A Preliminary Analysis of Localization in Free Software: How Translations Are Performed

  • Laura Arjona Reina
  • Gregorio Robles
  • Jesús M. González-Barahona
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 404)


Software is more than just source code. There is a myriad of elements that compose a software project, among others documentation, translations, multimedia, artwork, marketing. In this paper, we focus on the translation efforts that free, libre, open source software (FLOSS) projects undergo to provide their software in multiple languages. We have therefore analyzed a large amount of projects for their support and procedures regarding translations, if they exist. Our results show that many, but not all, projects offer some type of support and specify some ways to those wanting to contribute. Usually, projects from a more traditional libre software domain are more prone to ease such tasks. However, there is no general way to contribute, as formats and procedures are often project-specific. We have identified as well a high number of translation-supporting tools, with many projects having their own one. All in all, information about how to contribute is the main factor for having a very internationalized application. Projects accepting and giving credit to contributing translators have high levels of internationalization, even if the process is rudimentary.


free software open source libre software translations internationalization localization collaborative development crowdsourcing open innovation 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Arjona Reina
    • 1
  • Gregorio Robles
    • 2
  • Jesús M. González-Barahona
    • 2
  1. 1.Technical University of Madrid (UPM)MadridSpain
  2. 2.GSyC/LibresoftUniversidad Rey Juan CarlosMadridSpain

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