Localization guidelines (Bookshelf)

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Screenshot: The "Welcome to Wikipedia" brochure opened in Scribus, a free and open source desktop publishing application.
Screenshot: Translating text is easy. Please note that the text layer has to be active (Windows - Layers).

Please help to adapt, translate, remix, and reuse the materials in the Wikimedia bookshelf to help us spread the word about our projects. :-)

All resources are available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, with the exception of Wikimedia Foundation logos, which are covered by the Wikimedia Foundation trademark policy.

We make resources available in formats that can be edited using free and open source software. This means you can get all the tools you need to get started for free.

Please note that no-one expects the localized versions to be 100% faithful to the source material. You may need to adapt the language, or even shift order of sections, to give it more sense in your culture. When you do major alterations, try to make notes of them on the talk page of the material, for instance "changed order of pages 2 and 3 and removed some of [X], since the [Y] language version of Wikipedia has no such features." These changes can also inspire changes in the English version.

On this page we will only discuss the written materials. See WikiProject Screencasts for more information about videos.

Step 1: Download and setup the software


You can download the Scribus software at: http://www.scribus.net/. Thoroughly read the setup instructions for your platform. Setup generally takes several steps and utilizes several software packages.

The documents below have been created using Scribus 1.3.5. Opening these files in versions earlier than 1.3.4 will not work: you have to choose one of the developmental versions on the download page and not the current release version.
Users of Ubuntu Linux 10.04 can install the scribus-ng package from the official Ubuntu repositories. On Windows the development versions 1.3.8 and 1.3.9.svn have been tested and are compatible with these files, while on OS X version 1.3.5. is reported to work.

Scribus is desktop publishing software, which is very different from word processing software. At minimum, we recommend that you consult the "Get Started with Scribus" wiki manual.

You may also find it helpful to have additional software packages if you plan to edit with any of the placed supporting files from the layouts.

GIMP — For bitmap editing -- http://www.gimp.org/
Inkscape — For vector graphics -- http://www.inkscape.org/

Step 2: Download the document package(s)


These are required to create the pieces you'd like to make. All files associated with a piece and required for production are contained within the “zip” archive.

Piece Available Archives
Welcome to Wikipedia

Scribus sources: foundation:File:Welcome2WP SOURCE 082410.zip – PDF version: File:Welcome2WP_English_082310.pdf

Evaluating Wikipedia article quality Scribus sources: foundation:File:Bookshelf - Evaluating Wikipedia article quality.zip – PDF version: File:Evaluating Wikipedia article quality 2010-11-26 (web).pdf
Introduction to free licenses Scribus sources: foundation:File:Bookshelf - Introduction to free licenses.zip – PDF version: File:Introduction to free licenses 2010-11-27 (web).pdf
University course syllabus Scribus sources: foundation:File:Bookshelf - University course syllabus.zip – PDF version: File:University course syllabus-06 2010-11-29 (web).pdf
As localized versions are produced it is recommended that they should be packaged in a similar way to the English masters and uploaded/linked to from this site. That way a growing archive of materials can be made available here for all to use.

Step 3: Translating the text


Translation technique


When translating the text, two techniques may be employed.

Option 1) The translator installs the Scribus software, and downloads the materials for a piece. Taking this they simply make any translation "in-line" using the Scribus "story editor" built into the software. Please note that the text layer must be active in order for text frames to be editable (Windows|Layers).[1] Scribus doesn't have in-built proofreading tools, so be careful and make sure to re-read your text for typos and spelling errors.[2]

Scribus's "story editor": When inserting back the translated text into Scribus, you will often have to adjust the font, style and colour to match the original. You can do that after selecting the text through the three highlighted drop-downs of Scribus's text editor.

It might be useful to keep a copy of the original English Scribus file close-by so you can check the original formatting options as copy-pasting into the text editor can often mess up the style setting and in-paragraph bolding and colouring are lost altogether.

