A Quick Start Guide for New Contributors

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The Aims of the Tatoeba Project

  • We are collecting sentences and their translations into other languages.
  • Sentences we create are used by various projects under the Creative Commons - Attribution 2.0 license.

The 2 Ways You Can Be the Most Helpful

  1. You can translate from a foreign language you know into your own native language or strongest language.

  2. You can create natural-sounding sentences in your own native language for others to translate into their native languages.

The "Edit" Bar: What the Icons Mean

See an image with explanations

The 6 Basic Rules

You can click the links to read [Translations] or read the [Source] documentation.

  • We want complete sentences.

[Translations]      [Source]

  • Don't change sentences that are correct.

[Translations]     [Source]

  • Don't add sentences from copyrighted sources.

[Translations]     [Source]

Also see Legally valid content

  • We want natural-sounding translations, not word-for-word direct translations.

[Translations]     [Source]

(Of course, we don't want computer translations.)

  • Make a good translation of the sentence that you are translating. Don't let translations into other languages influence you.

[Translations]     [Source]

  • Don't include annotations as part of sentences.

Don't include things like the following inside your sentences :

  • He/she (as in He/she said it was hot.)
    • Instead, you should submit 2 sentences.
      • He said it was hot.
      • She said it was hot.
  • (By Mark Twain) (as in Don't let schooling interfere with your education. (By Mark Twain))
  • Instead, put this as a comment and ask for someone to add it as a tag (or if you have tagging rights, then tag it yourself).

For more details, see the Rules and Guidelines page.

Things a Contributor Can Do

  1. You can translate a sentence by clicking on this icon whenever you see it. Please do not forget capital letters and punctuation.

  2. You can add alternate translations. ( If you feel there are several possible translations, you can add them all. Just make sure you are adding the translations to the other language. (In other words, don't add an English translation to an English sentence.)

  3. You can proofread sentences and adopt ( sentences in your native language that you think are good. If a sentence is unowned, you can adopt it.

    • Generally speaking, owned sentences are more likely to be error free, especially if owned by a native speaker.
    • We suggest only adopting sentences that seem 100% natural to you. If it seems less than natural, don't adopt it. You may adopt any 'orphan' sentence you see in your native language, and correct it if necessary.
  4. You can correct mistakes that you find, if the sentence is not "owned" by another user. To do this…

    • Adopt the orphan (unowned) sentence.
    • Then click the text to edit it.
    • Then, optionally, unown ( the sentence if you want others to be able to easily edit it again.
    • Special Note
      • Tatoeba.org prefers that you DO NOT CHANGE any sentence that could be considered correct.
      • Instead of changing correct sentences, you should add an alternate translation.
  5. You can add comments to sentences.

    • If you find a mistake, but it's owned by another user, then leave a comment telling the owner how it can be corrected.
    • If you see something that seems strange or that you don't understand, you can leave a comment and someone may explain it to you.
    • If you find things that are absolute nonsense or are not sentences, you can leave a comment alerting moderators that perhaps the item should be deleted.
  6. You can add new sentences. The best approach is to search first to make sure the sentence is not already in the database.

    • Note that the search on Tatoeba differs from familiar search engines (such as Google Search) in some important ways. See How to Search for Text for details.

Warning! There are errors!

  • Some sentences sound unnatural and are likely contributed by members who are overconfident in their abilities in their non-native langauges.
  • Some sentences use archaic and/or old-fashioned language and perhaps aren't really suitable for people learning a foreign language.
  • Some sentences contain grammar and vocabulary errors.
  • Some linked sentences may not be good translations.


  • To help maintain the quality of our sentences, it is recommended that you only translate from a non-native language into your native language.
  • It is also recommended that you should be careful to only translate from sentences owned by native speakers. This helps to avoid problems.
  • If you want to experiment in a non-native language, perhaps you should try a site such as http://lang-8.com instead.

Related Pages

How to Do Things

Link to This Page

There is an easy-to-remember, short bit.ly link to this page.


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