Aegis Localization

The error messages in Aegis have been internationalized. This means that you can read error messages in your native language, if a translation has been provided. (Also known as localization.) The following table lists the available translations, and gives credit to the volunteer translators who generously donated their time to perform the translation.

The Translation project

The Translation Project is meant as a service to both package maintainers and translators. The advantage for maintainers is that they need to announce a new POT file to just one address and can fetch the translated PO files from just one place, instead of having to deal with several translators separately. For translators the advantages are similar: they receive the POT file announcements and pre-merged PO files from a single place and send in their PO files via a single mechanism, instead of having to deal in different ways with several maintainers separately.

At the Translation Project translators are grouped into language teams (rather than package teams) because, in general, translation issues are more specific to a human language than to a particular package. It is good for translators of the same language to get together, check each other's work, and discuss any problematic translation issues. This also increases the chances that all packages at the Translation Project get translated in a similar manner, using the same conventions and a consistent vocabulary. Lone translators tend to find their own ways and words, making your package stand out as strange.

If you are able to translate the Aegis error messages into another language, please join the appropriae language team at the Translation Project.


Aegis has an English error message translation. This is because the error messages (the msgid fields) are rather cryptic and usually short. Think of this is programmer-speak. The English (en) translates the programmer-speak error messages to English.

If you are translating the error messages, please translate the English msgstr fields. Please do not start with a blank .pot file and translate the msgid fields, you will quickly discover you do not have enough information available to translate the messages properly. The English translation also contains extensive comments for each error message, giving context and substitution information.

Instructions for Translators

If you would like to translate the Aegis error messages, look up the two-letter abbreviation of the language you are going to translate the error messages to. The rest of these instructions will call it xx.

In the source tarball, you will see a directory called lib/en/LC_MESSAGES which contains some .po files. These are the text form of the message catalogues. You can view them with a simple text editor.

Create a new directory for your translations, and copy the English messages into it.

mkdir lib/xx/LC_MESSAGES
cp lib/en/LC_MESSAGES/aegis.po lib/xx/LC_MESSAGES

Now you need to edit each of the lib/xx/LC_MESSAGES/*.po files, replacing the msgstr strings with suitable translations. Leave the msgid strings and the comments untranslated. These are text files, you can edit them with a simple text editor. GNU Emacs has a PO mode to make this easier.

The GNU Gettext sources have fairly good documentation about this process.

If you want to test your translations, you need to "compile" the text into the binary form used by the gettext() system call. This is done using the msgfmt(1) program from the GNU Gettext package. To see you new translations in action, you create a ${prefix}/lib/aegis/xx/LC_MESSAGES directory and arrange for the msgfmt output to be placed in it. Some of the messages are hard to trigger, don't expect complete test coverage.

There are almost 600 error messages. If you average 1 message every 2 minutes, this is approximately 20 hours work. The German translation, for example, required around 12 hours.

When you are done translating, submit the results to the Translation Project and they will archived there, as well as sent to Peter Miller to be included in the next release of Aegis.

The beautiful graphics on this web site are by Grégory Delattre. Return to the Aegis home page.