Translating the Gramps User manual

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We explain how you can translate the GRAMPS manual, as offered here in html and pdf format. This manual is also available from withing GRAMPS with the F1 key, or from the help menu.

Getting started

Translating GRAMPS' documentation into a new language is a long, tedious, and boring process, just like with any complex text :-) However, the good news is that since version 2.2 the translations for our user manual are maintained using po files, just like with translating the UI strings. Technically, this amounts to three simple steps:

  1. obtaining the text to be translated,
  2. translating the text, and
  3. getting the translated file uploaded into gramps SVN repository.

Obtaining the text

  • Obtain the source tree, either from GRAMPS SVN repository (see Brief introduction to SVN, or from the released source tarball on sourceforge.
  • Under help directory, there is a file named gramps.pot. Copy it to help/zz/zz.po (where zz is your language code).


With the po file ready, you can start translating.

  • Use any editor or a po-file tool like GTtranslator or KBabel to translate strings in the po-file
  • Figures: localized screenshots are nice in the localized manual
    • If you can provide figures on your own this is great. Place them in the directory help/zz/figures (zz is your language code). Bear in mind that screenshots have to be indexed PNGs, not more than 510 pixels wide, in order to satisfy the GNOME Documentation Style Guide.
    • For screenshot: also make sure the print size fits on an A4/USletter printout in pdf. You can check this with GIMP in View Menu --> Info window
    • A command to take screenshots that works for me, is by using imagemagick (should be installed with every linux distribution, if not, get it):
      import -quality 100 -trim -delay 200 -resize 500 -density 100x100 -frame -channel RGB -depth 8 screenshot.png 
      This creates a fully compressed (-quality 100), trimed screenshot after 2 seconds (-delay 200) of size 500 pixels wide (-resize 500), with resolution 100 (-density 100x100), with the window frame attached (-frame) in RGB mode (-channel RGB) and bbp 24 (-depth 8, for some reason on my machine depth 8 corresponds with bbp 24 and not 8). This creates images of 5 inches wide, which fit nicely on a book page, as well as on a html page.
    • If it's too much trouble for you, just let us know and perhaps somebody else will do it for you. Fortunately, one does not have to speak the language to make screenshots :-)

Uploading you work into gramps SVN

All the files you have translated will need to be checked into GRAMPS SVN repository, under the help/zz directory. Also, certain makefiles will need to be modified to enable proper building and installation of your manual translation. Check your work into SVN if you have the permissions (add new files as necessary and modify Makefiles, if you know what to do) or oterwise, email it to Alex Roitman.

  • To quickly test your translation once the makefiles are updated to include your language, build the translated manual from the po file by running in the top-level source directory make and call up your manual with the gnome help browser:
    yelp help/xx/gramps.xml

Making a html or pdf manual

See Manual Generation. You need not do this, somebody of the developer team will generate the official manual and upload to the gramps-project website on User_manual. If you feel however that the version on the website is too old, mail the devel list, asking to upload a new version.

If you see strange things on the official version, generate the manual yourself locally as indicated in Manual Generation, and see if you can improve on the methodology.