Internet Freedom through Localization of Tools

Internet Freedom through Localization of Tools


On March 4th, 2015 in Valencia, Spain as part of the Circumvention Tech Festival, the Localization Lab from SecondMuse hosted our second ever Localization Sprint. The goal of the Sprint was to convene a group of translators from the Localization Lab Community with Developers from the Tor Project and Globaleaks to translate Internet Freedom Tools (IFTs) into more than 10 different languages simultaneously and also to identify localization and user challenges while providing real time feedback to developers of these important tools.

The results of the event were the following:

  • We translated 11,560 words and 6,627 words were reviewed during the Localization Sprint into the following 11 languages: Norwegian Bokmål, Finnish, Croatian, Slovenian, Farsi, Urdu, Russian, French, Arabic, Hungarian and Spanish. To give some context, 12,000 words is the equivalent of 15 typed pages and/or between 25 and 40 web pages. We accomplished this together in one afternoon.

  • We convened teams of developers from Tor and Globaleaks to work side-by-side with translators throughout the day to answer their questions and to understand and hear user feedback in real time.
  • Translators that attended the event were inspired and motivated to complete and finish translation projects they started at the Sprint in days following the convening.
  • Translators in French, Finnish, Croatian, and Slovenian fully completed the translation of Globaleaks into their languages.
  • Developers told us how valuable it was to have the opportunity to sit face-to-face with users and supporters of their tools to better understand the needs for and hangups related to their tools.
  • In the days following the Translation Sprint, the Localization Lab team was approached by developers of tools not yet included in the Sprint who expressed interest in participating in future Sprints.

Since the Localization Sprint, we have seem a flurry of activity from translators who participated and continued dialogue between translators and developers about the use of their tools. We see this work as the start of much more to come and complementary to our work on Needfinding in the Internet Freedom space. It is our goal that community members will eventually be able to host their own events.

In the meantime we will be hosting our third Localization Sprint focused on Tails in the end of March in Manila, Philippines as part of RightsCon.We are specifically focusing on the following languages: Farsi, Urdu, Thai, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. If you are a translator or work with a group interested in supporting the translation of Tails into these languages, please contact for more information.

Katey Metzroth

About Katey Metzroth

Katey leads New York's Next Top Makers, a program by NYCEDC, which supports NYC-based independent product designers to establish and grow their businesses in the city. Katey is also part of the Internet Freedom team at SecondMuse which focuses on localization and need-finding efforts to make Internet Freedom tools more accessible to users around the world. Before SecondMuse, Katey helped launch a prize at the Wharton school for social innovators. Prior to that, Katey guided NYC's digital strategy firm, Sarkissian Mason, to incorporate social impact into their business model. Katey participated in Philly's first ever Random Hacks of Kindness event and her team developed PhillySNAP to connect food stamp beneficiaries with farmers' markets through a simple text message. Katey holds an MA from Georgetown and the UNSAM in Buenos Aires.

Want to talk about a potential project? Interested in joining our team? Contact Us