How to Translate


Polychromatic uses gettext to localize the application to different languages. The source language is English (US).

These instructions are aimed for contributors not 100% familiar with how the process works.

Note: These instructions apply to the new development version (v0.4.0) of Polychromatic.



  • locale/polychromatic.pot - all strings are contained here.
  • locale/*.po - all translations for the locale (e.g. de for German)
  • locale/LINGUAS - list of locales for the build system.
  • tools/ - extracts all the strings (updates the POT file for translation)


Preparing the Repository

  1. Fork the polychromatic repository on GitHub.

  2. Clone the repository to your computer.

    git clone<your username>/polychromatic.git
  3. (Recommended) Run the tools/ script to ensure templates are up-to-date.

    • You will need to have pygettext and msgcat (usually in gettext package) installed.

Using Poedit

  1. Open the polychromatic.pot file in Poedit. Click the Create New Translation button.

    Screenshot of Poedit after opening pot file

  2. Choose your desired language.

    Language selection screen

  3. Start translating!

    Example of translating

  4. Save the new .po file, commit and push your changes.

    cd polychromatic/
    git add locale/
    git commit -m "Add translation for <locale>"
    git push origin master

    It is normal that Poedit will generate a .mo file which would be used by the application, but should be ignored when committing.

  5. If you are adding a new language, add its locale to the LINGUAS file.

  6. Open a pull request on GitHub.<your username>/polychromatic/compare

Updating existing translations

For translations that need updating, the latest strings for that locale can be obtained by running tools/ first, then by choosing CatalogueUpdate from POT File from Poedit, specifying polychromatic.pot.

Screenshot of updating translations in Poedit