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Who can help

Swahilinux is always looking for new contributors. Basically, there is a task for everyone in the translation process: we need people with good language skills, as well as people with good technical skills or willing to learn some simple technical skills.

  • If you have a deep understanding of written English and a rich Swahili command, you can certainly engage in translation, or do proof-reading. Writing good Swahili is not necessary.

  • If your understanding of English is not first class, or if you don’t know English at all but have a good mastery of Swahili, you can help review other people’s translations to make sure they read well and have a good style.

  • If you are inclined or willing to go for the more technical side of the translation process, you can help further; for example, by preparing translated texts for publication.

As an Occasional Contributor
If you just want to submit a new translation and are not interested in collaborating regularly you can go to Tafsiri  and choose the project that you wish to engage yourself with and without logging in you are allowed to make suggestions.
As a Dedicated Contributor
If you want to be a member of the translation community and regularly participate and enrich yourself with the Swahili language you can go to Tafsiri’s registration page and register your email address. By registering you are allowed to make translations directly and verify suggestions made by other people.

General Guide for Translations

Here are our specific goals for our translated pages.


With few exceptions, the pages we translate are addressed to the general public. Before working on a page, please look at the original and ask yourself whether it is addressed to programmers or to the general public. Then aim your translation at the same audience.

In pages meant for the general public, please avoid words that are not found in common dictionaries, except for our special terms such as “GNU” and “copyleft” (see the list below).


In order to produce a translation which is accurate and faithful to the original, you need to be familiar with the basic concepts of the GNU Project and the specific terminology used in

Please study the philosophy of the free software movement, so that you can present it properly and clearly. The following articles will be particularly helpful:

These terms and files need special attention:

  • Copyleft. This is a term that can be difficult to translate in some languages. It is a pun on the word “Copyright” based on the two meanings of “right”: ethical and directional. You can read the article What is Copyleft? to learn more about it and see how it has been translated into other languages. You will see that in most cases it has not been translated at all, so if you can’t find a good translation for it in your language, the only option may be to use the English word.

  • Free Software. Most languages have a word for free-as-in-freedom and another word for gratis (zero price). In we generally use “free” only to refer to freedom, and we say “gratis” when we mean zero price. Thus, please translate “free” using the word that means free-as-in-freedom, not the one that refers to price.

    However, in some old pages, such as the GNU Manifesto and the initial announcement, we did not yet make the distinction. In translating these pages, you may need to think carefully about the proper treatment of each occurrence of the word “free”. You might choose to leave the word in English, followed by the explanation of its meaning in that occurrence: either freedom, price, or ambiguously both.

    However, even in these old pages, the word you normally use to translate “free” in “free software” should be the one that refers to freedom.

    See the Translations of the Term “Free Software” in several languages.

  • Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). This is what we use in to avoid the propaganda term “Digital Rights Management”. It means that digital techniques are used to impose restrictions on the user, and these restrictions apply not only to digital but also to physical objects.

    However, there is a subtle ambiguity in the English term “Digital Restrictions Management”. It can be interpreted in two ways:

    1. Digital Management of Restrictions.
    2. Management of Digital Restrictions.

    In many languages these require different wording. The correct meaning is the first one, so translations should make this clear. Likewise with “rights” instead of “restrictions”.

  • Should. In regard to an ethical issue, “should” means it would be wrong to do anything else. For instance, the page entitled “Why Software Should Be Free” explains why it is wrong to make software nonfree in the actual world we live in.

    Therefore, please translate “should” using a verb form that implies a strong ethical obligation. Don’t translate it in a way that means “it would be preferable for software to be free” or “in an ideal world, software would be free”. Those are not strong enough.

  • GNU’s Not Unix. When translating “GNU’s Not Unix”, please ensure that the translation remains recursive. If a recursive translation cannot be conceived, use the following format (this is an example for Swahili): “GNU’s Not Unix ( GNU Sio Unix)”.

As a translator, it is best if you follow the English text. Where the English text says “Digital Rights Management”, translate that. Where the English text says “Digital Restrictions Management”, translate that.

Licensing of Translations

A translation page should be licensed just like the original page. If the original page carries a Creative Commons license, use the same Creative Commons license. If the original page says it is in the public domain, the translation should say the same thing.

#SwahilinuxMovement  #PamojaDaima

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