Localizing Helm Documentation

This guide explains how to localize the Helm documentation.

Getting Started

Contributions for translations use the same process as contributions for documentation. Translations are supplied through pull requests to the helm-www git repository and pull requests are reviewed by the team that manages the website.

Two-letter Language Code

Documentation is organized by the ISO 639-1 standard for the language codes. For example, the two-letter code for Korean is ko.

In content and configuration you will find the language code in use. Here are 3 examples:

  • In the content directory the language codes are the subdirectories and the localized content for the language is in each directory. Primarily in the docs subdirectory of each language code directory.
  • The i18n directory contains a configuration file for each language with phrases used on the website. The files are named with the pattern [LANG].toml where [LANG] is the two letter language code.
  • In the top level config.toml file there is configuration for navigation and other details organized by language code.

English, with a language code of en, is the default language and source for translations.

Fork, Branch, Change, Pull Request

To contribute translations start by creating a fork of the helm-www repository on GitHub. You will start by committing the changes to your fork.

By default your fork will be set to work on the default branch known as main. Please use branches to develop your changes and create pull requests. If you are unfamiliar with branches you can read about them in the GitHub documentation.

Once you have a branch make changes to add translations and localize the content to a language.

Note, Helm uses a Developers Certificate of Origin. All commits need to have signoff. When making a commit you can use the -s or --signoff flag to use your Git configured name and email address to signoff on the commit. More details are available in the CONTRIBUTING.md file.

When you are ready, create a pull request with the translation back to the helm-www repository.

Once a pull request has been created one of the maintainers will review it. Details on that process are in the CONTRIBUTING.md file.

Translating Content

Localizing all of the Helm content is a large task. It is ok to start small. The translations can be expanded over time.

Starting A New Language

When starting a new language there is a minimum needed. This includes:

  • Adding a content/[LANG]/docs directory containing an _index.md file. This is the top level documentation landing page.
  • Creating a [LANG].toml file in the i18n directory. Initially you can copy the en.toml file as a starting point.
  • Adding a section for the language to the config.toml file to expose the new language. An existing language section can serve as a starting point.


Translated content needs to reside in the content/[LANG]/docs directory. It should have the same URL as the English source. For example, to translate the intro into Korean it can be useful to copy the english source like:

mkdir -p content/ko/docs/intro
cp content/en/docs/intro/install.md content/ko/docs/intro/install.md

The content in the new file can then be translated into the other language.

Do not add an untranslated copy of an English file to content/[LANG]/. Once a language exists on the site, any untranslated pages will redirect to English automatically. Translation takes time, and you always want to be translating the most current version of the docs, not an outdated fork.

Make sure you remove any aliases lines from the header section. A line like aliases: ["/docs/using_helm/"] does not belong in the translations. Those are redirections for old links which don't exist for new pages.

Note, translation tools can help with the process. This includes machine generated translations. Machine generated translations should be edited or otherwise reviewing for grammar and meaning by a native language speaker before publishing.

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 11 24 22AM

The site global config.toml file is where language navigation is configured.

To add a new language, add a new set of parameters using the two-letter language code defined above. Example:

# Korean
title = "Helm"
description = "Helm - The Kubernetes Package Manager."
contentDir = "content/ko"
languageName = "한국어 Korean"
weight = 1

Translated content will sometimes include links to pages that only exist in another language. This will result in site build errors. Example:

12:45:31 PM: htmltest started at 12:45:30 on app
12:45:31 PM: ========================================================================
12:45:31 PM: ko/docs/chart_template_guide/accessing_files/index.html
12:45:31 PM:   hash does not exist --- ko/docs/chart_template_guide/accessing_files/index.html --> #basic-example
12:45:31 PM: ✘✘✘ failed in 197.566561ms
12:45:31 PM: 1 error in 212 documents

To resolve this, you need to check your content for internal links.

  • anchor links need to reflect the translated id value
  • internal page links need to be fixed

For internal pages that do not exist (or have not been translated yet), the site will not build until a correction is made. As a fallback, the url can point to another language where that content does exist as follows:

< relref path="/docs/topics/library_charts.md" lang="en" >

See the Hugo Docs on cross references between languages for more info.