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Translate Toolkit

The Translate Toolkit is a set of software and documentation designed to help make the lives of localizers both more productive and less frustrating. The Toolkit is part of the project, hosted at <>.

The software includes programs to covert localization formats to the common PO, and emerging XLIFF format. There are also programs to check and manage PO and XLIFF files. Online documentation includes guides on using the tools, running a localization project and how to localize various projects from to Mozilla.

At its core the software contains a set of classes for handling various localization storage formats: DTD, properties, GSI/SDF, CSV, MO, Qt .ts, TMX, TBX, WordFast txt, Gettext .mo, Windows RC, and of course PO and XLIFF. It also provides scripts to convert between these formats.

Also part of the Toolkit are Python programs to create word counts, merge translations and perform various checks on translation files.


The latest version of the Translate Toolkit can be downloaded from: <>.

The latest documentation is always available at <>. Documentation is also included in the doc directory.


The Translate Toolkit is developed and Copyright:

Zuza Software Foundation (, and
St James Software

and is released under the GPL license.

The Translate Toolkit Documentation is Copyright:

Dwayne Bailey
Javier SOLA
David Fraser
Friedel Wolff
and others

and is released under the GPL.

Where useful emails have been quoted we have attempted to preserve the authors name and assume that their work may be republished.

Joining the Translate Project

If you would like to join the translate project mailing list then visit: <>.

The vision of the Translate Project is to be a meta project for localizers built on the premise that your language deserves to be a project on its own right not a poor cousin of the main project.

Most projects are inattentive to the needs and difficulties experienced by localizers. To that end the aim is to work towards creating tools and documentation that allows localizers to focus on what they do best: translating software.


Python 2.4 or later is recommended.

The Toolkit mostly still works using Python 2.3 but is now most extensively tested using Python 2.4. If you experience any errors and are using Python 2.2 or 2.3, please first check that the error also occurs in 2.4 or 2.5 before reporting it as a bug.

The package lxml is needed for XML file processing. Version 1.3.4 and upwards should work, but lxml 2.1.0 or later is strongly recommended. <> Depending on your platform, the easiest way to install might be through your system's package management. Alternatively you can try

easy_install lxml

which should install the newest version from the web. See the easy_install documentation for more details on how to force installation of a certain version, or to specify upgrade options, etc.

For Mac OSX, the following pages might be of help: <> <>

The package lxml has dependencies on libxml2 and libxslt. Please check the lxml site for the recommended versions of these libraries if you need to install them separately at all. Most packaged versions of lxml will already contain these dependencies.

Python 2.5 includes pysqlite, but pysqlite2 needs to be installed if you are using an older version of Python. <>

When the environment variable USECPO is set to 1, the toolkit will attempt to use libgettextpo from the gettext-tools package (it might have a slightly different name on your distribution). This can greatly speed up access to PO files, but has not yet been tested as extensively. Feedback is most welcome.

Psyco can help to speed up several of the programs in the toolkit. It is optional, but highly recommended. <>

The python wrapper to htmltidy is needed for po2html.

The package iniparse is necessary for ini2po and po2ini.

The python-Levenshtein package will improve performance for fuzzy matching if it is available. This can improve the performance of pot2po, for example. It is optional and no functionality is lost if it is not installed, only speed. <>

Functions in the module can supply functions to translate language names using the iso-codes package. It can even translate names in the format Language (Country) such as English (South Africa) This is used by Pootle and Virtaal. If the package is not installed, the language names will simply appear in English. It is therefore recommended you install the iso-codes package for your distribution, but it is optional. Alternatively, it is also available from

The package vobject is needed for ical2po and po2ical. Versions from 0.6.0 have been tested, 0.6.5 is required to fix an issue related to Lotus Notes calendars. <>

The aeidon package (or gaupol if aeidon is not available) is needed for sub2po and po2sub. Some Unicode encoded files (including most files from <>) require version 0.14 or later. <> Gaupol might need the 'Universal Encoding Detector' <>

Trados TXT TM support requires the BeautifulSoup parser <>

The programs have been tested on Linux and Windows.


To install the Translate Toolkit

  • Windows

    Double click on translate-toolkit-N.N-setup.exe (the larger download file). This installer contains all dependencies you will need, including Python. To use any of the command line tools, just type their name in a command window. For example:

    moz2po --version

    Alternatively you can install the smaller translate-toolkit-N.N.N.win32.exe This needs an existing Python installation, and assumes you will install all the dependencies yourself. You will probably need to edit your PATH environment variable to be able to use the tools in any command window.

  • Linux

    tar xzf translate-N.N.tar.gz
    cd translate-N.N
    su -c ./ install

    If you get an error along the lines of

    Unable to open /usr/lib/python2.N/config/Makefile (no such file or directory)

    while running, you need to install python-dev or libpython2.N-devel package. Try to install python2.N-dev or libpython2.N-devel or something similar with your distribution's package manager.


We think there might be some :)

Please send your bug reports to: translate-devel at or report them at our bugzilla server at <>

Some help in writing useful bug reports are mentioned here: <>


Please read our documentation online at <>. There they are constantly being updated. Please feel free to contribute new sections and suggest corrections.

Most tools support the options --help and --manpage of which the output is automatically generated. The output of --manpage produces output suitable for formatting as a standard manpage. This can be viewed on UNIX platforms with

nroff -Tutf8 -mandoc

With pot2po as example:

pot2po --manpage | nroff -Tutf8 -mandoc | less

This is probably most useful for packagers to help them generate manual pages for the packaged versions.

Program overview

Use --help to find the syntax and options for all programs.

  • Converters:

    oo2po    - convert between GSI files and PO
    oo2xliff - convert between GSI files and XLIFF
    moz2po   - convert from a Mozilla XPI file and PO.  Including
               unpacking and building a translated XPI.
    csv2po   - convert PO format to CSV for editing in a spreadsheet program
    php2po   - PHP localisable string arrays converter.
    ts2po    - convert Qt Linguist (.ts) files to PO
    txt2po   - convert simple text files to PO
    html2po  - convert HTML to PO (beta)
    xliff2po - XLIFF (XML Localisation Interchange File Format) converter
    prop2po  - convert Java .properties files to PO
    po2wordfast - Wordfast Translation Memory converter
    po2tmx   - TMX (Translation Memory Exchange) converter
    pot2po   - PO file initialiser
    csv2tbx  - Create TBX (TermBase eXchange) files from Comma Separated
               Value (CSV) files
    ini2po   - convert .ini files to to PO
    ical2po  - Convert iCalendar files (*.ics) to PO
    sub2po   - Convert many subtitle files to PO
  • Tools (Quality Assurance):

    pofilter - run any of the 40+ checks on your PO files
    pomerge  - merge corrected translations from pofilter back into
               your existing PO files.
    poconflicts - identify conflicting use of terms
    porestructure - restructures po files according to poconflict directives
    pogrep   - find words in PO files
  • Tools (Other):

    pocompile - create a Gettext MO files from PO or XLIFF files
    pocount   - count translatable file formats (PO, XLIFF)
    podebug   - Create comment in your PO files' msgstr which can
                then be used to quickly track down mistranslations
                as the comments appear in the application.
    posegment - Break a PO or XLIFF files into sentence segments,
                useful for creating a segmented translation memory.
    poswap    - uses a translation of another language that you
                would rather use than English as source language
    poterminology - analyse PO or POT files to build a list of
                    frequently occurring words and phrases