OmegaT HowTo: Translating OmegaT into your language

Translation: general remarks

"We" refers below to the OmegaT project team. The OmegaT project team is not a company or formal legal body, just a group of volunteers involved in the OmegaT project.

OmegaT is a free, open-source translation memory program. The user interface and documentation were originally written in English. As the program is intended for translators throughout the world and not just in English-speaking countries, it is appropriate that the documentation (and, if possible, the program itself) be available in other languages. However, since we are not a commercial project, we have no budget for the commissioning of translations. Instead, those involved in the OmegaT project hope that translations will be provided first and foremost by translators who have tried OmegaT and are convinced of its value to the translation community as a whole.

The translation work

At the time of writing, the material to be translated comprises:

* The user interface (menus etc.)
* The user manual (very comprehensive)
* The Instant Start guide (a short introduction to using OmegaT)
* The readme file (a document that contains general information about OmegaT)
* The Beginner's Tutorial
* The OmegaT web pages (probably where you are reading this)

Translators are free to tackle as much or as little of the work as they wish. In particular, the main user manual is likely to take around two weeks to translate, and several translators may wish to share the work.


1. Contact the relevant co-ordinator for the translation work:
For the user interface, user manual, Instant Start guide and/or the readme file, please contact the OmegaT Localization Co-ordinator.
If you wish to translate the OmegaT website and/or the Beginner's Tutorial, please contact the OmegaT Website Manager.

2. Join the OmegaT user group (also known as "OmT"). During the subscription process, you will have to send a short message to the group moderators: this is to enable them to distinguish genuine users from spammers.

After joining, visit the OmegaT Localization Plan. This plan shows what translation/localization work has already been done on OmegaT, and what work is currently in progress. If a suitable piece of the work for your language has not yet been started, you can make an entry in the plan to indicate that you have assumed responsibility for it. The purpose of the plan is to prevent two or more translators from working on the same translation without being aware of it (duplication of effort). In order to prevent two or more translators from working on the same language at the same time, it is therefore very important that you make an entry in the localization plan when you begin work on a translation.

3. Although not essential, we recommend that you also join the OmegaT localizers' mailing list (also known as "OmT-l10n").

4. Download the files for translation.

For the OmegaT program and documentation, these are either the "Full" package or the "Minimal" package.

The full package contains the user manual, the instant start manual, the user interface resource bundle and the readme file. The minimal package contains the same files as the full package, except for the main user manual. You do not have to translate a complete package; you can, for instance, translate just the user interface (, or just the instant start tutorial.

If you wish to translate the OmegaT web pages, download the website localization package. (Note: these are the English files. If you prefer to translate from a different language into which OmegaT has already been localized, please contact the OmegaT webmaster.)

Localizations of the OmegaT user interface and documentation are generally updated in step with new releases of OmegaT.

The OmegaT website is a continual work in progress. You can view a list of the OmegaT website pages showing when each page was last updated here.

The OmegaT website includes files in HTML and, as of 2011, PHP format. To translate the latter in OmegaT, you must register the .php extension with the HTML and XHTML filter as follows:

Options > File Filters > Select "HTML and XHTML files" > Edit > Add > Then enter "*.php" in the "Source Filename Pattern" column.

Finally, there is the Beginner's Tutorial, available here.

5. There may be older versions of the documentation and/or translation memories (TMX files) available for your language which are useful to your translation. Translation memory (TMX) files of older localizations of OmegaT, the documentation and the website can be found in the "Files" section of the online user group. It is also worth asking on the localizers' list (OmT-l10n) whether anyone has any reference material which might facilitate your translation.

6. Translate the files you have chosen. Needless to say, we would prefer you to use OmegaT for the OmegaT localization work. You can however use other software if you wish.

After downloading the zip archive of the full or minimal package or the website localization package, unpack the archive. For the full and minimal packages (user interface and documentation), you do not need to create an OmegaT project as you normally would in OmegaT: when unpacked, the files for localization of the OmegaT program are a ready-to-use OmegaT project. (This is not the case for the website localization files.)

You have complete freedom in how you translate. You can modify, correct, add or delete information at your own discretion. If you have any questions, the OmT-l10n list is the best place to post them.

If the document you are translating contains it, please do not translate the GPL (GNU Public License) or the GFDL (GNU Free Documentation License). Firstly, only the original English is legally valid. A translation may also be provided for information, but it has no legal validity. Secondly, unless yours is a very uncommon language, both documents have in all probability already been translated. Search the web and you will probably find the translations.

Please keep translations of files in their original format, and do not change the file names. The formatting is retained automatically if you use OmegaT. We are grateful for all translations, but it simplifies our work considerably if files are returned in the same format (and not as Word files, for example).

7. Test your translation (optional).

To test the user interface:

Launch OmegaT from the command line (MS-DOS window) with the following commands (if you are unsure how to do this, refer to the OmegaT user manual)

     cd [full path to OmegaT]
     java -jar OmegaT.jar resource-bundle=[name of bundle with full path]

where [full path to OmegaT] is the full path to the folder containing the OmegaT program, and [name of bundle with full path] is the name of your translation of the resource bundle (, unless you have changed the name) including the full path to its location.

To test display of the Instant Start Guide at launch:

In the /docs/ folder of the OmegaT program, create a sub-folder with the ISO code of your operating system language (rename the existing folder temporarily if it already exists), and copy the manual into this folder. Then launch OmegaT normally. (If you have translated into a language which is not your operating system language, see below, "How OmegaT handles localized versions".)

8. Produce a screenshot of OmegaT in your language (after translating the user interface). This is also optional, but if you have been able to launch OmegaT with your localized bundle (see above), it will enhance the quality of your translation. To produce a screenshot, launch OmegaT and create a suitable screen for a screenshot, such as the "Create new project" dialog showing typical paths.

Choose the .png file type

Name the image NewImage.png

9. Deliver your file to the localization co-ordinator, who will pass it on to the development team for inclusion in the next release of OmegaT (user interface and documentation) or upload it to the website (website pages). If you used OmegaT or another CAT tool for the work, please also upload your translation memory (TMX file) to the translation memory repository in the online user group. This will greatly simplify updating of your translation in the future. Please do NOT deliver your entire OmegaT project file to the localization coordinator (he does not need to receive multiple copies of the entire project). Rather, create two separate .zip or tar.gz files, one containing the target documents only, and the other containing the tmx files.

10. Don't forget to update the OmegaT Localization Plan (see Step 2 of the procedure) to show that you have completed translation of a particular document/version. Equally, if you abandon the translation work for any reason, please update your entry in the plan to show this. This enables the document concerned to be released for translation by another translator. If you discontinue before completing the translation, please do create the tmx files for the you have done and upload them to the translation memory repository.

Copyright information

Most of the OmegaT documentation is licensed for re-use under the GNU Public License (GPL) or GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). The web pages are not licensed for re-use. None of this need concern you unless you are particularly interested in copyright issues. You will be credited as the author of your work and named as joint copyright holder.

Copyright Marc Prior 2009-2014