News  > Ubuntu

Ubuntu volunteer translators help distribute the OS worldwide

Share:  facebook  twitter  reddit  digg  stumble  

A community effort has developed to help bring Ubuntu to different regions, allowing people to use the operating system in their native languages. Positions are available for volunteers who wish to help the community.

Ubuntu is brought to users in their own language by a large community of volunteer translators, who tirelessly work on localizing every part of the operating system on every release.

In this series of interviews well get to know who they are, about their language and how they work.

Could you tell us a bit about you and the language you help translate Ubuntu into

Im a 28 years old freelance translator, working from my home in Eger, north-eastern Hungary. My duty is to translate Ubuntu to Hungarian, which is the majority language spoken in Hungary and also by Hungarian communities in the seven neighbouring countries and by diaspora communities worldwide. According to Wikipedia, there are about 14.5 million native speakers, of whom 9.510 million live in present-day Hungary.

How and when did you become an Ubuntu translator

It happened about five years ago, before Breezy. I wanted to help a distribution to better support Hungarian. I started to look, and found that Ubuntu would be the best choice, as they had a fixed release schedule aligned to Gnomes schedule, they made community contribution possible – and there was no Hungarian team. The distribution I used back then lacked these properties and had to go, then I founded the ubuntu-l10n-hu group with Istvan Nyitrai, and Im leading it since then.

What other projects do you help with inside the community

Im the coordinator for Gnome and Xfce, and I translate some other free software like VLC or Pidgin and those in the GNU Translation Project. Im also part of the Ubuntu and Gnome translation coordinator teams.

Do you belong to an Ubuntu LoCo team If so, which one

Of course, the Hungarian LoCo, but I dont do much there aside from translating: some event organization, LoCo coordination, drinking beer, etc.

How can people who want to help with translating Ubuntu and all the various pieces and parts into your language get started

We have a short start page at This page contains the basic information about our bug tracker, Launchpad, our mailing list, coordination wiki page, team membership and links with more detailed information. The most important is the wiki page, coordination happens there. And let me quote Milo from a previous interview, his words hold true for our team too:

Please, do not wander through Launchpad leaving a translation here and there: if you dont tell us, its very difficult for us to always know what is going on.

Whats the desktop experience for Ubuntu users in your language Is Ubuntu in your language popular among native speakers

There is a common misbelief among our users regarding this: they say Ubuntu speaks Hungarian perfectly. While this is of course not true, Im trying to keep the untranslated parts out of sight.
I think we can say that Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution in Hungary: has over 15 000 users, and on, Hungarys most popular *nix portal, Ubuntu is always winning the Readers Choice award since 2006 in the Favorite Linux distribution category:

Where does your team need help

We have quite a lot to do in Kubuntu and package descriptions. While upstream Gnome, and the Mozilla family are generally in good shape, upstream Hungarian KDE localization could use some help, and the package description translation project (see: definitely needs a localization superhero.

Do you know of any projects or organizations where Ubuntu is used in your language

We cooperate with a foundation that uses Ubuntu as a base for a Linux distribution specifically aimed at blind people – their general goal is to make computing available for the blind, and now they support Linux too.
I personally dont know about others, but the I spotted Ubuntu topic on is quite long :) .

What do you feel is the most rewarding part of translating Ubuntu

When I see people on online forums or IRL saying each other something like: You should try Ubuntu, it is really cool and usable because (blah-blah, usual arguments :) ) AND because it speaks Hungarian perfectly.

Is there anything else about your team or translation efforts that I havent asked you about that you would like to talk about

Nothing else comes into my mind, thanks for the opportunity!
Become an Ubuntu Translator

Do you speak languages Join the our translation community and make Ubuntu accessible to everyone in their own language. You can:

* Get in touch with a translation team or create your own
* Help translating this language

DateOctober 19, 2010