Debian Women - Website

Since the Debian Women, and Debian in general, is an international project, there is always a need for translators. This page is aimed at helping people translate the contents of the Debian Women website.

Since most of the discussions and activities in Debian and Debian Women will be in English, the English content will serve as the reference for other languages. This means that everything from the English content should optimally be translated to other languages, things that are removed from the English content should be removed from other languages aswell, and in case something becomes available in a language different from English, it should be translated to English as soon as possible.

Getting started

If you jump in to help other people translate, then chances are that the necessary infrastructure is already present. In that case, you can skip this section.

You should first read this document, which will give you an overview of the filehierarchy of the website and the build tree. It is also recommended to take a look at the English sub-directory and other translations to get a feeling for how things are handled.

The Do's

If you want to start a translation, you should create a sub-directory below the root directory of the working copy that is named after the language code of the language that you will be translating to. Those should be language codes according to ISO 639 (2-letter codes).

Next, you need to decide which part of the website you want to translate. If you have decided so, you should copy the corresponding sub-directory from the English language. There are a few things that need special attention.

First, you need to copy the makefiles from each directory that you want to translate. You will also need to adjust the makefiles so that they only contain build instructions for those sub-directories and pages that you will be translating. If you do not do this, the build process will fail later on.

Furthermore, some directories may contain hidden .wmlrc files. These files are used to define additional variables and command-line arguments for the wml command. These files are not crucial to the build process. One common use of .wmlrc files is that they define the title of a page.

For instance, the .wmlrc file in the about directory in English contains the line:

-DTITLE="Debian Women - About the Project"

This will be substituted in the <title> tags of the generated HTML.

Another common use is to define URLs in these files. This often reduces the length of the WML code, and makes the links easier to maintain, since you can update links by editing a file with a much simpler structure instead of having to search for links in a WML source file.

The Don't's

When copying the directories, make sure you do not include the .arch-ids directories. If you copy a directory recursively, then make sure you delete all the .arch-ids directories after that. If you fail to do so, you will run into trouble with the versioning system.


Once everything is set up correctly. Translating should be fairly easy. Basically, the WML sources from English can be copied and translated paragraph by paragraph. This does of course not have to be strictly followed, after all it should be localized. However, the essence of the original content should remain the same.

If you feel you are not able to translate some of the content, you can always ask for help, or maybe inform the authors of the original content, since it might occur that the original can or should be improved.


While doing translations it may well occur at one point or another, that you get problems with the build scripts. These scripts are not extensively tested for localization work yet, so they might contain bugs. In case you run into trouble, either ask on IRC (#debian-women on or on the Debian Women Website mailing list.

Since the new build system is still pretty new and mostly untested for general usage, any feedback you may have is highly appreciated. Questions, comments and suggestions should go to the Debian Women Website mailing list.