Translations - a big issue that should be re-evaluated

Hi all,

this post won't be of any interest for you if you're using Atlassian products in it's native language - English, but maybe others might share my view on the Atlassian translation efforts.

Has anybody faced the problem of walking up to a customer showing them the great products Atlassian has to offer and having to apologize for the poor translation quality? I know where the products are coming from and I know that Atlassian has taken the "open, community-driven" translation approach on purpose but I'm not sure if this is the right way to go if you're talking about a mature enterprise product?! I'm talking about JIra mainly... I'm also aware of the new In Product Translation Plugin

but still, an enterprise customer buying the all-in solution (10.000+ licenses) has to pay 24.000 dollars to start translating the product he has just purchased? If the products were open source, no doubt the approach would be the right one, but every update is like a black box... you never know what you're getting.

Another fundamental example of the translation issues I'm facing (representing an enterprise customer as it is) is the current Greenhopper translation pack (downloaded from

Since the original Greenhopper update ( is being shipped entirely in English I downloaded the translation file (ON A TEST SERVER). What I'm seeing next is that almost EVReYTHING has been translated, no matter if it makes sense or not. For example:

Have you done some research before translation (or accepting a translation for) the word "Epic" or "Swimlane"? From my point of view the vast majority of software developers (in Germany, that's my case here) are used to the original scrum concepts and/or terms. WE're talking about Epics, Stories and Story points just as you guys...

Maybe some people use the German equivalents "Epos or Epen (pl.)" but in business many terms just don't have to be translated (people a fine with English here). While in general I would be happy to provide my customer with a products in his native language (apart from the bugs I've found so far e.g. ({0} instead of "issues")) I just can't, since the developers I've been talking to were kind of laughing at me when I told them to go create an "epos" and group it under a "Schwimmbahn"...

Maybe it would be sufficient (for starters) to cover the languages of your main customers by a professional translation service (or hire some guys...we'll be happy to help)...



4 answers

I agree with you, that translations of product gearing to enterprise levels should not be anymore based on volunteer level. I cannot speak for German language (although I would consider myself fluent speaker), but slovak translation is not built on defined vocabulary, it is full of inaccurate and ambiguous terms and simple mistakes.

Therefore at least the vocabulary should be reasoned and established in front and simple mistakes should be revised by professionals. For example the fundamental term issue is in our translation randomly replaced with: task, problem, bug or record. By the way - there is a word in our language similar meaning, but it now - after 5 years of biased translation it would sound strange.

As a native Slovak speaker (rather small language with 5 milion speakers) I do not expect that it would be big deal for Atlassian to invest in the professional translation, but involving interested local experts in the vocabulary definition and the revision process would not cost so much.

Unlike my language,Korean, I am pretty much sure that you already have certain number of users especially when Atlassian boasts BMW as their customer.

I wouldn't say they should provide professional translation service on my language but they should do on the language that is being used by significant number of users. In this case, German.

However, it is very important to keep community translation feature. (I know you didn't mean that.)

Hi Guys,

Thank you for your feedback.

May I ask if you experience similar issues with JIRA's German translation? Or is it only with GreenHopper's German translation?

Currently we produce professional translations for JIRA for German, French, Spanish and Japanese. We concentrate on these languages as this is where most of demand comes from.

For GreenHopper, we do not produce professional translations yet. The GreenHopper team are currently reevaluating whether this should change.

One of the reasons we created is because we found it pretty challenging to find great translators for our products. Our products are quite technical, and professional translators often make missteps, exactly in areas you indicated, i.e. they pick incorrect technical terms.

This is where can help. It allows our users, who are much more technical than professional translators to go through the translations and tweak them.

Christian, thank you for offering to help. Is this something we can talk about directly? If so, please e-mail me - anton at atlassian dot com


Hi Anton,

I'll contact you as soon as I have some spare time!

Cheers Christian

Christian, sounds good.

Would you be able to let me know if you experience simlar problems with JIRA's German translation, or just GreenHopper's?

Hey Anton, the overall quality of the German translations in JIRA has improved over the last couple of releases. At least as far as I can tell. Talk to you soon.



Hey Anton,

just installed the latest Greenhopper in combination with JIRA 5.2.11 and it seems that the translations I found to be very disturbing (see original question) made it into the product. Sorry, but that's something you really should be investigation... Make a survey for German customers and ask them what their term for "Epic" is...EPIC not Epos. You'd be surprised ;-)

Cheers Christian

Guys, just installed a new instance from scratch in french : the french translation is just ridiculous for Epic and Story and Story points... just keep the english words, that is the french usage (hopefully you didn't translate scrum nor Agile) !


Feel free to change the translations at and ask your colleagues for a vote so your translations win and become accepted and included in the language pack.

Here are the three messages you asked for:

Hint: please note that once your translations are accepted you can download language pack and install directly in JIRA. You don't have to wait for a new GH release.


Hi Nicolas,

Thanks for your feedback. As Jacek mentioned above, please feel free to change any errant translations yourself.

We have taken your feedback on board for our next round of translations. These will be made available some time in the next week.


Michael Tokar

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