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Core GIT Translations

This directory holds the translations for the core of Git. This
document describes how to add to and maintain these translations, and
how to mark source strings for translation.

Generating a .pot file

The po/git.pot file contains a message catalog extracted from Git's
sources. You need to generate it to add new translations with
msginit(1), or update existing ones with msgmerge(1).

Since the file can be automatically generated it's not checked into
git.git. To generate it do, at the top-level:

    make pot

Initializing a .po file

To add a new translation first generate git.pot (see above) and then
in the po/ directory do:

    msginit --locale=XX

Where XX is your locale, e.g. "is", "de" or "pt_BR".

Then edit the automatically generated copyright info in your new XX.po
to be correct, e.g. for Icelandic:

    @@ -1,6 +1,6 @@
    -# Icelandic translations for PACKAGE package.
    -# Copyright (C) 2010 THE PACKAGE'S COPYRIGHT HOLDER
    -# This file is distributed under the same license as the PACKAGE package.
    +# Icelandic translations for Git.
    +# Copyright (C) 2010 Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason <>
    +# This file is distributed under the same license as the Git package.
     # Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason <>, 2010.

And change references to PACKAGE VERSION in the PO Header Entry to
just "Git":

    perl -pi -e 's/(?<="Project-Id-Version: )PACKAGE VERSION/Git/' XX.po

Updating a .po file

If there's an existing *.po file for your language but you need to
update the translation you first need to generate git.pot (see above)
and then in the po/ directory do:

    msgmerge --add-location --backup=off -U XX.po git.pot

Where XX.po is the file you want to update.

Testing your changes

Before you submit your changes go back to the top-level and do:


On systems with GNU gettext (i.e. not Solaris) this will compile your
changed PO file with `msgfmt --check`, the --check option flags many
common errors, e.g. missing printf format strings, or translated
messages that deviate from the originals in whether they begin/end
with a newline or not.

Marking strings for translation

Before strings can be translated they first have to be marked for

Git uses an internationalization interface that wraps the system's
gettext library, so most of the advice in your gettext documentation
(on GNU systems `info gettext` in a terminal) applies.

General advice:

 - Don't mark everything for translation, only strings which will be
   read by humans (the porcelain interface) should be translated.

   The output from Git's plumbing utilities will primarily be read by
   programs and would break scripts under non-C locales if it was
   translated. Plumbing strings should not be translated, since
   they're part of Git's API.

 - Adjust the strings so that they're easy to translate. Most of the
   advice in `info '(gettext)Preparing Strings'` applies here.

 - If something is unclear or ambiguous you can use a "TRANSLATORS"
   comment to tell the translators what to make of it. These will be
   extracted by xgettext(1) and put in the po/*.po files, e.g. from

       # TRANSLATORS: Make sure to include [y], [n], [e], [v] and [a]
       # in your translation. The program will only accept English
       # input at this point.
       gettext "Apply? [y]es/[n]o/[e]dit/[v]iew patch/[a]ccept all "

   Or in C, from builtin/revert.c:

       /* TRANSLATORS: %s will be "revert" or "cherry-pick" */
       die(_("%s: Unable to write new index file"), action_name(opts));

We provide wrappers for C, Shell and Perl programs. Here's how they're


 - Include builtin.h at the top, it'll pull in in gettext.h, which
   defines the gettext interface. Consult with the list if you need to
   use gettext.h directly.

 - The C interface is a subset of the normal GNU gettext
   interface. We currently export these functions:

   - _()

    Mark and translate a string. E.g.:

        printf(_("HEAD is now at %s"), hex);

   - Q_()

    Mark and translate a plural string. E.g.:

        printf(Q_("%d commit", "%d commits", number_of_commits));

    This is just a wrapper for the ngettext() function.

   - N_()

    A no-op pass-through macro for marking strings inside static
    initializations, e.g.:

        static const char *reset_type_names[] = {
            N_("mixed"), N_("soft"), N_("hard"), N_("merge"), N_("keep"), NULL

    And then, later:

        die(_("%s reset is not allowed in a bare repository"),

    Here _() couldn't have statically determined what the translation
    string will be, but since it was already marked for translation
    with N_() the look-up in the message catalog will succeed.


 - The Git gettext shell interface is just a wrapper for Import it right after git-sh-setup like this:

       . git-sh-setup
       . git-sh-i18n

   And then use the gettext or eval_gettext functions:

       # For constant interface messages:
       gettext "A message for the user"; echo

       # To interpolate variables:
       details="oh noes"
       eval_gettext "An error occured: \$details"; echo

   In addition we have wrappers for messages that end with a trailing
   newline. I.e. you could write the above as:

       # For constant interface messages:
       gettextln "A message for the user"

       # To interpolate variables:
       details="oh noes"
       eval_gettextln "An error occured: \$details"

   More documentation about the interface is available in the GNU info
   page: `info '(gettext)sh'`. Looking at (the first shell
   command to be translated) for examples is also useful:

       git log --reverse -p --grep=i18n


 - The Git::I18N module provides a limited subset of the
   Locale::Messages functionality, e.g.:

       use Git::I18N;
       print __("Welcome to Git!\n");
       printf __("The following error occured: %s\n"), $error;

   Run `perldoc perl/Git/` for more info.

Testing marked strings

Even if you've correctly marked porcelain strings for translation
something in the test suite might still depend on the US English
version of the strings, e.g. to grep some error message or other

To smoke out issues like these Git can be compiled with gettext poison
support, at the top-level:

    make GETTEXT_POISON=YesPlease

That'll give you a git which emits gibberish on every call to
gettext. It's obviously not meant to be installed, but you should run
the test suite with it:

    cd t && prove -j 9 ./t[0-9]*.sh

If tests break with it you should inspect them manually and see if
what you're translating is sane, i.e. that you're not translating
plumbing output.

If not you should replace calls to grep with test_i18ngrep, or
test_cmp calls with test_i18ncmp. If that's not enough you can skip
the whole test by making it depend on the C_LOCALE_OUTPUT
prerequisite. See existing test files with this prerequisite for
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