Qiskit in My Language is Qiskit

Yuri Kobayashi
Oct 3, 2019 · 4 min read
the word quantum in different languages, in the shape of a Q
the word quantum in different languages, in the shape of a Q
But “quantum” in my language is not “quantum” : )

Global and diverse user bases are a key element of thriving open-source communities. With over 150,000 Qiskit users around the globe, and ever-increasing non-English speakers with interest in quantum computing, the Qiskit community recognizes that documentation should be easily accessible to our global audience.

To this effort of global accessibility, a group of quantum enthusiasts based in Japan created a pilot project based around translating Qiskit documentation, with the ultimate goal of making it easier for all community members to contribute.

This group, called the IBM TEC-J Quantum Study Group, is made up of employees from various sectors with IBM, all united by their passion for quantum computing. They see translating Qiskit documentation as a means to learn at a deeper level — by internalizing the language and expressing it in their own words.

“Translating encouraged me to go deeper and learn quantum computing at a different level.” — Takehiko Amano, IBM Garage Developer

“Making the content relevant to our audience helped me understand how Qiskit works better” — Kaori Namba, CTO Office, IBM Japan

As passionate as they were in learning quantum, each group member still worked a demanding job that left them with only 5 to 15 minutes per day to translate. It became clear soon that the group needed a system that allowed members to translate in short intervals and learn at the same time.

To that effect, Laura Zdanski, Paul Kassebaum, Soolu Thomas, Diego M. Rodríguez on the the Qiskit team and I wanted to give the community a tool that makes it easy for them to sign up, work on translations, proof-read, approved, and have their changes committed to the GitHub repo seamlessly. We found the perfect tool for our needs: Crowdin, a cloud-based solution that streamlines localization management.

Switching languages

To switch languages, simply select a language in the drop down menu in the top left of the documentation, boxed in red in the image below.

Qiskit API documentation page showing the drop down language selection menu on the top left corner.
Qiskit API documentation page showing the drop down language selection menu on the top left corner.
You can select a language from the top left drop down menu to switch languages.

As you can see, our effort to make translations possible by our community members has just begun. This is still very much a work in progress. To see more languages supported, we need your help.

How to get involved

Are you looking for a way to contribute to Qiskit? Maybe you’re on the path to becoming a Qiskit Advocate, or want to learn about quantum computing at a deeper level in 10–20 minutes a day? Translation in open source projects allows multi-lingual community members to contribute translations at different levels of commitment to the project.

Translators provide human translations of the text or confirm translation memory or machine translation recommendations of the documentation. There is no minimum time commitment for being a translator! Because you will translate small pieces of text instead of large files, translators found that contributing translations was a great way to make big contributions to the Qiskit docs in as little as 10–15 minutes per day.

In addition to translating text, Proofreaders review and edit the content contributed by translators. Only content that has passed through proofreading is included in the Qiskit documentation. Proofreaders need more familiarity with Quantum and Qiskit as well as English and the translated language in order to review the content for both translation accuracy and subject matter. Since proofreaders are the gatekeepers of a translation moving from Crowdin and into the official Qiskit docs, proofreaders need to commit to regularly reviewing the translations that translators submit.

Translation Leads are community members who have committed to maintaining the translation project, in a similar way to an Open Source Project Maintainer. They will work with the Qiskit team to ensure that the language has translators and proofreaders.

If you’d like to take on any of these roles, please follow these steps:

  • Step 1. Add your name (or ID) to the LOCALIZATION_CONTRIBUTORS file
  • Step 2. Create a pull request (PR) to merge your change.
  • Step 3. You will be asked to sign the Qiskit Contributors License Agreement (CLA); please do so.
  • Step 4. In the Qiskit-Docs Crowdin project, choose the language that you want to contribute to.
  • Step 5. Click the Join button and paste the URL of your PR in the dialog box where you are asked why you want to join the Crowdin project.
Qiskit-Docs Crowdin Project page showing the different languages you can contribute to.
Qiskit-Docs Crowdin Project page showing the different languages you can contribute to.
Choosing a language that you want to contribute to is easy.

Requesting a new language

We want to make sure that translated languages have enough community support to build a translation team with translators, proofreaders, and translation leads. If you want to be a translation lead or would be willing to join a new translation project team, you can open a Github issue to start a discussion with the Qiskit team and recruit translation project members.

Final thoughts

It takes people of all kinds of skills and interests for an open source project to make an impact. If you’re excited to make Qiskit more accessible to others who speak your language and want to get to know the details of how Qiskit works along the way, then please join us now by following the steps explained above or bookmark these instructions and join us as soon as you can.

Thank you for making it easier for anyone, no matter the language they speak, to use quantum computers.

Yuri Kobayashi

Written by

Qiskit Developer Community Asia



A community to discuss Qiskit, programming quantum computers, and anything else related to quantum computing.

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