This page explains how to translate off-line. If you're interested in this, you probably already know what Gettext PO files are. For this reason, we'll only discuss how to use them in a wiki with the Translate extension here. Otherwise, you're probably more interested in the How to translate tutorial for online translation.
More in general, you might want not to use the web interface if you have a very slow or limited internet connection or some "supadupa" offline tools that you're used to or you prefer. Be aware, however, that the Translate extension is designed as a collaborative process. This means that you should not hold the files offline for long times, and you should always download a new file just before you start translating. Otherwise you might conflict with other translators who work in the wiki.
You can download any message group as Gettext PO file by choosing the export for off-line translation task in Special:Translate. Some sites might have disabled this task. You should check any local guides how to process these files before you start.
The files are standard Gettext PO files with some extra information. The header contains some extra fields shown below; the
msgctxt for each message contains an identifier that the Translate extension needs. Some editors are known to strip either the header comments or the
msgctxt lines, so start with a small file to make sure that your editor does not remove these – it's not funny to realize the editor was buggy after translating hundreds of messages that you cannot import back into the online system! The message documentation is exported as translation comments.
Important header fields:
"X-Language-Code: nl\n" "X-Message-Group: ext-abc\n"
Example entry in Translate Gettext po file.
#. [Wiki] [[File:MantisBT-filter.png|150px|right]] #. [Wiki] Link on bug report. See screenshot. #. [Wiki] #. [Wiki] “Excel” is the name of a program; do not translate it unless Microsoft has translated the program’s name into your language (e.g., 엑셀 in Korean). msgctxt "s_excel_export" msgid "Excel Export" msgstr ""
There is no need to translate the file completely. Uploading partially translated message groups is perfectly fine. There are two ways to import these files.
The users with correct user rights can use Special:ImportTranslations to upload and import the translations. The special page processes the file, shows the changes and lets the user import them. For large files with lots of changes the importing might take multiple steps, as the processing time is limited.
Importing can also be done using a command line script in
Translate/script/poimport.php. It's less flexible but can import everything in one go. It also needs intervention from someone with shell access to the server.
The way how imports of off-line translations are handled (or not) depends on your wiki.
Gettext Editors 
Here are some tools you can use to edit the files off-line.
- Available for all platforms supporting the wxWidgets toolkit, tested on Unix with GTK+ and Windows.
WARNING: make sure you are using version 1.4.2 or above, otherwise "
msgctxt" lines are dropped and your work cannot be processed.
- Can be used in the GNOME desktop environment on Unix and Linux platforms.
- To be used as plugin in the Eclipse IDE on Linux, Windows and MAC OS X, has various tools integrated.
- Uses the KDE 4 Desktop Environment on all platforms supporting it. Has a user wiki and online handbook
- Translate Toolkit
- Toolkit written in the python programming language which must be installed as well, usable on all platforms. Supports several other file formats as well.
- Free tool for professional translators written in Java, requires Java installed; available on all platforms. Supports a variety of other file formats, glosssaries, fuzzy matching, and translation memories.
- Gorm PO file editor
- Small program, runs on Windows, no installation required.
- Better PO Editor
- Available for Windows, BSD, Unix, Linux, Mac OS X. Includes spell checker and Google Translate suggestions.