Documentation translation

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Tutorial Translation

Inkscape tutorial sources are in Docbook XML format, with illustrations in SVG. If you want to translate one or more tutorials, first download the Docbook source here:

Each tutorial is in its own subdirectory. You need the *.xml file, for example basic/tutorial-basic.xml. You could get it and simply replace all English text in it with the text in your language, preserving all XML markup. See README at that location for some notes on markup. Other (better) ways are described below.

  • If there's already such a file in SVN, you can edit it instead :) If there's no xml file at the above location but there's a translation of this tutorial in SVG format (in share/tutorials in Inkscape distribution), you'll need to convert it to Docbook (and probably update). Conversion can be done simply by: select the text blocks of an SVG tutorial in Inkscape, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V in your text editor, then add the markup.
  • Save your file as <original name>.<language suffix>.xml, for example basic/ for Spanish.
  • Do not use symbolic entities like &aacute; (they're not defined in XML without a DTD). Instead use either numeric entities such as &#225; or simply write your text in UTF-8.
  • Most illustrations don't need translations, so you leave the references to them from English XML intact. If however an illustration has some text that you want to translate, open the illustration file in Inkscape (e.g. basic/basic-f12.svg), edit it as needed, and save under a different name (e.g. basic/basic-f12-es.svg). Then change the filename reference in the XML source appropriately.
  • When finished, run xmllint on your file to make sure it's well-formed: xmllint --noout --noent --valid <filename>
  • Send the file to Joshua Andler <scislac at users dot sf dot net>, and he'll convert it to SVG and HTML and upload it to SVN and the web site.
  • If after that you want to make any changes, download the file from the above location again, because it may have changed compared to the one you have.


Transforming XML into PO files

One can also use xml2po to get PO files out of the XML sources, and also transform the PO files back to XML. After you have a PO file, follow the instructions for editing those files below.

xml2po is available in gnome-doc-utils (

Here are some command lines that were used to translate a German tutorial (the de-locale), please adapt accordingly until we nicely integrate this into our Makefiles.

## use this at the very beginning, when there is no translation at all:
xml2po --output=basic/tutorial-basic.pot basic/tutorial-basic.xml

## use this when there is a *.de.xml, but you want a de.po:
xml2po --output=basic/de.po --reuse=basic/ basic/tutorial-basic.xml

## xml2po is not happy when this directory doesn't exist:
mkdir .tmp.basic

## use this when the tutorial-basic.xml has been updated and you
## want the new stuff in your de.po:
xml2po --update-translation=basic/de.po basic/tutorial-basic.xml

## use this to create a from your de.po (ScislaC
## will use this file to create the final tutorial SVG file)
## WARNING: Unfortunately, this doesn't put localized screenshot 
## file names into the xml file!
xml2po --po-file=basic/de.po basic/tutorial-basic.xml > basic/

Keyboard and mouse translation

  • TBD

User Manual

  • See also Embedded Help
  • First download the user manual xml document from SVN
  • edit the trunk/xml/inkscapeUTF.xml file. All languages are inside.
  • Just read the file, choose the language reference you want to use (en, fr...) and translate by duplicating the node and changing lang attribute to yours.
  • when finishing editing, if necessary edit the Makefile and add your language to the Makefile. In every case test your file with some tools (xmllint...) or just type again "make your_language" : syntax errors will be displayed : please correct them.
  • submit your work as a patch in the patch tracker and warn Cédric Gemy (cedric at by email.

Man pages

  • first download inkscape.pod from SVN
  • rename it to inkscape.xx.pod, where xx is the code for your language
  • open inkscape.xx.pod in your favourite text editor (pay attention to encoding which must be UTF8), and directly translate in the file.
  • you can take a look at a first example of translation with
  • finally, submit your work in the patch tracker and drop a mail to the inkscape devel mailing list.

Polishing Translations - Microtypography

Here are some things to note in order to achive good microtypography.

  • use the proper quotes (e.g. »foo«)
  • use the proper kind of dashes (with the proper amount of whitespace around them)
  • use non-breakable space where appropriate
  • use halfspace where appropriate
  • use "24×24", not "24x24"
  • use "90°", not "90 degrees" where appropriate