Weblate tutorial

Translating the LSTN handbook is a great way to contribute to LSTN. If you've never used Weblate or another crowdsourced translation tool before, our quickstart guide will help you learn how to do a few simple tasks using Weblate: translating a string, adding and vetting suggestions, watching a project, and adding new translations to a project. Remember, Weblate is free to use for translators, and you can even make suggestions without creating an account. You can also help out by fixing checks, if you don't feel comfortable translating or your language is already complete.

While we will make every effort to make sure that this tutorial remains up-to-date, keep in mind that interfaces do change over time and we might not catch every update right away. If you are ever stuck or confused, or if the screenshots don't match what you see on the site, please don't hesitate to reach out and let us know!

Confused about any of the terms or jargon on this page or within Weblate? We've written up a glossary of Weblate terms for your reference. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please email us at contact@lstn.wolba.ch.


How to translate a phrase

Screenshot of a Weblate translation page

This is the translation page, where you can make translations in a specific language to a specific component of a project (see the breadcrumb trail at the top of the page?). Take note of the "translation" box at the top left; the rest of the page has information that may be helpful, but is not always needed.

Screenshot of 'translation' subsection of the Weblate translation page

The translation box will show you one source string in the base language at a time. "String" is coding jargon; it just means a set of characters of any length. A string could be a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or a bullet point.

In the LSTN project, the source string will always be in English and uneditable, but you can still copy it. Below is the box where you can add your translation. The red "spaces" in the source string are actually non-breaking spaces (NBS), which is a type of space that prevents a line break. You can add one to your translation with the "NBS" button between the two text boxes, to the right. This green section is called the "visual keyboard" and also includes other types of local punctuation marks you may not have on your keyboard but wish to use in your translations.

The three buttons beneath are save, suggest, and skip. "Save" saves your translations and sends them to us (though they can still be edited afterward). "Suggest" can be used when you are unsure of your translation, or only provided an incomplete translation, and want others to check it before it is saved. You can also use the "suggest" button if you are not logged in to Weblate. The "Skip" button takes you to the next string.

How to add and check suggestions

Screenshot of part of the Weblate translation page while logged out of Weblate.

When you are not logged in to a Weblate account, you can only add suggested translations, which can then be checked by other users. To add a suggested translation, type your translation into the field like normal, then click the "Suggest" button. You will not be able to click on the "Save" button if you are not logged in to a Weblate account.

Screenshot of part of the Weblate translation page while logged out of Weblate.

Once you click "Suggest," you will be taken to the next string automatically. To check that your suggestion worked, navigate back to the string you were at (if you use the back button in your browser, you will have to refresh the page) and you should see a new red box at the top right-hand corner of the page labeled "Things to check." Here, you will see a button to "View" your suggestion. You will not be able to edit, verify, or delete the suggestion if you are not logged in to a Weblate account.

Screenshot of part of the Weblate translation page showing a suggestion

When you click the "View" button, you will see a screen like this one. You can also scroll down on the translation page and click "Suggestions" under the "Translation" box.

Screenshot of a suggestion on Weblate

Notice that this suggestion was made by an anonymous user; this means they were logged out when they made it. From here, you can edit the suggested translation or use the buttons to the top right of the strings to either approve (green check), edit and approve (green pencil), flag as spam (red exclamation point), or delete (red trash can) the suggested translation.

How to watch a project

Screenshot of a project page on Weblate with an arrow pointing to a dropdown menu that says 'watching'

If you would like to see a project on your dashboard when you log in to Weblate, you can watch it. At the top right corner of any project, component, or language, there is a dropdown menu with an eyeball on it. If you select "Watch project [project name]" in the dropdown menu, the project will automatically show up on your dashboard when you log in to Weblate. Watching a project automatically watches all components of the project, and watching a component automatically watches all languages in the component.

How to add a new language

Screenshot of a component page on Weblate with an arrow pointing to a button that says 'start new translation'

On any component screen, you can add any new language using the "start new translation" button at the bottom. You may need to scroll down to see this! Some projects do not allow any users to add translations, so this button may not always be available.

Screenshot of a the Weblate 'Start new translation' menu

On the language selection screen, simply use the drop down menu to pick a language and then click "start new translation." Weblate supports many different languages, dialects, writing standards, and character types, not all of which are reflected in the dropdown menu. If you would like to add a language, dialect, or writing standard that is not on this list, please contact us and we would be happy to add it for you! For example, LSTN currently hosts translations for Norwegian Bokmål, simplified Chinese, and generic Spanish, but we can add Norwegian Nynorsk, traditional Chinese, or Spanish dialects such as Chilean Spanish.

Last updated: September 30, 2021
Written by: Allie Tatarian