Mobile Translation (Community Project)
Mobile Translation is an LDSTech project that supports Church mobile apps – Gospel Library, LDS Music, LDS Youth, etc. – by providing UI translation and localization. The UI, or user interface, includes the buttons, menus, and titles of an app. The project also includes translation of app store descriptions and release notes. We are looking for volunteers who speak English and at least one other language fluently – anyone with an LDS Account can join the project here at Tech.LDS.org.
How to join the project
You will need an LDS Account, which is the same account used to sign in to other church web sites.
- Go to the Projects page (log in if necessary).
- (If you've never signed up for an LDSTech project before:)
- Follow the link to the Individual Contributor License Agreement (ICLA). Read and agree.
- Click on Profile (on the second red bar at the top of the page). Fill out all required fields on your profile (the ones marked with an asterisk*) and press Save.
- On the Projects page, find the project called Mobile Translation (the list is in alphabetical order). Click on the title.
- Near the top of the page there’s a little black button that says Join – click it!
By joining, you will become part of the team and automatically be added to the announcement group (hosted by Google Groups). Your subscription settings for the group can be changed on the project page.
After you have joined the project, email Samuel your LDS Account username and what language you speak. He will give you access to the translation system at the OneSky website, where all of the translation and QA (voting) work is done.
Consider the following as you translate:
- Be aware of where your translation will appear in the app. Use the notes/comments or look in the app to get an idea of the context of your translation. Sometimes the string (word or phrase) you are translating needs to be short to fit into a small space in the app, forcing you to use abbreviations or short words. In other cases, the length of your translation won't matter.
- Compare your translations to the wording in built-in apps on your device. Translations for technical vocabulary can be found by switching your device into a different language and looking around (especially in the built-in Music app), or by browsing online help articles about your device and finding the same help page in a different language.
- If you are not a native speaker, invite a native speaker to check your translations. Everyone needs an opportunity to serve. A native speaker has a feel for his language and can quickly identify errors. When the translations are finished he will benefit directly from the translated app.
- If needed, use online resources to help you translate. If you are unsure how to translate a word, look it up in a dictionary or use Google translate. Machine translation isn't perfect, but it can help you get started. If you are deciding between two possible translations, one trick is to do a Google search for each phrase in quote marks and see which phrase appears most often, or in the closest context.
- Keep variables when translating. Some strings include things like “%s”, “%d”, or “%1$@”. These are variables for words that will be plugged in by the app. If the original English contains a variable, make sure your translation does as well.
After joining the project at LDSTech and receiving access to the OneSky website from an administrator, go to the OneSky collaboration page. From there, you can click on a project, then click the name of the language you will be working on. This will take you to the "Translate" page. On the translate page, you should see a blue bar on the left and the name of the language you will be working on at the top.
For each string, first check the panel on the far right to see if there are any existing translations. You can vote for the best translation by clicking the star or heart (on a mobile device) icon. If there are no existing tranlstions, or if the existing translations could be improved, you can write your own translation. When a translation gets at least one vote it becomes "approved" so it can be released with the next version of the app.
Priority of languages
Our highest-priority languages for translation are:
- The “Internet Ten”: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
- Other significant LDS languages: Albanian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Cebuano, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mongolian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Samoan, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Tongan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
- Any other languages supported by the mobile device.
If an app is content-based, for example Gospel Library or LDS Music, we don’t translate the user interface into a language we don't have content for yet. This is to avoid confusion among users who speak those languages.
You may also be interested in participating in the LDS Music Content project, which allows volunteers to digitize hymnbooks and other Church music in around 100 languages so they can be made available in Church apps and on LDS.org.
If you are at Brigham Young University (Provo), there is a group called Vineyard at BYU that gathers each week to work together on Mobile Translation, LDS Music Content, and related projects. More information can be found on their Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also several LDSTech projects for Church apps, such as Gospel Library, LDS Tools, and LDS Music, that allow you to beta test pre-release versions of the apps and send feedback. The complete project list is available by clicking Projects above.