Use a software to help us translate Mastodon


While working on Mastodon’s French translation, I noticed that some strings weren’t translated during the previous updates. When I wanted to translate the missing ones, I rapidly found myself lost in the middles of numerous modifications. With each new commit to the locales files, it’s getting harder to know which strings have an up to date translation and which one haven’t.
Besides, with Mastodon growth, the translation files became more and more scattered across the code. As a reminder, the current locales files are:

  • app/javascript/mastodon/locales/en.json
  • app/views/user_mailer/confirmation_instructions.en.html.erb
  • app/views/user_mailer/confirmation_instructions.en.text.erb
  • app/views/user_mailer/password_change.en.html.erb
  • app/views/user_mailer/password_change.en.text.erb
  • app/views/user_mailer/reset_password_instructions.en.html.erb
  • app/views/user_mailer/reset_password_instructions.en.text.erb
  • config/locales/en.yml
  • config/locales/activerecord.en.yml
  • config/locales/devise.en.yml
  • config/locales/doorkeeper.en.yml
  • config/locales/simple_form.en.yml

What I suggest

I suggest we use a free software to help us keep track of the current state of the translations. The idea is that we should be able to feed it the keys and then translate the strings.
I think it’ll be for the better if we installed such software in

What software should we use

Since I’m pretty new to the world of software localization, I didn’t know what software use for that task. Since nobody answered me on the Fediverse, I took a look at how some other free software projects are doing this.
I selected three softwares:

  1. GlotPress, which is used by WordPress. It’s my favorite candidate. I looked to WordPress’s translation project and it seems to do exactly what we need.
  2. DamnedLies, which is used by GNOME. It seems to do the job too.
  3. Pontoon, which is used by Mozilla. It’s beautiful and should probably work for us, but frankly, I didn’t understand how this thing is supposed to work. So I’m not to sure about this…

So, what do you think? Like I said, it’s the first time I take part in a translation project, so my ideas could be really bad ones. Also, maybe someone more knowledgeable than me know of better softwares?


This can also help translation by people without Git skills.

My software pick is Weblate. It’s open source and can be integrated with github. They have a free hosted teer for open source projects. It is used by Liberapay, OsmAnd, Debian, F-Droid and phpMyAdmin.


Weblate seems really good and perfectly adapted! I fully support your idea!
However, I think it would be better if we hosted it ourself rather than relying on their instance. I would allow us to set various project (one for Mastodn, one for the documentation…) and should probably be more consistent with the project’s ethics.


I’ll run this idea by Gargron again, when we have a chat later this week.

1 Like

Thank you for your help with this Maloki!

1 Like

I just saw that this topic have already been discussed on GitHub by other translators, back in April. It seems there is a consensus for using Weblate.


Hi @maloki! Do you have any news on this?

Any news on that? Last time I heard of it it was looked into by @Gargron.

1 Like

@maloki @Gargron

Was the idea abandoned?
It has just become increasingly difficult to maintain these files without the right tools as they grow.

Well, apparently, is a thing now and have been for two months.
That’s great but it looks like most people are not aware of that. I didn’t see any announcement related to this and the documentation hasn’t been updated to reflect this change.