Firefox is localized with a process nick-named cross-channel. This document explains both the general idea as well as some technical details of that process. The gist of it is this:
We use one localization for all release channels.
There’s a number of upsides to that:
Localizers maintain a single source of truth. Localizers can work on Nightly, while updating Beta, Developer Edition or even Release and ESR.
Localizers can work on strings at their timing.
Uplifting string changes has less of an impact on the localization toolchain, and their impact can be evaluated case by case.
So the problem at hand is to have one localization source and use that to build 5 different versions of Firefox. The goal is for that localization to be as complete as possible for each version. While we do allow for partial localizations, we don’t want to enforce partial translations on any version.
The process to tackle these follows these steps:
Create resource to localize,
Review updates to that resource in quarantine.
Expose a known good state of that resource to localizers.
The actual localization work happens in Pontoon.
Write localizations back to
Get localizations into the builds.
The concept behind the quarantine in the process above is to protect localizers from churn on strings that have technical problems. Examples like that could be missing localization notes or copy that should be improved.
The resource to localize is a Mercurial repository, unifying all strings to localize for all covered products and branches. Each revision of this repository holds all the strings for a particular point in time.
There’s three aspects that we’ll want to unify here.
Create a version history that allows the localization team to learn where strings in the generated repository are coming from.
Unify the content across different branches for a single app.
Unify different apps, coming from different repositories.
The last item is the easiest, as
comm-* don’t share
code or history. Thus, they’re converted individually to disjunct directories
and files in the target repository, and the Mercurial history of each is interleaved
in the target history. When parents are needed for one repository, they’re
rebased over the commits for the other.