Localization of Firefox DevTools


For long time we (the Czech l10n team) were struggling to keep up with the DevTools strings. Partly because they are low priority, partly because there were doubts whether people want DevTools also in Czech, or kept in English.

I started a poll on Twitter yesterday afternoon, promoted it on the right places I hope, and there are already almost 100 responses, 87/13 in percents in favour of having DevTools always in English regardless the locale of the browser. I still want to see the final result at the end of this week, when it’s scheduled to end, and in the meantime I would like to ask some questions.

  • IIRC there was a chat long time ago to enable to chang localization of DevTools independently. Is that anywhere on the radar today?
  • Should I check the situation in other browsers, if that’s relevant? I opened Chromium on Linux platform, and they have DevTools in English there, not Czech. At the same time we might be a leader here, because at some point IE copied some of the terminology from Firefox, even the incorrect one.
  • @flod: If the poll unfolds with such huge difference, do you think I should remove the existing Czech localization for DevTools, possibly before the next ESR moves to beta?
  • How other locale teams approach DevTools?

Not really. DevTools has been in maintenance mode for the last 18 months, with few people working on them.

That project would depend on Firefox being completely migrated to Fluent, with additional work on top of it, and we’re still far away from that target.

Last I’ve heard, Chromium wasn’t accepting translations that the Edge team would be willing to provide. I’m not sure if Chrome’s DevTools are localized at all (definitely not in Italian).

I would not throw away years of work, especially considering that very few new strings are being added these days.

Thank you for the answers and feedback.

Since yesterday I tested Chrome and Edge on Windows 10 and both have developer tools in English, even though the browser is in Czech. The poll on Twitter reached ~300 votes and the ratio of responses changed to about 80/20. There are also comments on Twitter and elsewhere, which favour localized Firefox => localized DevTools. One interesting comment was that it’s also about choice, which is right, because there’s now no other browser that would feature developer tools localized in Czech language. I will try to get more of the qualitative feedback now.

Hi Michal, hi Francesco,

as far as I’m concerned I translate Devtools and I will keep doing that, although it’s very hard to translate the Devtools strings into such small languages like the Sorbian languages which often do not have suitable terms yet. But I think Sorbian languages should meet the requirements of our time and of the future as well. And technical terms belong to those requirements.

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As for Lithuanian case, we’re in a similar boat. Been translating DevTools for years, but the more I think about it, the more it feels like the actual usage of it might be hindered rather than improved.

It comes down to the fact that DevTools uses a lot of technical terms which are also referenced in various docs/tutorials/whatnot. However, these resources are 99% English. Now when the terms are translated to Lithuanian, even if you understood the meaning, it would be hard to search for any information as it simply does not exist in Lithuanian.

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As of today, the poll on Twitter (applies only to Czech!) is closed. From 320 votes 81 % people responded DevTools always in English. On the other hand the poll is likely biased to that answer by design, so I will be waiting to collect more qualitative feedback on this now. Comments either on Twitter on other media very 50:50, or maybe even slightly in favour the opposite way for various reason.

For other locales reading this: if you ever decide to revert the localization to English, please don’t do it from Pontoon.

  1. File a bug in your locale explaining why you decided to do it. That will help recover the content, and find the reasoning behind this decision in the future.
  2. If you have hg access, copy over the devtools folder from gecko-strings. In the commit message, reference the bug. In the bug, reference the changeset removing it. If you don’t have hg access, just use the NEEDINFO flag to ping me, and I’ll land the change for you.

From that moment, you can keep the translation up to date within Pontoon, copying over English with the COPY button (one string at a time).

Point 2 is needed to be able to revert the decision in the future, and easily recover what was translated. If you do it in Pontoon, it will be a mess to do it.