Localising Virtaal

The Virtaal project not only tries to help people with doing localisation work, we also believe that Virtaal itself should be well localised. With this localisation, you should not only refer to the user interface localisation, but a complete adaptation of the functional aspects of Virtaal for your language as well.

Very few of these customisations are required to use Virtaal, but better customisation for your language should help users with a better user experience, better productivity and higher quality translations.

Enabling your Language


Since Virtaal uses Unicode, all languages in Unicode with an appropriate font should display correctly. If it doesn’t display correctly by default on your system, let us know what font settings were required in Virtaal to fix it, and some details about your platform and fonts. On GNOME Virtaal will try to use font settings from the GNOME configuration.


Your platform input method should work correctly in Virtaal. If necessary, select the required input method from the context menu (right click). One known issue affects the US (International) keyboard layout on Windows.

Plural Information

It is important (although not strictly required) to know the plural information for your language so that it is easily selectable as a source or target language. For more information, see the plurals page.

Word Level Features

Spell Checking

On Linux, Virtaal uses the system spell checkers as provided by Enchant for doing spell checking.

Changed in version 0.7.

For Windows, Virtaal will download a spell checker for active languages. If this is not working for your language, let us know about available spell checkers and their quality and license for the developers to consider providing to Virtaal users.


Virtaal uses the autocorrect files From OpenOffice.org, with a few extra ones contributed by the community. If you don’t yet have such a file set, we can easily help you to create it. An easy start is a spreadsheet with a list of common errors and their respective corrections.

If you are interested in a more powerful solution, feel free to provide some code.


Automatic completion currently uses a very simple approach of remembering words as typed. Only basic word segmentation is used. Feel free to contribute something more advanced as needed for your language.

Quality Checks

New in version 0.7.

Virtaal provides access to the quality checks of pofilter. Several customisations are possible for your language, like disabling some tests, customising the behaviour, or language specific checks.


If you are interested in any other useful functionality that can enhance Virtaal for use with your language, let us look at how to integrate it. Adding extra terminology sources, translation memory services, machine translation services is usually very simple.

Check if your language is already supported with automatic terminology assistance and talk to the Virtaal developers about adding support for your language.

User Interface Localisation

Here we give some pointers to help localisers of the Virtaal interface.

Some instructions:

  • Check if someone is already working on your language on Pootle
  • If not, get the Latest POT file
  • Be very familiar with all the features of Virtaal, especially placeables.
  • Generate the .mo file with “msgfmt -cv”, and put it in your system location for .mo files. You could also use the “testlocalisations” script in the po/ directory if Virtaal if you prefer. Then run Virtaal in in your language for testing. Here are some issues you might want to give specific attention to:
    • Check for clashes of access keys that should be accessible in the main application window. These are all the main menu items, all the items in the search navigation, and all the access keys in the editing area.
    • Check for the strings that have limited space to show. These should be marked in the PO file for your attention. They are usually the descriptions of the TM backends. Try to get suggestions from these to see how much space is available. It is usually around 11 characters in the worst case.
  • Send your translated file to one of the developers, or attach it to a bug report, or upload it to Pootle.
  • We currently use the InnoSetup installer for building our Windows installers. You might want to check that the localisation for your language is there and an official translation.
  • For translators with non-Latin scripts, you can customise the image on the welcome screen. Send us the text and your desired font to start the process. If you prefer to edit it yourself, get in contact with us and ensure you are working on the SVG, not the PNG.