Scrivener in Spanish

I always promote Scrivener on my blog in Spanish, and many people have shown interest in a version of Scrivener in Spanish. Back in 2010, there was, I think, a project to translate Scrivener into Spanish, and there was web page: This address has been down for a while now, and now and then someone steps in on my blog asking about it.

Have you cancelled your project to translate Scrivener into Spanish? Is there any hope?

Nearly there…

Scrivener 2.5 will be translated into Spanish, German and French. It’s a hard slog getting all the interface items adjusted, or rephrasing where necessary, but it’s one of the main focuses of 2.5 and it’s coming along nicely.

Well, good news but… What about Scrivener in Italian? No hope? No way? :frowning:

You can’t be serious :laughing:

Many thanks, and all the best


Italian will be done on the next pass. It wouldn’t make sense for us to do all languages at once, as it costs a lot of money and we need to get the systems in place. So we have started with three languages (based on our sales into different countries), which is a huge amount of work in itself, but which will allow us to hone our systems so that we’ll be more efficient and know exactly what we are doing the second time around. Once French, Spanish and German are done for 2.5, we’ll start on the next batch of languages, and Italian will be in that second set.

KB, If this is a waste of your time to explain, I’ll understand and go quietly.
But I don’t see why a translation costs a lot of money and is a huge amount of work.
Is it more than changing menu labels; do you have to translate documentation as well?
I think many users could follow the English tutorials and user guide.
Think what a cool thing it would be to have Scrivener in Swahili
As an aid to teaching writing to millions of kids in Africa.
Of course, we gotta have an iOS version for that task! :open_mouth:

Okay, thanks Keith,

That’s fine for me (I definitely understand the sales thing, and I’m trying to advertise Scrivener with my colleagues to expand your italian market :slight_smile: ).

I’ve been using Scrivener in English quite frequently, in the recent years - more than 30 translations, with revisions and editing, some short stories, book reviews, etc. – and I’m perfectly happy with it, but… you know, the Menus and Commands in my language are just a touch, a nuance, a shade, And shades are important (ask E L James).

A presto e buona estate,


This is the process:

  1. First, you have to extract all text from the entire interface and code. Apple provide a command-line tool for this that you can run on each interface file and the code, but as Scrivener has over a hundred interface files, that would take ages. So, during this first round, I’ve had to write some internal utilities that run Apple’s command-line tools on all necessary Scrivener interface files and wotnot.

  2. All that text goes off to the translators. That is where the money comes in - we are using a professional translation company to do the translation, with a great deal of experience in translating Mac software. We decided to go this route rather than use volunteers because the pro translators keep a database of everything they’ve translated so far and can easily update this with each change we make to the interface - otherwise, every time we release a new version, we have to rely on volunteers to fix things. It also means we can send them changes that need making without worrying about stretching their kindness seeing as we are paying them.

  3. The translators send us the text back, I use the same tools mentioned in (1) to inject all that text back into the interface. The tools take the English interface files, copy them, and inject them with the translated text.

  4. At this point, I send a build of Scrivener back to the translators, and they go through the interface with a fine-toothed comb looking at everything that has been translated, looking for anything that has been missed, mis-translated, or that doesn’t fit. They fix anything on their side, and send me screenshots and notes of text that doesn’t fit in the interface.

  5. I now have to go through all those screenshots and notes about text that doesn’t fit - and there are hundreds of them. Languages such as French and German are much more verbose than English. For the past nine years, Scrivener’s interface has been built around English, so the French and German text doesn’t fit on many buttons or labels. I either have to modify the interface or suggest shortened versions of the text to be re-translated. And it’s the English interface I have to modify, so that it can accommodate all translations. The reason for this is that the Apple tools take a copy of the core interface and inject the translated strings into that. If I modified the translated interface files only, then I’d have to re-do all of that modification work every single time we released a new version and new translations needed re-injecting. And I can’t allow the translators to modify the interface directly, as that could result in a broken interface if something went wrong.

It’s pretty horrendous and tedious work, but it will be worth it when it’s done.

And Giovanni, I totally understand you wanting it in your language - those of us with only one language live in glass houses anyway. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Most Mac (and iOS) software “professionally” localizad into Italian is so abysmal, that I usually prefer to remove the Italian .lproj and use the software in English. I had a short experience with one of the best-known localization agencies some years ago, and they paid so little that you could not even pay the power to keep your computer on, so I understand that the best trasnlators prefer to go fishing instead of working for them.

