Translating the Wiki

Understanding what we do

Before starting a translation in a completely new language, you need to have a full understanding of what we do. If you're an Agora Speakers member and have attended or seen how our clubs work, then you already know enough. If now, however, please have a look first at the following two presentations for a thorough understanding of what we do:

If at any point there are any questions, ask us at info at agoraspeakers.org

Guiding Principles

1. No "teaching" nor "teachers". All the people participating in Agora Speakers are volunteers. There are no teachers or experts in a club meeting. The meetings are practice meetings and not seminars nor lessons. As such, there cannot be any imperative language of the sort "you MUST do this" or similar unless you're translating an example of what not to do. Also, there can't be any language implying that some person is "teaching" others during a meeting. "Evaluation", for example, should not be translated as a formal scoring, but merely as an opinion that a member gives on someone else's performance.

2. Colloquial language. Language must be polite at all times, yet colloquial, simple, and easy to read. A person with a medium cultural level (high school) should be able to understand it.

3. Consistent style. Keep a consistent style throughout the whole material.

4. Preservation of structure and style. Document structure and paragraphs must be preserved (i.e.: one paragraph must be translated as one paragraph). Have in mind that the text in the wiki is used by some automated tools to generate presentations, banners, and even the Agora eBooks. Therefore it's imperative that you don't modify any existing structures or formatting styles.

5.Gender-neutral, within reason. Use gender-neutral terminology as long as it is:

    1) natural to the target language  AND

    2) preexisting and mainstream, AND

    3) not overboard AND

    4) doesn't make the text hard to read.

Do not fill the text with "his/her" or equivalents for the sake of political correctness. And definitely, do not use novelty or artificially introduced pronouns or similar.

6. Localization of names. All names and geographical references used in the examples must be localized.  For example, in the following paragraph

"Today the timing was great, we only have one big offender.

Carlos, our Grammarian, used 1:20 minutes when explaining the role and 2:30 minutes in his report. Well done, Carlos. Peter used 3:30 for his Book of the Day, and he was a millisecond away from being kicked out of the stage, as the allotted time was only 3 minutes. (… continue for each of the participants)."

you should replace Carlos and Peter with local equivalents. There are no "protagonists" in the Guide, meaning that most examples like the above one are self-contained and independent of each other, so it's fine if in one example Peter is replaced by Pedro and in a different one by Joao.

It's more important to have something that makes sense locally than to preserve the exact original text. You can replace cultural references or similar with more appropriate ones.

7. Agora is never translated. The names "Agora", "Agora Speakers" and  "Agora Speakers International" are never translated. For languages in which diacritics indicate the accent of the word (such as Spanish), Agora may be accentuated only when it appears alone, but not when it appears with "Agora Speakers" or "Agora Speakers International". (i.e.: Ágora is correct, Ágora Speakers International is not)

8. Club officers. The club officer roles ("Vice President, Education") are translated, but not their abbreviations must appear both in the translated and untranslated form ("VPE").

9. Captions and links. If you translate a page, the image footers, table captions, and link texts must also be translated.

10.URLs. URL links need not be translated, leave them as they are.

11.Capitalization. Unless there are specific grammatical rules regarding capitalization (such as in German, where all nouns are capitalized), capitalization must be preserved as it is in the source text.

12.Encoding. All files must always be encoded as UTF-8

12. Translation of Localization Strings. Some of the translations will be performed in text files that have the following structure:


for example:

system.error=Something didn't go as expected. Please retry the operation. If it keeps failing, drop us a note at info at agoraspeakers.org

In these cases:

  • Leave what's to the left of the equal sign (=) unchanged
  • Translate only what's to the right of the equal sign.
  • Keep the translation on one line (do not hit ENTER to break it)
  • Keep the file format as UTF-8
  • Make sure you translate using a plain-text editor that doesn't insert any kind of formatting or control characters.



IP rights

If you want to participate in the translation of the Wiki, you need to agree to the IP Transfer Agreement indicated here.


Starting a Translation in a different language

If you want to participate in the translation project of the Wiki, you first need to ask for a user with editing privileges. Due to the less-than-ideal antispam measures of the software we're using, we had to disable user registration, so please drop us a note at info@agoraspeakers.org.

Please note that, although this is a wiki, we don't function like Wikipedia in the sense that any entry can be expanded independently of the others. There's one main set of entries (in English) that are considered a baseline, and all the remaining languages are synchronized with the English one. This means that, if you want to add a clarification, or an enhanced explanation, or a picture to a specific language page, it must first be added to the English one.

