Internationalisation of Mu

A really useful and relatively simple way to contribute to Mu is to translate the user interface into a different language. The steps to do this are very simple and there exist plenty of tools to help you.

You can contribute in three ways:

  • Improve or extend an existing translation.

  • Create a completely new translation for a new language.

  • Make a translation of Mu’s website (see the Developing Mu’s Website guide for how to do this).

In both cases you’ll be using assets found in the mu/locale directory.

Mu uses Python’s standard gettext based internationalization API so we can make use of standard tools to help translators, such as babel or Poedit.

Non-technical users

If you are not a technical user and you are not familiar with the tools and jargon we use in this guide, please reach out to us by creating a new issue in GitHub.

We will help you set up a user-friendly tool that you can use to contribute new or improved translations, and integrate them into the next Mu release.

We welcome translations from all users!

How To

Updating or creating a new translation for Mu’s user interface requires setting up a development environment beforehand and, from there, is a four-step process:

1. Produce an up to date mu.po file

Open a CLI shell, change the working directory to Mu’s repository root, and run:

$ make translate_begin LANG=xx_XX

Where xx_XX is the identifier for the target language.

This creates (or updates, if it already exists) the mu.po file under the mu/locale/xx_XX/LC_MESSAGES/ directory – this is where the original British English messages are associated with their localized translations.

2. Translate Mu user interface strings

Use a tool of your choice to edit the mu.po file:

  • Those looking for a GUI based tool can try out Poedit.

  • Others might prefer a plain text editor, which will be sufficient.

3. Check the translation result

As you progress, check the translation results by launching Mu with:

$ make translate_test LANG=xx_XX

As before, xx_XX is the identifier for the target language.

When done checking, quit Mu, and go back to step 2. as many times as needed.

4. Submit your translation work

This process produced two new or updated files, both under the mu/locale/xx_XX/LC_MESSAGES/ directory:

  • mu.po containing the text based source of the translation strings.

  • containing a compiled version of the above, used by Mu at runtime.

Commit your changes and create a pull request via GitHub.