Update on defining roles in localization communities project

Hey everyone,

A few weeks ago we conducted a pilot survey with a diverse set of localizers in various roles to know more about the expectations around localization roles. At the same time the l10n-drivers staff also did a similar internal exercise to share their perception of the responsibilities and expectations unique to each of these roles.

Once we received data from both community and l10n-drivers, we created a perceived priority point system. Items voted as top priority received 2 points, medium priority received 1 point, and low priority received 0 points. Points were weighed equally between community opinion and l10n-drivers opinion, meaning that items could receive a maximum of 4 points (2 from community, 2 from l10n-drivers) and a minimum of 0. The result of all this work is a merged opinion about localization roles responsibilities and expectations.

Important: This is just a proposal for discussion and we know the initial survey doesn’t represent all localizers, we wanted to have a first take to be able to present an initial draft and start a conversation about it.

Note Responsibilities are defined as what you commit to by accepting the role and expectations are defined as how you carry yourself in the role.


  • Establish mentorship practices for new localizers that foster growth and lead to impactful participation.
  • Identify and train community mentors in their role.
  • Coordinate translation and l10n testing of projects within the l10n community.
  • Evaluate candidates for increased roles within the community.
  • Coordinate and facilitate internal community discussions.
  • Create and maintain language resources for the community (e.g., terminology, style guides, etc.)


  • Open and frequent communication (liaison between l10n-drivers and l10n community) concerning new projects, new deadlines, and community issues.
  • Create and secure a safe space for people to participate in l10n in an impactful way.
  • Recruit and mentor new localizers.
  • Give timely feedback to community mentors and translators.


  • Submit translations for new source language content.
  • Review pending translation suggestions from contributors and provide them with timely feedback that focuses on developing skills.
  • In-context l10n testing of all submitted translations.
  • Work with managers to create and maintain language resources for the community.
  • File bugs concerning source language content issues.


  • Ensure consistent quality of the project they’re localizing.
  • Give detailed feedback to contributors in a timely manner.
  • Translate new content regularly.
  • Ensure that community style guidelines are being kept in translations that make it to the repositories.
  • Keep pending translation suggestion queue to a low number.
  • Gracefully accept feedback on their translations from other translators and managers.


  • Submit translation suggestions to Pontoon projects for the target language.
  • Request and accept feedback from Translators and Managers in the community.
  • In-context review (l10n testing) of translation suggestions that have been approved by Translators and Managers.


  • Gracefully accept feedback on their translations from Translators and Managers.
  • Avoid using machine translation.
  • Proactively request feedback from Translators and Managers.
  • Doesn’t take shortcuts to increasing leaderboard standings.
  • Network and form relationships with others in the community.

Please, share with us here:
How do you feel about this proposal?
Which points do you feel more important?
Are we missing anything?

We will keep this conversation open until 4 May, after that we will gather all feedback and include it in a final version.

Thanks for your opinion!



Hi Jeff.

Thank you for sharing the current proposal. I like the idea of defining the roles in the l10n teams, if it won’t be mandatory to follow the scheme strictly. Here are my notes to the proposal, that I think may or may not apply per-team.


  • Evaluate candidates for increased roles within the community.

The manager role as described can be actually someone who’s not translating regularly and with less insight into the actually quality of translations from individual contributors. I think in such cases the candidates for a “promotion” to the translator role need to be evaluated or advised also by the existing translators, who have actually reviewed the contributions.


  • Review pending translation suggestions from contributors and provide them with timely feedback that focuses on developing skills.
  • In-context l10n testing of all submitted translations.

I think one of the responsibilities of a translator should also be to review/validate/test not just projects they translate, but also other projects they are not regularly involved in (do not submit translations). E.g. if Alice (translating Firefox) goes through and tests AMO (translated by BOB) once a month, she can find some inconsistencies between how she and Bob talk to users or translate common phrases.


Can we have a few points about l10n-drivers too? :slight_smile: I believe it can help ensure shared expectations, but also to validate, that the role of managers is well defined with respect to their communication with the drivers.



This is true (and sort of intentional). One of the problems we’re trying to solve is that many localizers become managers because they’re the most active translators in their community, which often places people in a role they either don’t want to be in or don’t have the skill set to succeed in. We’ve learned through these mistakes that managers don’t necessarily need to be the most active translator, but they do need to have the skills to establish good practices within their community and ensure the community environment remains collaborative and open.

We intentionally don’t describe how candidates for increased roles should be performed. I think in many cases where managers are the most active translators, they’ll be able to make these decisions on their own. I think in other communities, it will fall on them to consult with the translators in the community. I agree that perhaps that part should be more explicit. Maybe instead something like, “With input from translators, evaluate candidates for increased roles within the community.”

I couldn’t agree more and I see how the way this is phrased gives that impression. I can’t think of the right phrasing off the top of my head right now, but I’m noting that it needs to be revised.

I’m very interested in this idea. Could to describe what you might expect to see in such a list? L10n-driver responsibilities and expectations are multifaceted, being that in addition to being accountable to the community, we’re accountable to director-level and above leadership as well as the many teams throughout the organization that we support through localization. I assume that this list would encompass how we’re accountable to the community alone?


I see the problem you have outlined. I thing a similar formulation will help. Either with input from translators or more generally with input from other members of the community?

You hit the nail on its head, that’s exactly what I have in mind. To define all the community roles plus the community management level with regard to the interaction with the community. The “above” responsibilities to their managers is up to the MoFo/MoCo processes to define.

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Hello Jeff,

I wonder how will this program reflect on the small communities with less than 5 people for example? Will they be somehow excluded from larger l10n plans or affected in bad way on some other ways?

Beside that, it is interesting idea for roles but I agree that those roles would be mostly based community memebers agreement who should be manager,translator, etc.

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These descriptions are meant to be independent of community size. Since they reflect the roles in Pontoon, I expect that every community, large and small, will have people contributing within the scope of these roles. If anything, smaller communities will likely assume responsibilities across a few roles (i.e., wear multiple hats), but that’s currently the case anyway.

I see the risk of this having a negative impact on smaller communities to be low. This is really about making existing role descriptions explicit to help everyone understand what’s expected of one another. None of these items should really be all that surprising or different from how many people are already operating.

Agreed. I believe that the l10n-drivers are really only qualified to make those types of decisions on very rare occasions (e.g., CPG violations, technical proficiency issues, etc.). Primarily, the l10n-drivers can be relied on to help frame those conversations within the community, if that’s necessary.

I agree with all the points. I just wish if we could include how do we define/differentiate Contributors from Translators, as both are technically “contributors” to the project. Will it based on how actively one participates in the translation process?

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Thanks Bob. Yes, historically at Mozilla we’ve referred to anyone who makes a contribution to Mozilla as a “contributor.” I don’t expect that will change. However, within the l10n context, “contributors” are people whose translations require approval before they’re pushed to repositories. “Translators” are people whose translations can be committed directly to the repositories. That’s the primary differentiator. Does that help?

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Got that. Thank you very much, Jeff!

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@gueroJeff have you summarized the final proposal somewhere? The roles list on https://mozilla-l10n.github.io/localizer-documentation/community/l10n_community_roles.html seems a little outdated to me, respectively not covering L10n drivers and other stuff mentioned in this discussion.

@mstanke To my knowledge, the only thing not contained within there is the l10n-driver roles. What more is missing? This is where the issue to add l10n-driver descriptions can be found: https://github.com/mozilla-l10n/localizer-documentation/issues/125

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