Contribute to an Open Source Project - Pirate English Localization

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Seneca is known around the world for its involvement in real-world Open Source projects, from web technologies to operating systems to medical devices.

Some of that work happens in courses, some of it as part of applied, government funded research projects, where Seneca students and faculty partner with industry to work on cutting edge technology.

Today each of you is going to have the change to contribute to a real open source project.

What is Open Source?

Open Source is the name commonly given to software that can be freely used, shared, studied, and changed. You already use millions of lines of open source software every day, on your phones, on Google, on the web, inside Facebook and Twitter, and as part of the infrastructure of Seneca's network. Open Source software is often mixed with Closed Source, Proprietary software in order to make technologies and products faster and cheaper to build, for example in Android or iPhone smartphones.

Open Source is everywhere, and knowing how to participate in its creation gives Seneca students an edge. Companies want to hire graduates who are already familiar with large software projects, and who can help maintain existing code within their products.

A Real Open Source Project: Mozilla Webmaker

Seneca has been partnered with the Mozilla Foundation for nearly a decade. Mozilla makes web technologies, for example, the Firefox web browser. Mozilla also works to educate people about the Open Web, and how to participate in creating and using open source web technologies and standards.

Mozilla's Webmaker project is a collection of learning materials and web-based tools for making and teaching things on the web. It uses many programming languages and technologies you'll learn at Seneca, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node.js, Amazon Web Services, MySQL, etc.

Localization (L10N)

One of the aspects of Webmaker that Seneca is leading is its localization, which means translating all the text in the software for non-English speakers (localization is a long word, so it's often shortened to l10n, meaning "l" + 10 letters + "n"). Webmaker is currently being translated into 84 different languages, from Thai to Russian to Urdu.

For fun, and also because programmers like to joke around, there's also an effort to translate Webmaker into Pirate English. In Pirate English, instead of saying "Hello!" you'd say "Ahoy!", and instead of saying "Wow!" you'd say "Shiver me Timbers!" There are even web sites to help you get your Pirate Slang right, see and

Check out Facebook's Pirate English localized login page:

Your Turn

  • Pick some English text (aka, a String) from the Webmaker project. Use Transifex or this Webmaker String List.
  • Translate it into Pirate, either on your own, or using one of the Pirate Translation Services: and For example, given the string "Reading and explaining the structure of code" we change it to "Readin' and explainin' t' structure o' code." Or given "Understanding the Internet stack" we get "Understandin' t' Internet stack."
  • Submit your Pirate string to Transifex, or write it down on paper and hand it in
  • Get yourself an tattered eye patch, ye're an open source contributor now!