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This page is a resource for discussing changes and updates to to improve access for non-English speaking users.

Here is a stub of discussion areas to be filled in with input from the international community.


Make it easier for international visitors to to quickly get access to localized Mozilla web sites and software. Make it easier for all users to get access to any language version of Mozilla software.

The near-term goal is not to translate - international Mozilla web sites already exist. We aim instead to make it easier for non-English speaking visitors to get to these web sites and software versions, in response to user requests.

Use Cases

These are the use cases that require internationalization of pages. They are listed in order of expected frequency.

  • (primary) International users coming to main URLs to learn about our products and obtain our software.
  • (secondary) Users looking for a build in a specific language which may or may not be their primary language (for testing, exploration, etc.)
  • (secondary) Users looking for support in their language.

The Team

Who'd like to help us? We'll need:

  • translators
  • sysadmins
  • testers

Request for volunteers posted to:


Potential Solutions

Add ideas for how we can best design the internationalization experience for our users. No idea is too wacky, simple or complex. For each, please list:

  • the idea in a nutshell (NS)
  • implementation requirements (IMP)
  • any pros/cons you can think of (P/C)

Author: Marco Casteleijn (ID1-3)

(NS1) One idea is to use the very nice tool metalique is building to see the video testimonials. One way or the other a map to find you localization or regional website seems nicest. (IMP1) low, is already on hand. Cooparation needed with Metalique. (P) easy to implement (C) naviagtion may be to novel for mainstream users, maybe a flat map is better.

(NS2)Another idea is to have an animated fox who you can ask (in your language) questions who will then lead you to the local site for dowload. (IMP2) ??? (P) unique, crazy, will draw attention (C) Will this be very easy to use, not a clear concept.

(NS3) Identify Users by IP address: "You are here" either by flag or map. Make sure they have a choose for download (like french/dutch for belgians or swedish/finnish in Finland) BUT always english (I hate to have a forced finnish Firefox). (IMP3)Quite easy, in spreadfirefox this may be introduced in the future. We can as Ian Hayward for the tools. (P) easy to implement, direct recognision of localization, personal. (C) Privicy, do people like to be identified. We need disclamer to explain.

Please, see my comments on Toniher 11:54, 15 Dec 2005 (PST)
Reply up north 15:00, 20 Dec 2005 (GMT+2)

Straight-up Language Negotiation

Use Apache's support for content negotiation to serve the pages in the language requested by the browser's "Accept-Language" header.


  • user's browser sends the appropriate accept-language header
  •'s apache can be configured to serve appropriate pages
  • fallback for languages we don't support / default language


  • transparent to user and makes best use of available technology


  • requires that user has browser that sends correct header

Feedback from netscape.public.mozilla.l10n
Author: Victory
To use content-negotiation, you should use 'filename'.'lang'.html or 'filename'.html.'lang' form, not 'filename'.html. Note that there's a problem that typical users don't configure their browser correctly so this often doesn't make sense by only content-negotiation so Apache docs use trick in their httpd.conf.

Author: Sebastian.Moser
most users don't configure their browser at all, because they are bundled with the operating system (it's the same with linux). users that are capable of changing their browser's configuration should also bbe able to either configure it correctly or read english text. i like the more (a folder for every language), with making it able for users to switch the language they use. an additional possibility would be to save the language used in a cookie, so that if the accept-language-header-value doesn't fit to the user's selection, this will be saved.

Author: Tsee
Obviously, there should be a prominent link for, say, users who travel from the U.S. to China and have no idea what they're looking at.

Language-Negotiation into Language-specific Directory Tree

Some practical advice from
The home page uses Accept-Language Headers to redirect to appropriate to the appropriate directory, named after the language code, e.g. /fr/ for FR-fr users. When they are there, no more language sniffing is done, which enables them to switch language if needed, using the list of links in the page footer.


  • Allows overrides


  • For specific documents people will always be linking the non-negotiated URLs
  • Doesn't handle partial translations (some files, not others)

Use Gerv's method

I've written up a method for using Content-Negotiation with a per-page override and sensible bookmarking, that I use on another site. It'll handle partial translation. The only restriction is that all URLs within the site must be relative; whether that's reasonable or not depends on what the site is. Feel free to use it if it works for you.


  • Uses visitor's Accept-Language preferences
  • Allows an override


  • Doesn't work for partial translations under Override mode
  • Doesn't work (returns error page) under Negotiation mode if none of user's preferred languages are available


  • Dec 17 - collect potential solutions, build out team
  • Dec 20Dec 30 - have plan for solution in place
  • Jan 20 - have implemented solution in place

Dec 30: Quick update - I had originally hoped to post a proposed short-term solution to improving international accessibility to by 20 Dec 05, but we're still refining the proposal based on the inputs from the community here.

Please bear with us as we pull this together this week. I'll post the proposal here, once it is ready for comment.



Jan 6: Here is the short term solution we are proposing:
Proposed Update to for International Users

Please review and provide feedback by January 13.


Track implementation

Any bugs created to implement the plan will be listed here for tracking purposes.