Translation Introduction

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Revision as of 14:32, 22 July 2007 by Colin Finck (talk | contribs) (Additional help)
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Translating software into the native language of different people is a very important thing to make the software usable to bigger audience.

The ReactOS team welcomes anyone who wish to contribute by translating. This article is written to help you to get started.

The first thing you should check is if there are any other translators working on your language. You can see a list of languages and translators on the Translations page.

If there are other translators listed, you should contact them and tell them you are interested in translating. You could also ask them about the actual translation's status.

If your language isn't listed, feel free to write the language up in the list on the Translations page.

Write your name down under the language together with your email.

How to translate

Translating ReactOS is done by editing different resource files (.rc). Some people have trouble locating them so here are their paths. REMEMBER: you must also edit the "#include" directives if the language file doesn't exist!

The following list is the result of a search for "en.rc" against the source, it may not reflect all the files that need/should to be translated.

Individual En.rc Files - Main Tree

\dll\cpl\intl_new\ (the old one will be deleted soon)

Where to download the files

The latest files are available in SVN. Make sure you get the files from there and not from any release since they might be outdated. You can browse and download single files from SVN through this page:

How to translate the files

Below is an example rc-file from ReactOS Access Control List Editor (aclui).

(Note that in a few lines some unimportant things, from a translation point of view, have been cut out fit the formatting of this page)

#include <reactos/resource.h>
#include <defines.h>
#include "resource.h"


CAPTION "Security"
FONT 8, "MS Shell Dlg", 0, 0, 0x0
  LTEXT "&Group or user names:", -1, 7, 7, 105, 8
  PUSHBUTTON "A&dd...", IDC_ACELIST_ADD, 116, 87, 50, 14
  PUSHBUTTON "&Remove", IDC_ACELIST_REMOVE, 170, 87, 50, 14
  LTEXT "Allow", -1, 135, 107, 32, 8, SS_CENTER
  LTEXT "Deny", -1, 176, 107, 32, 8, SS_CENTER

  IDS_PSP_TITLE "Permissions for %1"

The first thing to do is to make a copy of the english rc-file, usually called En.rc, and name it after your language. If you do not know the code for your language, take a look at the 2-letter codes in the bottom of ISO-639. Please note that a few files may differ from this list, for example files originally from Wine. So make sure that a translation of your language does not exist before you start to translate it yourself.

When you have copied the file it's just to begin the actual translation.

  • First change - LANG_ENGLISH

A good thing to start with is to change LANG_ENGLISH into your language (Example: LANG_SWEDISH). Depending on your language and location, you might also have to change SUBLANG_NEUTRAL or SUBLANG_DEFAULT. A list with choices are available here: Sublang

Now the translation is pretty straight-forward. The words to translate are between quotation marks. However, you should not translate all words in quotation marks, there are some exceptions. But often it's pretty easy to see in the file what to translate and what to not translate. For example you should not translate "MS Shell Dlg" (which is a font, as you can see in the beginning of the line) or "SysListView32".

Save the files as "Plain text", NOT as "Unicode", "UTF-8" or something else!

If some of the fields, labels, etc. is too small for your language, you may resise it.

For example in

PUSHBUTTON "&Some text", IDC_ACELIST_REMOVE, 170, 87, 50, 14

the numbers 170, 87, 50, 14 stand for LEFT, TOP, WIDTH, HEIGHT. So, changing 50 to 60 will result in a longer pushbutton.

In case you are not updating old translations, you will have to edit some more files. In each application, dll, etc folder, there should be a file named either rsrc.rc or <applicationname>.rc. You shall open it and add the path to your language file in it.

Common Characters

  • The &-letter

Note the &-letter which is inside some words above. It defines a hotkey, the letter which comes after the &-letter becomes a hotkey.

A hotkey is a key you can use to fast access different menu's etc. The hotkey is shown with an underline.

  •  %

The %-sign is followed by another character like the %1 you see in the rc-file above. This should not be changed as it is usually a text string or a value being printed.

  • \n

This is a linebreak.

  • /* commented text */

This is commented text. You may consider leaving the source language text, in order to facilitate future work.

Submit your translation

To submit your translation, please create a patch file for it and file a Bugzilla Bug report for it.

Here is a small step-by-step guide for doing this:

1. Right-click the folder, which contains all files you changed and click on TortoiseSVN --> Create patch.
2. Make sure that all your changed files are selected in the appearing dialog and then click on OK. Save the result as a ".patch" file.
3. Go to the ReactOS Bugzilla and click on New. On the next page click on the ReactOS link.
4. As you most-probably created a translation for the latest ReactOS source code, choose TRUNK from the Version list. From the Component list, choose Patches.
5. Enter a short description in the Summary text box, for example "German translation for winemine". In the Description text box enter something similar. Then click on the Commit button.
6. Now return to the created bug report and in the Attachment list, click on Create a New Attachment.
7. Choose your ".patch" file in the File text box. In the Description box enter something like "Patch file containing the translations". Be sure to add your mail and real name. Don't forget to check the patch checkbox at Content Type. Then click on Submit to submit your translation.

Additional help

If you need more help, feel free to send your question to the translation mailing list (ros-translate). You can also ask in the ReactOS IRC Channels.


You don't have to translate everything exactly the same as Windows. If you believe you can translate something better than Windows, go on! However you are encouraged to keep common terms, like for example the menus in the windows.

Also, Try to keep your translation consistent, ie try to not translate the same term differently in different places.

Guidelines / Tips

There are no enforced guidelines, but some things that are recommended.

  • Proofreading

By having another member of your translation team proofreading all your translations and giving his/her suggestions, the translation will keep a higher quality. This idea started in the Swedish translation team, and this is how, we in that team handle it:

1. Someone translates a file and in our case uploads it to our ftp-server.

2. Another member of the team proofreads the file and give his/her comments.

3. The original author makes changes accordingly to the comments if he/she agrees with them.

4. If there is anything the two members don't agree on, we have a vote by all members.

Of course you don't need to follow these steps but some kind of proofreading is highly recommended.

  • A place to meet and chat

Having a place to meet and chat makes the translation a lot easier. A tip is to set up an IRC channel on the freenode network and meet there.

  • Another tip for Firefox users

With the Firefox plugin "Dictionary Search" it is much more faster to translate words you don´t know.

You just have to mark them, have a right click on them and press Dictionary search for it. Dictionary search uses several websites to translate as much languages as possible.

You can find it here:
A list of Dictionary sites that can be used is here available:


In this section I've decided to add questions and answers which were asked on irc and/or the ros-translate mailing list.

  • Q: Which files will be translated by the WINE project?
  • A: The Wine translations are already available in the ReactOS source tree. If you would translate/update a file which is also in Wine, the commiter will send the update to Wine aswell.