Adding a Language


If the language you want to translate has not been started by someone else already and you wish to create a set of new files for the desired language, say ‘fr’ (French), then you must first use the environment you have created, as guided in Getting Started, in particular Installing Dependencies and Building the Manual sections.

This will give you a foundation environment for:

  • Creating a new set of translation language from English source.

  • Perform make command to turn translated texts in po files into html files for testing locally.

  • Update changes in English texts which have been added by other contributors.

Below examples show the process to create a new set of files for French, language code fr, on Linux platform. Other platforms might vary slightly but should be mainly the same.

  1. Goto to create an account for yourself and become a developer/translator for the Blender organization.

  2. Login the account and create a task with todo type, addressing an administrator in the Subscribers field, requesting for a committer right in order to transfer changes to the central repository of the translation team.

  3. Open an instance of the console application, such as Gnome-Terminal emulator.

  4. Change the current working directory to the directory of blender_docs, where the instance of Makefile resides.

Trying the Make Process to Create HTML Files in English

  1. Ensure the previous instance of build directory is removed, if any exists:

    make clean
  2. Convert all the rst files into pot translation files:

    make gettext
  3. Create html files:

    make html
  4. After this, you can actually view the created html files locally following the prompted instruction, such as:

    xdg-open <path to your English manual>/blender_docs/build/html/index.html

Creating the Language Entry in the HTML Menu

  1. Create an entry for the language in the html menu by opening file ./resources/theme/js/version_switch.js (assuming you are at the blender_docs subdirectory).

  2. Find the table for the languages in var all_langs = {..};.

  3. Enter the entry: "fr": "Fran&ccedil;ais",, ("fr": "Français"). (Notice the Unicode characters.)

  4. To find out about changes in the local repository:

    svn status
  5. Enter your password:

    svn commit --username <your username> -m "your comment"
  6. Bring your local repository up to the most recent version of changes, including the one you have just done:

    svn update .

Setting the Local Configuration File

  1. Open a text editor to enter the following texts, change the language code to whatever the language you will be translating:

    1language = 'fr'
    2locale_dirs = ['locale/']
    3gettext_compact = True
  2. Save this file as in the blender_docs directory, where Makefile resides.

  3. Tells svn to ignore this file when performing operations by executing this shell command:

    svn propset svn:ignore .

Generating the Set of Files for the Target Language

  1. Check out the current translation repository using the command:

    svn checkout

    This will download all language sets available in the repository into the locale directory of your drive. You can go to the locale directory to see the hidden subdirectory .svn within it, together with directories of languages. You’ll need to add your own set of files for the language you are trying to translating to.

  2. From the blender_docs directory to generate a set of files for fr language:

    make gettext
    sphinx-intl update -p build/gettext -l fr

    These files are still in English only, with all msgstr entries blank.

  3. Submit new set of files to the central repository:

    cd locale
    svn add fr
    svn commit --username <your username> -m "Initial commit language set of files for French"
  4. You don’t need all other languages being there, so remove the locale directory for the time being:

    rm -fr locale

    We will download this new set of language as guided in the next section.


  • It is recommended you make two environment variables for these directories, in the .bashrc to make it more convenient for changing or scripting batch/shell commands for the process of translation and reviewing results:

    export BLENDER_MAN_EN=$HOME/<directory to make file directory above>/blender_docs
    export BLENDER_MAN_FR=$BLENDER_MAN_EN/locale
  • Newly generated files will contain some placeholders for authors and revision dates etc. If you find the job of replacing them repetitive, make use of the script in the subdirectory ~/blender_docs/toos_maintenance, make a copy of that to your local bin directory and replace all values that were mentioned in the file with your specific details, then after each change to a file, you would do following commands to update the file with your personal details, revision date and time, plus generating the html files for your language, which you can view using your Internet browser:

    make -d --trace -w -B -e SPHINXOPTS="-D language='fr'" 2>&1