Index of /pub/vim/messages
TRANSLATING VIM MESSAGES
In this directory you will find xx.po files, where "xx" is a language code.
Each file contains the translation of English Vim messages for one language.
The files are in "po" format, used by the gettext package. Please refer to
the gettext documentation for more information.
The GNU gettext library, starting with version 0.10.37, supports converting
messages from one encoding to another. This requires that it was compiled
with HAVE_ICONV. The result is that the messages may be in any encoding
supported by iconv and will be automatically converted to the currently used
The GNU gettext library, starting with version 0.10.36, uses a new format for
some encodings. This follows the C99 standard for strings. It means that
when a multi-byte character includes the 0x5c byte, this is not recognized as
a backslash. Since this format is incompatible with Solaris, Vim uses the old
format. This is done by setting the OLD_PO_FILE_OUTPUT and OLD_PO_FILE_INPUT
environment variables. When you use the Makefile in this directory that will
be done for you. This does NOT work with gettext 0.10.36. Don't use it, get
The distributed files are generated on Unix, but this should also be possible
on MS-Windows. Download the gettext packages, for example from:
You might have to do the commands manually. Example:
msgfmt -o runtime\lang\ja\LC_MESSAGES\vim.mo src\po\ja.po
WHEN THERE IS A MISTAKE
If you find there is a mistake in one of the translations, please report this
to the maintainer of the translation. His/her E-mail address is in the
comments at the start of the file. You can also see this with the ":messages"
command in Vim when the translation is being used.
CREATING A NEW PO FILE
We will use "xx.po" as an example here, replace "xx" with the name of your
- Edit Makefile to add xx to LANGUAGES and xx.mo to MOFILES.
- Copy the header of an existing file, e.g., de.po, to xx.po. Do not copy any
of the translated messages, delete everything after the "msgstr".
- The remaining work is like updating, see the next section.
UPDATING A PO FILE
If you are the maintainer of a .po file, this is how you update the file. We
will use "xx.po" as an example here, replace "xx" with the name of your
(1) Add new and changed messages from the Vim sources:
This will extract all the strings from Vim and merge them in with the
existing translations. Requires the GNU gettext utilities. Also requires
unpacking the extra archive.
Your original xx.po file will be copied to xx.po.orig
-- After you do this, you MUST do the next three steps! --
See the gettext documentation on how to do this. You can also find
examples in the other po files.
Search the po file for items that require translation:
Remove the "#, fuzzy" line after adding the translation.
There is one special message:
msgid "Messages maintainer: Bram Moolenaar <Bram@vim.org>"
You should include your name and E-mail address instead, for example:
msgstr "Berichten übersetzt bei: John Doe <firstname.lastname@example.org>"
(3) Clean up
This is very important to make sure the translation works on all systems.
Comment-out all non-translated strings. There are two types:
- items marked with "#, fuzzy"
- items with an empty msgstr
You can do this with the cleanup.vim script:
Background: on Solaris an empty msgstr results in an empty message; GNU
gettext ignores empty strings and items marked with "#, fuzzy".
This also removes the line numbers from the file, so that patches are not
messed up by changes in line numbers and show the actual changes in the
vim -S check.vim xx.po
Look out for syntax errors and fix them.