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Frequently asked questions regarding localization/translation issues.

The information below should be in SVN, most likely in the file: LyxVCS:lyx-devel/trunk/README.localization

-- why is the below obsolete when we include it from svn ?

	Localization/Translation FAQ

    by Ran Rutenberg, Pavel Sanda, Michael Gerz

PART I - Interface translation

This file is mainly intended for those who have no or little experience using
.po files, but want to contribute by translating the LyX interface (i.e. menu
and dialog items, console messages) into their native language.


The file you need to edit is an xx.po file where xx stands for your language's
two letter code. For a list of language codes look at:


If you want to start from scratch then you should obtain a copy of the lyx.pot
and name it after your language. German would be for example de.po and Polish
pl.po. This file is generated in the "po" directory of the source tree during
the compilation.

There are basically two source trees you can start to work with - trunk
(development version) and branch (stable version). Unless the development
version is shortly before release it is better to start your translating
work on the stable version. If you have no idea how to get those trees you
can follow http://www.lyx.org/HowToUseGIT page.


PO files can be edited with any text editor available for your system (e.g.
Vim, NotePad etc.). Yet another option is to use a specialized editor for .po
files. You can e.g. use the editors "poEdit" or "jEdit", Linux users can
additionally use e.g. "kbabel". Using these editors usually makes things easier
as they have many tools to assist the translator.


If you are using a simple text editor you should translate the strings that
appear in the msgid line and write the translation into the msgstr line. Note
that a "#, fuzzy" line is just a hint for translation from compiler - in order
to get the translation of the current item working you have to delete this
line. It is recommended that you take a look at another .po file - that way you
can get an idea of what to do. If you are using a specialized po editor
then you will see in it the untranslated strings and a place to write your
translation for them.

4) WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE '&', '|', '$, '%' {} AND  CHARACTERS?

'&' stands for underlined characters (shortcut) in dialog boxes.
'|' stands for underlined characters in menus.

These chars should be somehow used in your translations, however you'll have to
invent your own working shortcuts for dialog and menu entries and resolve
possible conflicts of the same shortcut chars in one menu...

Note also that there are already used global shortcuts (such as p k x c m s a)
and you should avoid using these characters for first-level menu shortcuts.

'$' and '%' are usually used as handlers for formatting or variables to be
inserted into the strings. Character sequences like %1$s or %1$d MUST also
appear in your translations! Please take them exactly as they are or you may
experience crashes when running LyX.

Context? is used to distinguish otherwise identical strings, which could
have different translations depending on the Context. It can also be used to
indicate what is substituted for a placeholder. Context? appears only in
msgid string and should not be repeated in the translated version.

{} refer to counters and must not be translated. An example would be:
msgid "Algorithm \\arabic{theorem}"
msgstr "Algoritmus \\arabic{theorem}"

5) WHAT IS pocheck.pl AND HOW DO I USE IT?

This is a small script located in the "po" directory of the source that helps
you find common errors in your translation. In order to use this script you
need the script language Perl installed.
Run ./pocheck.pl -h to see all possible switches.


In order to test your translation you need to obtain the LyX sources
(from the git repository) and replace the existing .po with yours.
Afterwards, you should compile and optionally install LyX (check the
INSTALL file for your OS). Note that, as of LyX 2.1, it is not
necessary anymore to install anything.

In order to run LyX with your translation, change the current language
in Preferences dialog or use the appropriate LANG variable:

  On Linux: LANG=xx_CC lyx
  On Windows, you need to change the lyx.bat file and write: set LANG=xx_CC

xx stands for your language code. CC stands for your country code. So to get,
e.g., Czech, the code is "cs_CZ".

Another possibility is to use the Preferences dialog to set LyX UI to
use your language. Note that, as of LyX 2.2, a newly introduced
language will not appear in the languages combox unless it corresponds
to an entry of the lib/languages file that has a "HasGuiSupport true"
property. See this file for more details.

The most comfortable way to see your updated translation while
editing, is running (in linux) "make xx.gmo" in the po directory to
compile updated xx.po translation and then run LyX.

For advanced users - if you want to remerge your files against current source:

- on Linux: execute the command: make update-po
- on Windows: either build the update-po target in MSVC
              or run the command: msbuild po\update-po.vcxproj
              (depending on the directory you are in)


Send your edited xx.po file to po-updates@lyx.org.

Also you can check http://www.lyx.org/trac/browser/lyxgit/?rev=master to track
changes or watch updates.


As you wish. They can be reused for generating fuzzy hints when completely
new strings appear, no other function.


For a basic idea of how the translation works, you can look at


For detailed reference (including a full list of country and language codes),
have a look at


Consider subscribing to the documentation list, lyx-docs@lists.lyx.org (rather
silent), or the developer's mailing list, lyx-devel@lists.lyx.org (high

PART II - Translation of Math environments and Floats in the final output

As of 2.0 LyX allows automatic translation in tex/dvi/ps/pdf output for math
environment strings (and some floats) which are not automatically translated via
babel package to the localized form.  For example the environment "Exercise"
becomes "Aufgabe" in the output of the documents with language set to German.

These translations are taken from the previously translated .po file before the
final major LyX release (e.g. 2.0.0) and are fixed for all next minor releases
(e.g. 2.0.x) in order to have fixed output of LyX documents.

The current translation for your language can be found in the file
lib/layouttranslations. An easy way to check many of the translations is to
simply load lib/examples/localization_test.lyx in LyX and read its

The problematic strings can be then fixed in the .po file. For inspiration the
typical places in .po files, where to fix the translation, can be seen on the
following commit: http://www.lyx.org/trac/changeset/38169.

If you need to manually regenerate the layouttranslations file from .po files
run `make ../lib/layouttranslations' in the po directory. The Python polib
library is needed for building the output file.

Q: Running make ../lib/layouttranslations returns with just saying
   ../lib/layouttranslations is up to date.
A: To force regerenation, use something like (XX is your language)
   make -W XX.po ../lib/layouttranslations

Category: Development, Translation, svn

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Page last modified on 2007-10-09 14:10 CEST