Non-English as a Source Language

Here is a workflow to follow when working with a non-English source language and multiple target languages.

Panagiotis Kavrakis avatar
Written by Panagiotis Kavrakis
Updated over a week ago

Let's take a look at two cases where English is not a source language:

  • The content is written in a different language (e.g., Chinese, German) and needs to be translated into English to be then translated into other target languages.

  • The content is written in non-production-ready “developer” English and needs to be reviewed/polished and then translated into the target languages.

There are a few possible workflows for such cases.

Working on a single project

Translators working from non-perfect “developer” English or non-English sources into English can view the source strings in a different language. Let’s take a look at two examples.

Non-English source content: You need to translate from Chinese into English and French.

Source language - Chinese (China)

Target / Project languages - English (United States), French (France).


1. A Chinese-English translator enters the Editor and translates the content from Chinese (China) to English (United States). So you have the Chinese (source) and English files.

2. Now, your French-English translator enters the Editor and sees the file in Chinese (the source language). They need to click on the gear icon, as explained here, and choose English from the drop-down menu.

They would then see the English translation displayed as the main source text (with the initial source text in Chinese still displaying, in case a translator does know Chinese and can double-check with the original source):

3. Once this is done, you will have all your languages in the project completed:

“Developer” English source: You need to translate from non-perfect English into production-ready English and then into French.

Source language - English: You’ll need to choose one English locale for the “developer” English, e.g., generic “en” and another locale for the final English, e.g., “en_US”.

Target / Project languages - English (United States), French (France).

The steps will be the same as in the example above.

📝 Notes

  • Make sure to use different locales for the two versions of English (and ensure you're consistent with the target languages in other projects).

  • When translating from polished English to French with the help of the “View the source string in a different language” option, a translator should be careful and pay attention to the “current” source string (i.e., polished English) rather than the original source string (i.e., developer English).

Working on different projects

  1. Create Project A - for translating from non-English OR "developer" English into English.

    Source language: Chinese (China) OR “developer” English

    Target/Project language(s) - English

    For the “developer” English case, you would need to choose different English locales, e.g., generic “en” for the “developer” English and “en_US” for the final reviewed English.

  2. Translate from non-English OR "developer" English into English.

  3. Download the target files from Project A - your final English files.

  4. Upload those files as source files into Project B - the project for translating from

    English into other target languages.

    Source language: English

    Target/Project language(s) - French, German, etc.


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