Terminology Table

Once you've got a clear view of what we do, the next step is to read all the material to be translated once, with the guiding principles in mind, possibly making annotations for the translation.

Before proceeding with the translation, you need to create a terminology table to ensure the consistency of all the documents.


Click here to access the Terminology Table.

Create a translation for the terminology page, as if it was any other page, and using the system explained below, but don't modify any texts and instead fill in the last column. Your result should be something like this terminology table for Chinese.


Translating a Page

Most of the texts that need translation will be directly referenced from the main site map. To translate any page, first go to its version in the language you want to translate from. For example, if you find it easier to translate from English to the target language, go to the English version of the page. But if you're translating from Brazilian Portuguese to Portuguese, you might find it easier to navigate to the Brazilian Portuguese version of the page, and then do the translation from there.

For example, if you click on "Welcome to Agora Speakers International" from the landing page, you'll arrive at this page:

Translation 000


To begin translating, click on the small language icon just above the title:




Once the drop down menu appears, click "Translate". The following menu will appear. In the area "Translate this page to a new language", select the language to which you're translating, enter the translated page title and click "Create Translation".  If the language to which you want to translate doesn’t appear in the scroll box, it is because there is already a translated version of this page, in which case you need to edit the existing translation instead of creating a new one. Please proceed as indicated below (“Finishing or Editing a page translation”)


Translation 01


For example, if you were translating the page to Portuguese, this is how this area would look:

IMPORTANT: Currently the wiki software cannot have two pages with the same title, even if they belong to different languages. Since our page titles are short, there is a chance that a translated title in one language matches the translation of that title in a different language. To avoid this, always add the language code in parenthesis after the title. For example, if you're translating "Welcome to Agora Speakers International" to the Brazilian variant of Portuguese, the title would be "Bem-vindo à Agora Speakers International (pt-br)". If you're translating to Portuguese, it would be "Bem-vindo à Agora Speakers International (pt)", etc.


Translation 13

Once you click on the "Create Translation" button, the system will show something like:

Translation 03


Scroll down in this page and you'll see an editing box where the text of the original (English) page has been copied:

Translation 04


You can translate the text in this edit box. Please do not alter any styles or formatting.


IMPORTANT: Please translate the text within the editor, instead of translating it somewhere else and then copying and pasting it into the editor. If you do so (for example, if you copy and paste from a Word document), you'll be introducing a lot of garbage markup that is invisible, unprocessable and messes with the tools that process the wiki to generate the different eBooks. If you do need to paste from an editing software into the wiki, paste first into a plain text editor (such as Notepad++, for example), and then from that text editor into the wiki.


Translation 05


When you want to save what you've done up to this point, use the "Complete Translation" button:


Translation 06


Use this button even if the translation is not yet complete.

Remember that if something goes wrong, you can always use CTRL-Z to undo an action, or simply cancel the edits and start anew.


Translating Image Footers


Sometimes inside the pages you will see images that contain footers with text:


Translation 07


These need to be translated as well. To do that, double click on the image, and then translate the text in the "Caption" field (and copy and paste the translation into the "Alternate Text" field):


Translation 08


Translating Links

To translate a link and possibly link to a translated page of the target, select the link you want to translate with the mouse, and click on the "Link" button in the Edit toolbar:


Translation 12


The link properties will appear, where you can change the text of the link and point to the translated equivalent of the original wiki page:


Translationa 13



Images or Diagrams with embedded text


Sometimes, an image will have text on it, such as:


Translation 09


In this case, there are two possibilities.

  • At the bottom of the page, you'll see a section for translators with the source image files (usually Photoshop or Powerpoint). With them, you can edit the text and create a new image with the translation.
  • If you don't have access to the software used to create a translation, you can also send us a note to info at agoraspeakers.org with the translated words and we'll create a translated image with them. Please also send us the link to the wiki page where the image is present.

Finishing or Editing a Translation

If you saved a partially-translated page, or if you want to make changes to a page, navigate again to it, and then from the language icon, select the language on which you're working:


Translation 10


The (possibly partially) translated page will appear. Then, click on the down arrow button and select "Edit":


Translation 11


The Edit box will appear, where you can make changes or finish the translation. After that, click on "Save". You can repeat this procedure as many times as needed.

Contributors to this page: agora and admin .
Page last modified on Monday June 22, 2020 11:50:18 CEST by agora.