Aug 06

Jira and apps in Chinese. 5-minute tutorial

Jira Chinese business man, growth

Doing business in China? If yes, you might want to display Jira in Chinese. Imagine you need to send a plan on a Gantt chart to your Chinese partner or deliver Mandarin interface to your Chinese-speaking employee. You’ve got a couple of options. What are they?

Occasional use of Jira in Chinese

This is when you normally speak and write in English, or other Western language, and you simply need to display your Jira incidentally in Chinese and make a screenshot for your Chinese partner, contractor or patron.

All you need is to launch your Jira in Google Chrome, then right-click and select “Translate to…”. In the pop-up that will show up, select Options > Change languages > Chinese > Done.

It’s this simple.

See the below screenshot of BigGantt for Jira. The original was in English.

Jira Gantt chart in Chinese

Jira Gantt chart in Chinese. On the fly translation by Chrome built-in translator.

Obviously, there are issues with this approach:

  • Chrome translator needs a few seconds to translate to Chinese
  • the translation may be inaccurate/artificial/is automated

There are advantages, too:

  • it works with both Jira and apps from Atlassian Marketplace, such as BigPicture and BigGantt
  • and while Jira features a Chinese language pack, many apps for Jira don’t
  • all you need to know is whether an app itself works properly in Chrome web browser

Permanent use of Jira in Chinese

With Jira Server you’ll probably want to look around for a Chinese language pack for Jira. It used to be available on translations.atlassian.com, but it’s now bundled with Jira.

With Jira Cloud you don’t even need to download a language pack. Instead, select Chinese language globally, i.e. [Cog icon] > System > General Configuration > Edit settings > Default language > Chinese

or

supply users with this instruction by Atlassian: “Individual users can manage their user profile, which will override the default language”.

Be aware, however, that most apps from Atlassian Marketplace will still use English interface, unless they feature Chinese localization.

Will Jira accept Chinese alphabet entries?

Another question is “Do fields in Jira accept Pinyin (sinograms)?”

The answer is “Yes” – since Jira utilizes UTF-8 charset, you should have no problem saving tasks’ descriptions in Mandarin, be it Jira itself or apps for Jira, such as BigPicture and BigGantt. We’ve seen screenshots from our Chinese users with sinograms displaying properly.

So, all you need is a Chinese-speaking user ;)

Conclusion

It’s important to understand the difference between the Chinese language pack and an on the fly Chinese translation. The former is a permanent solution while the latter is a temporary solution.

Another thing is that language packs for Jira could be incomplete and you might encounter a phrase that has not been translated yet. Fortuantely even then you’ve got options:

  • with Jira Server install InProduct translation plugin
  • with Jira Cloud use “Translate” option on translations.atlassian.com to supply a missing translation to the Atlassian database. That translation will show in your own Jira Cloud instance within minutes.