Background: I'm an english-speaking, francophone student. In an effort to improve my vocabulary, my MacBook has been running in French since January, when I arrived in France. Incidentally, this means that $LANG=fr_FR.utf-8. I was able to get ahold of the spell files.

I decided it would be nice if I had access to vim help in french. :help help-translated points to the translations page, which points us to this website.

Unfortunately, Safari reports it "can't find the server."

A quick google search didn't turn up anything useful either.

I did find this translation from 2017, but it appears to be the error messages only and is not a drop-in bundle of help files per :help itself--it appears it may have to be compiled in?

Question: Where are the vim help files in French? Do they still exist? If not, will someone get them back online so I can use them? (I would gladly put them in a GitHub repo somewhere so they persist for eternity).

Here is the relevant post on the vim_dev mailing list.

N.B. vimtutor fr works just fine.

  • 1
    I remember about a translation... Ages ago. You should ask the question on vim_dev mailing list, you'll be more likely to run onto people that know, or used to know about it. Apr 22, 2018 at 13:55
  • Good suggestion @LucHermitte will do
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Apr 22, 2018 at 16:42
  • 1
    I have set up a workbase to update the translation. framagit.org/fabienhinault/vimhelp-fr . Not sure that I'll have time/energy to make it all, thought.
    – Fabien
    Oct 14, 2020 at 15:00
  • @D.BenKnoble I thought gettext was supposed to auto-generate translated help files in other languages. Is it that it doesn't support French or is gettext not incorporated in vim (i.e., I knew wrong)?
    – 3N4N
    Sep 23, 2022 at 11:46
  • 1
    @kadekai gettext is used for error messages and similar. The help files are maintained manually or not at all IIRC. possibly they are generated though.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Sep 23, 2022 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


The answer, for the moment, seems to be:

There isn't one (at least, not past vim 6).

As mentioned on vim-dev by the former maintainer, a very old archive has been put up at dindinx.net. The current French maintenance is only messages, tutorial, man pages, and gvim menus.

Efforts are underway to find a more up-to-date version, and to possibly host somewhere.


Some old debian packages. The most recent ones I was able to find.

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