Are you new to localization or interested in contributing to Mozilla, and want to find out how to get involved? You are in the right place!

What is localization?

Localization, or l10n for short, is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or region. Translation — converting text from one language to another — is only one of several elements in the localization process.

Localization involves adapting every aspect of your content to fit your target. For example:

  • Adapting graphics and content to a specific market or local sensibility.
  • Adapt currency, locale dates, addresses.
  • Adapting layout (e.g. think about Right-To-Left languages, or languages using a different script)
  • Comply with legal requirements or local regulations.

You will also find references to locales instead of languages. Think for example about Spanish: there’s one language, Spanish, but at Mozilla we support 4 different regional variants of Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Chile). Besides obvious differences, like the default currency, they may have different expressions or sayings.

How does localization work at Mozilla?

Here at Mozilla, we work with volunteers to localize all our products. Unless there are specific limitations imposed by the platform, as it happens for example on iOS, each community can choose with projects to work on.

There are staff members at Mozilla – sometimes called L10n Team or l10n-drivers — that coordinate the localization effort of the volunteers. These volunteers utilize our internal platform, called Pontoon, to translate products.

For each locale there is a community of volunteers, and we typically refer to them as localizers.

How to become a Mozilla localizer

That’s easy: to access Pontoon, you need a Mozilla account and can start contributing right away. Here you can find some basic documentation on how to use Pontoon.

As a brand new contributor, you will only be able to provide suggestions. A translator or locale manager in your community will need to review your work before it can ship in the final product. You can find more information about roles in this page.

If you don’t find the locale you’re interested in within Pontoon, you might need to start a new community.

How to get in touch

Do you have more questions, or are you running into issues? Get answers from other localizers and the Mozilla Localization team via Matrix or Discourse, where you can also read announcements related to the latest updates.