Translating the wiki

(goob) #1

I’ve seen a request from a user to contribute Russian translations of the wiki in a comment on this post.

Are there thoughts to provide a mechanism for this?

It would be good to have wiki pages in users’ native languages, but if translation is done manually there would be a lot of work each time a page in English is edited (and what if a page in another language is edited - does that feed back into English and other languages?). Version control would seem difficult.

There is a suggestion for having an FAQ directly within Diaspora on this discussions, but here I’m talking about the whole wiki text.

What are your thoughts?

Note: This discussion was imported from Loomio. Click here to view the original discussion.

(Jonne Haß) #2

I don’t particular like translated wikis, it often leads to a mess, the translations usually significantly lack behind, not only, for the reasons you mentioned. I like the approach of maintaining independent wikis, not trying to mirror any content, a lot more. We can also talk about handing out subdomains like

(goob) #3

I would tend to agree with you, simply from a practical point of view. The wikis in other languages can be informed by the English one but not dictated by it, and improvements made in those languages can be fed back to the English and other ones as suggestions, no more.

(Jason Robinson) #4

I tend to agree with Jonne here. Wiki’s are by nature always lagging behind anyway - I really see no purpose to translate to something that is likely to lag behind even more. Help pages yes, wiki no.

Help pages should be translated as they are targeted to normal users. Our wiki is for technical stuff - technical people need to understand a lot of English anyway to get around, especially in the programming world. There is a reason why programming languages are not translated either.

But of course if someone really feels they want to translate parts of the wiki, can’t stop them can we :slight_smile:

(goob) #5

The wiki contains pretty much all information now, Jason - non-technical as well as technical, including basic user guides and ‘getting started’ tips. I agree it’s the non-technical information which is more useful to translate.

(Waithamai) #6

i like the way translations are implemented in

they simply add a subpage to the english version, for diaspora wiki it would be eg. as the original page, for a german version, /es for the spanish version etc.

one can easily add a box on top of the original page that shows all available translations.

the advantage over a seperate wiki for each language is, all the content stays in the same place, just on different levels. the english version will always be the main article, so it’s not much harm if the translations are not as frequently updated as the english version.

and, of course, it won’t cause any problems to add a new language, because no extra wiki is needed to add it.

the correct language pages will be found with the search field through content, although they still use the original english title.

(Jonne Haß) #7

I think there’s no point in much further discussion. The first thing we need to decide is if we want translations in the wiki, if yes, how we implement them. I’ll start a proposal for the first thing.

Proposing to drop the wiki translations
(Jonne Haß) #8

Proposal: Allow non English content in the main wiki

Without deciding on a particular form or rules, do we want non English content, not necessarily translated one, in the main wiki? If this proposal is rejected we’re encouraging local communities to host their own wikis, giving out domains like would not be rejected yet.

Outcome: We want to allow non English content in the main wiki.


  • Yes: 6
  • Abstain: 1
  • No: 4
  • Block: 0

Note: This proposal was imported from Loomio. Vote details, some comments and metadata were not imported. Click here to view the proposal with all details on Loomio.

(Jonne Haß) #9

@seantilleycommunit no matter what method we use, if anything mirrors content at all it’ll get out of sync. The solution is to not to try mirror content. Distinct wikis encourage that IMO.

(goob) #10

I think this is something where we have to go for the most practical solution. No matter how desirable it might be to have co-ordinated translations of the wiki, unless this can be done via a tool such as WebTranslateIt, I think it’s going to be unworkable and lead to many out-of-date things appearing in different translations. I doubt whether this is possible on a MediaWiki wiki, so that means it would not be a good idea to try to keep the wiki translations co-ordinated.

I suspect therefore that it will be a better solution to have different subdomains of the wiki for different languages, which can then be developed somewhat independently.

It would probably be a good idea to have a group or mailing list for people involved in updating the wiki, so that if there is an important update, everyone can be alerted and update the wiki in their language as soon as possible.

(goob) #11

Oops, I meant to say that it would be great to have translations of the main project site as well. This can be done using WebTranslateIt.

