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How to Translate Using PO Files

This is a very simple guide to help translators with little computer knowledge do their work using the Gettext PO file format. It assumes that the coordinator will complete strings such as the footnotes.

Guide to Translating Using PO Files

1. The first step is to install a specific program to edit .po files; for example gTranslator, Kbabel, Poedit, among others. All these programs work more or less in the same way. In this guide we will use Poedit as an example.

2. Download the template that contains the last version of the original page in English. This file is called POT (PO Template). You will find it in the /po/ subdirectory, which is located immediately after the directory that contains the page you want to translate. For example, if the page is in


you add /po/ after /gnu/, like this:


And there you will find:


3. Rename about-gnu.pot to about-gnu.es.po.

4. Open about-gnu.es.po with Poedit. Then go to Catalog > Settings and fill in the fields as follows:

  Project name and version: about-gnu.html
  Team: Spanish
  Team's email address: [email protected]
  Language: Spanish
  Country: You can leave this field blank
  Charset: UTF-8
  Source code charset: You can leave this field blank
  Plural forms: nplurals=2; plural=(n!=1);

Save by clicking OK.

5. Select View > Comments and View > Automatic Comments. That way, in the lower right corner of the window you will see any instructions present in the English HTML page that are useful for translators.

6. In the main window of Poedit, you will see that all strings are in English (“strings” are lines of text, such as titles and paragraphs). One by one, you start translating those strings.

7. The following strings are special:

8. Do not translate the following strings:

9. When you are finished, close Poedit and open about-gnu.es.po with a normal text editor, for example Gedit. Then edit the header as follows:

10. Leave the following as is:

      msgid ""
      msgstr ""

 [FSF logo] “The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. We defend the rights of all software users.”


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