A year ago, I started to work with the Symfony documentation French translation team.
At this time, I was actually not imagining that it would take so long to get all that work done.. In case you don't know, as of today, the Symfony documentation team already wrote more than 300 documents! Counting 1 to 4 hours to translate one doc plus the time to review it, you get an idea of the overall workload!
But anyway, it's done: the Symfony documentation French translation is finally live on symfony.com!!!
The main reasons behind my choice to join this project were the following:
1/ Get more involved in the symfony community and in an open-source project in general
I chose Symfony2 as an entry point in the open source world because I like to use Symfony2 a lot for my personal projects and also because at Liip, we are working with it since its first release.
Another motivation source was the fact that I always found someone (or some documentation) from the community to help me out while I was needing it, so my goal was to give that help back somehow.
Moreover, Liip is supporting open source projects – and even more the ones we're using internally – by offering employees the possibility to work on them during working hours!
That was a great opportunity for me so I asked for some time in order to push forward our work earlier this year. I was lucky to get a 6 man days allowance that I consumed actually very fast. The timing was great because it gave me more time when I was starting to lack of personal time to work on the translations.
2/ Getting wider and more detailed knowledge about Symfony2
This is one point people don't think about when you tell them you are doing translation work. Indeed, as you need to read and translate every word of every sentence of every document, you are learning a lot of things while going through every documentation pages! I was actually surprised that some part of the framework such as the DI (for “Dependency Injection”) component were so well documented.
Also, the good part in this work is that you get to know all the latest features and changes thanks to documentation updates.
This second point was one of my main incentive to keep the will to do translations after months: always learn more and more.
3/ Helping French speaking people (with little or no English language knowledge) to get into Symfony2
Last but not least, as mentioned in 1/, I wanted to give the community something back with these translations.
So I thought that a good way to help could be to enable people without good English knowledge (or no knowledge at all) to learn the Symfony2 framework, and hopefully to appreciate it as much as I do.
I really wish that at least some person find it useful to dive into the Symfony2 framework.
4/ Improve my english (and my french as well…)
As English isn't my mother tongue, I think I will always have something to learn about it (in French too actually…).
That wasn't an initial incentive as I was thinking my technical english wasn't so bad but reading English written by native people taught me some more grammar and orthograph I wasn't aware of.
When I think about it, I also had to look back into my French grammar favorite websites too. Indeed, talking and writting the whole day long in english at work showed me that you can easily forget some rules (when not mixing them between languages)!
Looking at the point we have reached today, we see that we have come a long way until the “go-live” last saturday.
I must admit that sometimes, I was lacking motivation seeing no one replying to tweets talking about the work in progress… I was wondering if the effort would be worthy.
But three days ago, when Greg (@gregquat) announced on Twitter that we were done (or better to say “in sync/up to date” with the symfony-docs english master repo), I was amazed to see how many retweets and replies we got in the following minutes.
That was very rewarding and rose our “motivation level” more than ever. And that won't be too much as this kind work is a never ending task: existing documents get improved (or completely rewritten from A to Z: the translator's worst nightmare) and new ones get added.
In case you are still hesitating to join or start a Symfony translation team, I hope I gave you enough reasons to go for this challenge ;-). Don't forget that you need to be really motivated, but it will be rewarding for you and the community! That's really a worthy endeavour!
If you are interested in the French team, go and read the dedicated wiki page or contact me (@skeud) or Greg (@gregquat) if you have any questions.