Unfortunately, as I could experience as a customer, most translation agencies in Italy use people coming out of an inadequate university system, and are mostly trained for interpreting during conferences; they usually only spend an exam translating some advertising lines and meet no technical matters at all. It is very rare to find someone really expert or passionate on things technical, and it shows.

I really hope the Italian version of Scrivener will be good to great. Unfortunately, it would be the only software I will use in Italian (apart for the ones I translate myself, and for the commendably good LibreOffice - localized by volunteers).


To give some numbers to support this: Scrivener for Windows has 176 different interface modules, combining to give a total of 3,356 different text strings that need to be translated. That’s not just individual words you see in the core interface, but all the dialogue boxes, help pop-ups and error messages as well (the average string length on Windows is 5.8 words). Bear in mind you are not just changing one language for another, but actually setting up a consistent interface such that the binder is always called a binder, and not a portfolio, folder, a file, or anything else that might show up on a thesaurus and confuse the hell out of a user.

Hmph. So do some of the volunteers.

Or upsetting them on the forums. :smiley:
Happy for you to send a cheque if it will help ease your conscience.

Wow, I wish I’d never answered this thread. :slight_smile:

Pigfender: I do not mean to offend. Lee chose to translate the Windows version a different way, but apparently Qt makes translation much, much easier in terms of organisation and injecting the translations into the software. Given the Mac processes, we decided to hire professional translators. We are very grateful to all volunteers who have helped translated the Windows version. We will be grateful for volunteers to check the translators have done a good job, though.

ptram: As above - we’ll be very grateful for any volunteers to check the translations and ensure that they do the job well. We are using a well-respected translation company that has translated a number of software packages.

Well, I’m glad you did and I feel much enlightened about the process now.
Any way that folks can make contributions to help defray your costs?
I am working with Scrivener every day now and feel constant gratitude. :bulb:

These are great news. I’ll be waiting when it’s ready, so I can announce it. Many people will be thrilled. If there’s something I can help you with, just ask.

For user interfaces, we should be heading to a future that is purely icon based and which can be used independently of a written language. People can use iOS without reading a manual or an extensive language-based interface. All software across all platforms should head the same way so that any translation is minimal: just the user manuals, not embedded in text strings in the user interface.

Brrr… Sounds horrible. :slight_smile:

I see you’ve translated «Hoist binder» as «Alzar cuaderno». IMHO, this is a bit inaccurate. I think it would be better «Acercar cuaderno». And «Unhoist binder»: «Alejar cuaderno». «Desalzar» is not a spanish verb. Moreover, the antonym of «Alzar» is «Bajar». Thanks. All the best!

The translators have already asked for clarification on that, as I don’t think they understood the feature - I’ve pointed them to the translation in OmniOutliner, so hopefully this should be fixed by the time we have a build available. The screenshot is very much a work in progress. Once we release a build and ask for input, though, I’d be really grateful for stuff like this, thanks!

All the best,

Yeah, I hate the icon only stuff. Half the time I’m trying to figure out what the icon means. Sure it seems simple to some but it isn’t always clear. Like the spyglass for search feature, I was trying to help my uncle with his new tablet and he was getting upset because the magnifying glass wasn’t making anything bigger.

Even cars are using this method now, the four wheel drive on newer Ford Explorers has icons. For 4x4 High it has a pic of a car on an uneven line (rough terrain) with triangle with a line coming out of the bottom(pine tree?) next to it. I had an old man thinking it was an air lift kit (because the pine tree looks like an up arrow) and wanted to know why it wasn’t raising his car for better clearance.

Even the cash registers at fast food places use this. There are just symbols for cheese, bacon, lettuce, fries and so on and so on. I think it would take someone much smarter than me to figure out how to work one. After I seen this, I understood why they could never get my order right.

So…I’m going to vote against this. While it sounds good in theory, in my experience. It doesn’t work. Well, I do understand the men and women restroom signs now. They don’t even have to write MEN or WOMEN above the door anymore.

The Egyptians tried this 4,000 years ago; it did not end well… :slight_smile:

Ah this is good news indeed. I have been strongly suggesting that my students use Scrivener to write their academic (scientific) manuscripts and it would really help if the interface was in Spanish (I’m now in Mexico).