Translation project: Debian in Dutch

Translating Debian into Dutch

Translating requires teamwork and Debian counts a lot of active translation teams, all dedicated to making Debian available in the language of their local communities. In order to support the efforts of those localisation teams, Debian has built a central localisation infrastructure.

The aim of the Dutch localisation team is to make sure that there is also a Dutch version of the Debian operating system and its documentation.

If you are willing to help with translating Debian into Dutch, we will welcome you wholeheartedly into our team. We hope that the information on this page is sufficiently clear and detailed to get you started translating effectively.

The Debian Dutch localisation team

Contributing to the translation of Debian is 100% a volunteer effort. This leads to each member of the team spending as much or as little time on translations as he/she sees fit. So, as a translation volunteer, you don't have any performance obligation.

However, we do expect you to abide by the rules of the Debian code of conduct and to behave and communicate in a constructive way.

All communication among team members takes place on the Dutch localisation mailing list. This mailing list is the single central coordination system. Therefore, as a team member, it is highly recommended to subscribe to it. All traffic on the list is public and gets archived. Debian has a profound conviction that this open way of proceeding can only be beneficial to a high quality level of work.

Linguistic guidelines

With regard to spelling, vocabulary and grammar we follow the directives, guidelines and recommendations of the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union). This body is the official authority for these matters and is authoritative for all the Dutch-speaking countries and territories on the globe. By taking this position we reaffirm that our translations are aimed at anyone who is a member of that Dutch-speaking community in the world. Therefore we try to avoid local dialect as much as possible. We simply lack the necessary manpower to manage several locally-based translation variants. This is clearly demonstrated through the small amount of completed translations realised by such efforts in the past, as can be seen on and on

Over time a limited lexicon has been put together. It aims at reaching a certain level of uniformity in translations. We suggest that you take a look at it regularly while translating. This lexicon can probably be extended further, and it may even be that some of the translation suggestions in it may be of a suboptimal quality. Suggestions for extensions and improvements are welcomed. But of course they have to be discussed thoroughly on the mailing list. The ultimate aim should always be to combine correctness with intelligibility. When it comes to the translation of technical terminology this can sometimes prove to be a very tough deliberation.

What can be translated?

Operational procedures

In order to support the effort of Debian localisation teams, a tracking system has been set up. Its main page and the numerous subsidiary pages provide detailed information on the progress of the internationalisation of Debian. Thanks to this the distinct localisation teams are presented with an overview of the ongoing activities within their team, of the already finished translations and of the areas that still need the attention of a translator.

To make this support possible, information has to be actively collected by the tracking system, which listens at several locations within Debian, including the localisation team mailing lists.

For the tracking system to be able to understand what is going on in the field of Debian localisation, a complete set of pseudo-URLs has been developed. It boils down to a standardised format for the subject field of email massages that are sent to the mailing lists, so that it conveys information on the element or file for which translation is under way and the stage of the translation process it has reached.

A pseudo-URL consists of the following components:

[status] type://package-name/file-name

Of course, email massages with a subject field that has not been formatted this way can also be used and sent to the mailing list, but they won't be understood and tracked by the localisation tracking system. Messages like this are mostly used for discussing general matters not directly related to the translation of a specific file.

Below we shortly discuss the various components of a pseudo-URL.

The status of a translation or the stage a translation of a specific element has reached.
This describes the kind of element or file for which a translation is being prepared. The localisation tracking system knows the following types: po-debconf, debian-installer, po, po4a, man and wml (webwml is obsolete and instead wml should be used now).
The name of the package the translated file belongs to. If it is a web page, then has to be used as the name of the package.
The name of the translated document or file. If a man page is translated, this file name will also contain its section, and for a web page the path to that page is part of its name. That way any possible confusion with another document or another file of the same package is excluded.

Here you may find some examples of pseudo-URLs. We will ignore the status element for now:

The status element of a pseudo-URL always has to be put within square brackets. The following status indicators are likely to improve cooperation and facilitate tracking and follow-up by the localisation tracking system:

(Intent To Translate) With this status element a translator indicates that he/she will take care of the translation of the specified element.
(Request For Review) The attachment to this message is a draft translation and the translator invites other translation team members to review it.
(Intent To Review) This status element indicates that a translator is preparing a review of the specified draft translation.
(Last Chance/Call For Comments) In this stage the discussion on a draft translation has been completed and the comments have been incorporated in the translation. An updated draft translation is attached so that everyone has a chance to take a final look at it and read it over once again. If a Request For Review gets no reaction, this often implies approval of the translation; in such a case a LCFC can be sent to make sure that the previous mail (the one with a RFR status indicator) did not unintentionally pass unnoticed.
(Bug Tracking System) This informs the mailing list and the tracking system that the translation has been sent to the maintainer via a bug report which was assigned the given number by the bug tracking system. The package maintainer closes this bug report on uploading a new version of the package with the translation included. This event will be noticed and taken into account by the localisation tracking system.
This status element signals that the translation has been completed and committed. It is used in those cases where the translation has not been committed via a bug report. This happens for example when a web page or a package description has been translated.

The above stages of a translation cycle can further a structured cooperation among the Debian Dutch localisation team members. Nonetheless applying them rigidly to the extent that they are experienced as being a bureaucratic rigmarole and a hindrance for a real cooperation is by no means a good idea. On the contrary, they only are meant to support cooperation by making it more effective and efficient.


If you would like to start translating, you are advised to use one of the tools that are explicitly conceived to ease the accomplishment of such a task. You can choose from a wide range of tools, among others: