MDN/Projects/Completed/Localization UX Improvements

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The localization interface is cumbersome. Even it allows to translate pages and make them look them good, it needs a lot of non-needed work to reach this goal. Newbies need a lot of mentoring and most of them are quickly discouraged.

Performing simple tasks like editorial review is a pain.

As part of the plan to reach 1000 wiki editors / month in 2014, we need to make the use of the l10n interface much more easy, so that we stop loosing as many wannabe-translators. At the same time, it will increase their productivity and the quality of their work: more docs participates in the increase Firefox/Firefox OS marketshare company goals.

The increase in l10n community resulting in these better things will build over the months. To reach a number significant enough to allow us to reach the 1000 editors/month goal, we need this asap. Given we are in June and the amount of work to be done, we set a realistic deadline for September 30th, 2014. Past this deadline, fixing this bug won't have a significant impact to reach the goal we were given.


  • Improve L10n contribution levels and retention rates by making the user experience less tedious.
  • This will help us reach our 1,000 editors per month goal by boosting our contributions across multiple locales. We estimate we will gain approximately 5-7% of our new L10n editors through improved retention of users.
  • Non-goal: Completely revamp the localization UX.
  • Non-goal: we have problems with 404, l10n and zones. We are not ready to describe the behavior we want in all case. It is a Content Team Q3 goal to define these behavior, but not to get fixed. Bugs related to this are not listed here.
  • Non-goal: rtl fixes. RTL fixes should be fixed "on the fly" and not part of a project.
  • Non-goal: managing of tags. Tag management (including on translated articles) will be part of a separate (non-planned) project.


  • Low. Even if it doesn't lead to improve the participation significantly, it will improve the productivity of current edits.
  • It is a collection of bugs that can be done independently. Partially done is already useful.


Prioritized bugs blocking the tracking bug:

Full Query
ID Summary Whiteboard Priority
777434 Have a (togglable) one column mode (translation only) in translation interface [localization][LOE:2] P1
778470 Kuma: Editor - Add an "Edit English version" button to the localization UI [localization] P4
1008698 Access the original article HTML source code in translation interface [specification][type:change][LOE:3] P1
1016906 Edit button on call to translate page leads to editing English pages [specification][type:change][LOE:2] P1
1024649 Implement diff picker for updating translations [specification][type:feature][LOE-ux:s][LOE:8][needs-tech-eval][needs-definition] P1
1032056 MDN should use standard spellchecker P3
1040595 English and translation text are not at the same height because of the CKEditor toolbar LOE-ux:? P3
1040599 On translation, remove checkbox making a page a KumaScript template (macro) LOE:2 P3

8 Total; 8 Open (100%); 0 Resolved (0%); 0 Verified (0%);

Bugs to consider as part of this effort
777434 Mechanism to hide the English text while the translated text is available in edit mode. Critical
Translations happens in different phases, and in different ways. Some people copy the English text in the translated area and translate it. Similarly, some people are performing the editorial review of the translated text and do not need the English text.

More, in both these use cases, the display of the English text makes the translated area very small and make it very difficult to perform the task. A button (or other widget) to toggle the side display of the English original will solve both problem.

1031910 CKEditor should spellcheck by default Critical
A good deal of the editorial reviews contributions are basic orthographic mistakes that would have tagged by a spellchecker. This is especially the case when we get young editors.
968153 TOC dropbox doesn't work in edition interface Critical
Basic bug
899665 Add the opportunity for a translator to subscribe to the English document in the translation interface Critical
We need this on the translation interface (a checkbox near the bottom?). We should make it clear that it is a way to keep the translation up-to-date!
1024649 Diff picker for the English version. Critical
As soon as an edition is done, the diff picker switch to it. But editors sometimes fix a typo or another problem, and not necessary the whole diff. It is important that they can get the diff of what they want to really edit.
1002059 Ability to display the source code on the English side of the translation interface Critical
Part of the page depends on "class" and "style" attribute. The only way to know which ones to add to the translated articles is to look at the source code of the English page. This is trivial in CKEditor, but very complex on the English side (which is not editable). We need a widget to toggle the view of this side to display the HTML source.

Warning: we don't want the ability to edit the English page inside the translation interface; this leads to numerous errors where the English version is replaced by the translated one by mistake.

? (incorrectly closed) Style of what is in the translation textfield doesn't match the styling of what is English (with same class/in-line styling) Critical
This means that we don't know if what we are doing is correct. Leading to extraneous preview, save, blind editions.
776206 Allow people without template-writing privileges to translate string in templates. Critical
We have 100s of templates with strings. Currently very few people can update the strings in it. We have two problems here: having people translate the strings (without our help), having people discovering the strings they need to translate. It is very complex for translators to discover how to translate these strings.
1016906 Edit button on call to translate page leads to editing English pages Critical
When visiting a not-translated page, the UI is translated. There is a translated call for action too. The EDIT button is translated: but leads to edit the non-translated page. This is confusing and we get people replacing the English page with a translation, rather than creating a translation page.
776048 Tags with diacritics and tags without diacritics are mixed. High
This lead to erroneous tags spontaneously added to thousand of page. A simple orthographic mistake by a casual editor propagates very quickly to a lot of articles. Non-mistakes also lead to incorrect tags added.

This bug also shows blatantly that l10n is an afterthought and not a strong commitment.

1032056 Editor box should use Firefox spellcheckers. High
Regular editors have heavily configured dictionaries: it contains name of Mozilla products and often used terminology. Default spellcheckers are far far less good and impair the speed of translation.
1032058 Bottom of the English and Translated sides are not aligned High
There are common widgets at the bottom of the English and translated sides of the translation interface, like the tag widgets. This make it very complex to compare and fix any error (like a different set of tags). By aligning what is after the text, it will ease this.

Stephanie already worked on this one; it is mostly done. Two follow-up bugs have been identified, bugs 1040599 (removing checkbox to turn a translation in a macro) and 1040595 (aligning main English and translated text).

777988 Translate CKEditor Medium
CKEditor buttons are labelled in English. They should be in the language of the interface
778470 Add a link to edit the English version of the document (in the translation interface) Medium
When translating a document we also carefully read the English original. We often find typos and similar problems. To get to the English edition interface is cumbersome, so we often just don't fix the typo. A link to open the English edition interface will solve this.

Warning: we don't want the ability to edit the English page inside the translation interface; this leads to numerous errors where the English version is replaced by the translated one by mistake.

938662 Translation edit mode: Don't allow slug change Medium
Slugs must be changed via page move (exclusively). Remove the box allowing to do it in the translation interface (not sure it does anything anyway).
858958 Make dates in Kuma timezone-aware Medium
When we are not in PT, it is difficult to read dates on MDN. E.g. "The last time I checked the revision dashboard was 6am yesterday, where should I put the date cursor to check all editions after that". (The answer vary between 10am and 12pm two days ago, depending of the time of the year and my usual locations).
1040599 Remove the KumaScript checkbox from the translation UI. Medium
Some people try to translate KumaScript macros by creating a translated pages with the macro name and turning this flag on. Given that translating macros need coding privileges (and knowledge), they are then confused that it doesn't work.

This is a follow-up bug from bug 1032058.

1040595 English and translation text are not at the same height because of the CKEditor toolbar Medium
Comparing the English and translated text is difficult. If the general problem is hard to tackle – different sizes of the translated strings, different structure of the pages (as the original and the translation are not up-to-date) –, the size taken by the CKEditor toolbar in the translation panel is killing us: even the first lines are not aligned. By having the top of the text synchronized, it would already solve a good deal of the problem.

This is a follow-up bug from bug 1032058.

859499 Language selectors should show both localized and "local" versions of language name Low
It is difficult to read the language selector: you need to know the locale names in all the languages of the world to find the locale you want to look something at. Adding the locale name in 2 languages will solve this.
797505 In the profile, dates are not localized Low
The profile is one of the first pages an translator look at carefully. Not having the date localized give a bad impression to our commitment to l10n.

User Stories


  • Make the interface convenient to use.
  • While the side-by-side comparison of English and translated content is useful, the lost width makes editing difficult and makes it hard to judge what the content will actually look like. A solution needs to be found.


  • There's a lot of low-hanging fruits, as well as some larger problems that need to be addressed.