Option 2) The designer for the piece can export the copy into a word processing friendly application. Or the content can be taken directly from the development wiki (http://bookshelf.wikimedia.org). Once the copy has been translated, it is then flowed back into the Scribus layout.

Technique 1 is more desired as it assumes a particular size limitation and should therefore resolve length and placement issues more efficiently.



All Bookshelf pieces have been produced in English intended to be used as a baseline for translation. In most cases it is expected that the length of the copy may increase once translated. In the cases that the copy length reduces the techniques presented below would simply be reversed, if the designer feels that there is a need to do so.

Fitting the copy


Fitting the copy should follow the following techniques in order.

Option 1) Simply make the type area a little larger & adjust other elements accordingly. Also, Scribus has an in-built hyphenation feature (look for Extras --> Hyphenate text on the menu bar) with hyphenation rules borrowed from TeX and Oppenoffice.org.

Option 2) Edit the copy down to fit. It is important when choosing this option to retain the important information that the copy deals with. In cultural contexts some information may not be as important as others. Thoroughly review the Editorial guidelines before attempting to omit or re-write any copy.

Option 3) Reduce the point size (no more than one point for text sizes and up to 4 pts. for headlines and larger type). If you attempt this option you should reduce the point size for the particular style that is being used (Edit-->Styles). This will reduce this type consistently throughout the document.

Option 4) If all of the above does not work, add additional pages. This is the least desired option as the printed booklets we have designed here are constructed of signatures[3] and adding a page is equal to adding an additional signature. There are 4 pages per signature.

Type font and conversion


For any translation based on a roman or cryllic alphabet, the preferred typeface is Helvetica (or Arial as an alternate). Equivalents to Helvetica (or Helvetica itself if available) existing in other alphabets are the preferred typeface. All Scribus files have embedded information to automatically choose typeface substitutions based on what is available, but this is in no way a complete solution. If you have any questions about produced files or require an elementary review please contact the Bookshelf liaison (Lennart Guldbrandsson) at the Wikimedia Foundation.

Step 3: Preparing for print


Scribus has an "Export as PDF" feature (File -->Export --> Save as PDF), which allows for a number of pre-press settings and marks to be enabled or disabled as required by your printer.[4] Make sure to check their requirements and save the file with the correct settings to avoid any extra "design fees" to be imposed.

The Welcome to Wikipedia brochure was printed on B5 size[5] unglazed paper in colour, staple-bound. The cover's weight is probably about 200 g, while the inside pages' about 150 g.

More to come…

Step 4: Share with Wikimedia community


For web publishing it is recommended that you disable the pre-press markers and set up the PDF layout under the "Viewer" tab to be "double page right".

If you want to share your Scribus source files with the community choose the Collect for Output option (under the File menu) of Scribus to export all relevant files into a directory, which you can distribute in the form of a compressed archive. If your design uses free fonts and you want to make sure that the fonts and colours look the same on all computers don't forget to check the boxes to export fonts and colour profiles, as well.

You can link the ready PDFs on the [1] page.


  1. To access the story editor right click on a text frame and select "Edit text"; the keyboard shortcut for this command is CTRL+T on Windows.
  2. Probably the easiest way to spellcheck the document is to export all text from it into a separate text file and run that through a spell checker and correct the spotted errors in Scribus.
  3. Wiktionary defines a signature as "(printing) A group of four (or a multiple of four) pages printed such that, when folded, become a section of a book"
  4. Before you can get to the PDF settings menu, you will be given a list of errors: make sure there is no overflowing text frames. The errors about low resolution graphics is present in the original source files as well, you can click on "Ignore all errors" to get to the PDF settings menu.
  5. Some? printers print B5 paper from A4 sheets (as opposed to B4 sheets), which might not be the most cost-effective – you might want to get a Grant from the WMF to print the brochures – or explore more cost effective printing options with your printer.