W3C   W3C Internationalization (I18n) Activity: Making the World Wide Web truly world wide!

On this page

Related links

Translation process

This page is obsolete. The information it contains is out of date and should be ignored. See the Translation Instructions page instead.

This page describes how translations of tutorials, FAQs, or articles from the http://www.w3.org/International/ site are handled.

The essential requirements for translators are listed on the page entitled Translation Instructions. This page contains an expanded set of instructions that can be followed by the translator, or by W3C staff if the translator supplies only minimal information. This page is maintained by the Internationalization Working Group.

There is a list of translations of boilerplate text.


To translate a tutorial, FAQ, or article from the http://www.w3.org/International/ site, the instructions on this page should be followed, and translators should check they agree to point 3 in W3C's intellectual rights FAQ, "Can I translate one of your specifications into another language?".

This document provides the practical details for implementing the requirements in the FAQ just mentioned.

Inform us first

Send an email to Richard Ishida (ishida@w3.org) and copy w3c-translators@w3.org before starting the translation.

Important note: You must not simply download the source text for a page and translate it, since the pages are generated using PHP. You will need to ask Richard Ishida for the PHP file. This will also save you a lot of time, since a large amount of boilerplate text will already be translated for you.

If this is a translation into a language that we don't already have on our site, you will be asked to also translate the English boilerplate text file and send that to Richard Ishida. See the list of other boilerplate text in other languages. Once the boilerplate text is translated, you will no longer need to translate that text for subsequent articles. This will maintain consistency, improve your productivity, ensure better coverage of non-visible text, and make it easier to deal with changes to the standard template.

The pages on the Internationalization site are likely to change at any time, and others may already be translating a page you are thinking of, so it is important to let us know in advance that you intend to attempt a translation.

This is particularly important when we are in the process of applying new styling to the pages, which happens periodically. If you translate a page with the old styling, you will need to do a lot more when the styling is changed. If, however, you advise us of your intentions, we will usually ensure that the new styling is applied before you start.

To subscribe to the w3c-translators list, please send an email to w3c-translators-request@w3.org with the word "subscribe" in the subject line (include the word "unsubscribe" if you want to unsubscribe). You can also browse through the archives of that list.


We will host your translation on the W3C site, in the same directory as the original page. This facilitates language negotiation and management of updates when the source text is changed.

Please send the XHTML file to us.

Character encoding

Please use UTF-8.

File naming

Please name your file <original-file-name>.<lang>.php, where <lang> is an BCP 47 language tag. For instance, the name of the file qa-character-encoding.en.php, translated into Spanish, would be qa-character-encoding.es.php.

PHP code

The HTML source code contains PHP code in various places. With one exception, you should not change any of this code. PHP code starts with <?php and ends with ?>. The only PHP code you should edit is the first block, which appears at the top of the source file.

At the top of the file are a number of variable assignments in the PHP code. Some of these need to be changed by the translator. Follow the instructions in comments (ie. text after //). The comments will indicate what needs changing and what the value should be.

Ensure that, if you use quotes, you do not do so in a way that would invalidate the string boundaries.

The variables that need attention are currently:

As a courtesy, we allow you to provide a link from your name to a page that gives information about you as an individual or about your translation organization. For an individual, this could be a personal blog or a bio page. For a translation organization, this could be their home or about page. We will not accept links to pages that, in our view, are overly heavy with links for products that are not related to translation. The purpose of the link should be to provide information to readers of the article about the person or organization providing the translation. Using a link to any other type of page or site is not acceptable.

You may write names in your local script (eg. translator's, or even author's names), but please add the romanised form of the name in parentheses immediately after.

You should also translate any HTML code within the first PHP block. In particular, this includes links to the headings in the document, which must be translated exactly the same as the headings themselves.

Markup and styling

Please preserve the original markup. Markup should only need adaptation in exceptional circumstances and small amounts. If you feel you need to change the markup, please contact us.

We may need to change the styling to suit a particular language or script. If so, please contact us with your proposals. Typically, we would create an additional stylesheet for the language that would overwrite the features in the main stylesheet as necessary.

Keywords and description meta-data

You may replace the English text or add a translation alongside. If you leave the English meta in, please ensure that there are lang="en" and xml:lang="en" attributes attached to it.

Linking to other pages

If there is a link to a specification or W3C document, etc., for which a translated version exists, please feel free to add a link to the translated version after the original link.

Links to pages below /International should not start with http://www.w3.org. Nor should they end with .html (this is to enable language negotiation and allow us to test the file before upload).

Please check that all links work before sending the file for publication.

Non-visible text

Please ensure that you have translated all text, including alt and title text, and text for accessibility use.

Changes to the text

Translators should provide a list of the following:

This information will be added to a blog post on the Internationalization home page made when the translation is announced.

Notification of new or updated translations

Richard Ishida will notify the translators@w3.org and www-international@w3.org lists after a translation is uploaded to the W3C International site. He will also add an blog entry to the Internationalization home page.

Coralie Mercier and Ivan Herman will then add information to the RDF database to update the list of i18n translations.

Help us by updating the translation as the document changes

The pages on the Internationalization site are likely to change at any time, and if we are language negotiating it is important that the translations remain up to date. Please track the changes in the original English document and update your translation as appropriate.


Contact: Richard Ishida (ishida@w3.org).

Content last changed 2006-11-23 16:40 GMT