If this were done, the first time a user visited the project site or wiki, they could be presented with a pop-up asking them to select their language from a list. This could then be stored as a cookie and used to serve up the right translation of the project site and direct them to the correct subdomain of the wiki. Hopefully.

(Airon90) #12

What about this?

(Jonne Haß) #13

I still think that aiming for word by word or even page by page translation will just lead to even more outdated stuff than localized content will contain anyway.

(goob) #14

Some people seem to think that the proposal is ‘Should there be wiki content in different languages? YES/NO.’

It’s not this: there will be the aim to have good information available in as many languages as possible whatever the outcome.

The issue is: should all those translations be available on the same site (and if so, how will that be managed to make sure everything is kept up to date)?

Or, would it be better to allow diaspora* community members from different language communities to create and manage their own content, which may differ from the English text (and perhaps be more relevant to speakers of those languages)? These could be contained in subdomains of the English wiki, for example for a German wiki.

It’s not a question of whether we should have information available in different languages, it’s a question of what is the best way to present, store and manage that information.

If we go for the translated content on one site, speakers of other languages will be restricted to some extent to keeping to the English text. If we allow separate wikis for different languages, users of those languages can create wikis that are best for speakers of those languages.

The wiki in English is only created by English-speaking community members, so it’s no more ‘official’ or authoritative than what could be created in other languages. And if we allow speakers of other languages to create their own wikis, they might for example create a page which is missing in the English version and which could usefully be translated into English to help English-speakers.

There is already one extant independent non-English wiki - Le guide du parfait débutant, a guide for new users in French. And there are probably others - certainly there have been in the past. So whether or not we keep to strict translations from English all on the one site, there can and should be information available in as many languages as possible.

(Jonne Haß) #15

This proposals intention is not to restrict non English content in the main wiki to translations of the English content, but whether about if we want to allow any form of non English content in it at all. There’s absolutely nothing said about the scope and organization of non English content, intentionally. That’s planned for follow up proposals.

(goob) #16

Sorry, I got in a bit of a muddle, thinking of the WebTranslateIt translations, which may not apply to the wiki.

But the main point I intended to make is that this proposal is not about whether or not there should be wiki content in different languages, but whether it should be collected all in the main wiki, or in different places (to be decided in a different proposal).

(Jonne Haß) #17

Alright, you do want translations in the main wiki. Next step: How.

I see a couple of options:

  1. Allow arbitrary pages with non English titles and content, for example “Häufig_gestellte_Fragen”
  2. Suffix page names with the language name, for example “FAQ_for_users_(Deutsch)”, only allow translations / interpretations of English content
  3. Nest pages under the English ones, for example “FAQ_for_users/de”, only allow translations / interpretations of English content
  4. Give each language its own namespace, allow arbitrary content inside, for example “DE:Häufig_gestellte_Fragen”
  5. Give each language its own namespace, allow only translations / interpretations of English content, for example “DE:FAQ_for_users”

I’m voting for 4.

(goob) #18

I vote for either 4, or using a different subdomain for each language.

I realise this second option isn’t strictly having the content in the main wiki, but I think a lot of people who voted on that misunderstood the proposal, and wouldn’t actually object to this. I think it would be tidier and still give the result they were hoping for.

I’m happy iwth arbitrary content. There’s nothing more authoritative about the English content - after all, some of it was written by me, and there are certainly plenty of speakers of all languages who could write better articles than I can.

(Jonne Haß) #19

@goob do you know a mediawiki extension that allows that? I thought one has to setup and maintain distinct installations of it to do that and that’s a burden I wouldn’t want to put on @dennisschubert’s shoulders.

(goob) #20

I don’t, I’m afraid. I was guided by your earlier comments, which suggested that was a desirable solution. It seems neater to me than having pages on the same topics in different languages all mixed in together, but if it would add burden to Dennis or anyone, forget it.

If you can categorise wiki content in different languages in different namespaces on the main wiki, and that gives the same kind of notional separation, that sounds like a good solution.

In either case, I vote for option 4: separate space (however this is achieved); independent content.