review and improve the translations, also with help of an initial (private) beta version containing the first translations. The Local Agenda app allows to mark a translation as being disputed, and also allows you to leave comments. Finally, the language page itself also allows you to post screenshots and/or discuss issues with your peer-translators in order to make for a great experience of Agenda in your favourite language.

Testing

Once the translation is getting close to complete we will include it in the next beta round of the mac and iOS/iPadOS app, alongside the other features and fixes we’re going to test for the next release. This allows all beta-testers that speak your language to help us test and improve the new localization. Once the beta cycle ends, and provide nothing odd has come up, the language then becomes officially part of Agenda :tada:

Spreading the word

Of course shipping Agenda in a new language is just the first step, we would like to have as many people then allow to enjoy the hard work put in. We’ll inform Apple and their local App Stores about the new arrival, but also hope to count on you to help us spread the word, for instance by contacting local blogs, mac and iOS news outlets, relevant podcasts, etc.

Keeping things up-to-date

Another important aspect of officially supporting a new language is keeping it up-to-date as Agenda further improves and adds features. While we develop Agenda we will continue to add new and updated sentences for translation. We’ll also post regular updates asking you to help us translate anything that is new so you can already tackle these before the next beta cycle is up, thereby preventing that the fact that Agenda is translated in many languages will slow down its development cycle.

Agenda in your favourite language!

We hope you are excited as much as we are about having Agenda soon available in all these different languages, we think it will make a lot of Agenda users happy. Can’t wait to work with you!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why haven’t you started yet on language fill in your favourite here?"

Adding languages to Agenda unfortunately isn’t a trivial amount of work (see also the next question), and that’s even more true for adding the very first one. We on purposely have started with Dutch, not because there is such an enormous amount of Dutch people on this planet (though it is a surprising popular request), but because this way we could do the translation ourselves while building up the infrastructure and making the necessary under-the-hood changes to support multiple languages in the first place. Once this is done, we’ll open up the floor to more languages, something that can be done in parallel so once Dutch is out you should see many more following quickly.

We are very happy to have received the kind offer to help from many enthusiastic users, but of course whether we can work on your favourite language also depends on whether we have volunteers for it. So make sure to let us know if you’re willing to help. Note that this doesn’t mean doing all the translation yourself per se (though that would be great), it can also mean helping to test the translated version, suggesting improvements, spreading the word in your language, etc.

Q: How much work is it to translate Agenda?

Translating Agenda is not an afternoon work, it will easily take a few days to just complete all sentences and words in a first round. It therefore helps if you’re working together with other translators so you can “share the pain”. After this first round follows a few iterations of tweaks and polishing things as well as testing the app before we can ship the translation alongside an update of Agenda :partying_face:

Of course it doesn’t end there, Agenda is a living thing, we continue to update and add features to the app, which means we hope to be able to rely on you when it comes to translating new sentences and words as we go, but also to react to suggestions, corrections, and comments from our users.

Q: How do I join as a translator?

First check if your language is either already available or translation is underway, if so it should have a dedicated topic in the languages section of the community. In that case simply leave a post on that page.

If no page exists it means you are the first for your language (hooray :partying_face:). In that case leave a post in reply to this topic here and we’ll create the page for you.

Before you start, also make sure to read the tips and guidelines document.

Q: Do I need to have experience translating other apps?

The answer is not per se, but it certainly does help to either have already done translations before, or to have technical experience. Nevertheless, using Local Agenda is quite straightforward and doesn’t need an awful lot of expertise. Plus, there’s also a ton of other things you can help us with, for instance by helping us test or Spreading the Word once the language is released.

Q: How do you select translators?

When we have a lot of volunteers for popular languages there might be too many to go at it at once. Instead we will select a limited number of translators to make the first round of translations. That doesn’t mean there’s no role left to all of you. We can use all the help we need with testing the initial translations, making them better by suggesting improvements and corrections, and also keep up as new updates require more translations.

Q: How do you select which languages will be added next?

This is foremost dependent on the availability, speed, and enthusiasm of the translators, as well as demand shown from users. However, some languages do require additional work under-the-hood or even substantial UI changes, for example Right-To-Left languages. Those naturally will take longer and might have to wait for such work to be completed first. We do intend to support as many languages as possible though!

Q: How do I obtain the Local Agenda app?

Once we’re ready to go we’ll contact you with the details on how to download the Local Agenda app, along with a key that allows you to log in.

How about Bulgarian?

I’ve created the bulgarian localization page where you can leave a post if you’d like to help us localise Agenda to bulgarian:

British English! This should be pretty easy–it’s mostly changing some of the spelling and vocabulary from the default US version. MacOS itself has UK and Australian English, and I’d like Agenda to match the rest of my OS.

I have experience working with open-source localisation teams and have contributed to several projects over the past several years.

I’ve created the British English localization page where you can leave a post if you’d like to help us localise Agenda to British English:

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Having Agenda in Afrikaans would be excellent! Shouldn’t be too difficult as the language is rooted in Dutch. I’ll obviously volunteer my services.

I’ve created the page for the translation of Agenda in Afrikaans where you can leave a post if you’d like to help us. Just to set expectations, I can’t promise we will commit to a version in Afrikaans yet, for that we’d need a few more translators. Let’s try to find those!