Fundraising 2011/Translation/Translator survey

These are the results of the fundraiser translator survey undertaken in January-February of 2012, which was sent out to users who had taken part in the translation of the fundraiser. In total, there were 284 respondents to the survey.



284 translators responded to the survey, 238 gave complete responses. Of these respondents:

  • 240 (85%) participated in the fundraiser translation project
  • Most translators have some sort of translation experience in the past; only 25 % said they didn't. The rest have mainly translated in Wikimedia projects (55 %) and in (31 %). 12 % of the respondents also said they are professional translators.
    • 116 (55 %) translate articles (in Wikipedia or sister projects)
    • 65 (31 %) translate software in,
    • 52 (25 %) have no prior translation experience
    • 47 (22 %) participate in other volunteer translation projects (mostly software such as Firefox, Ubuntu, Debian)
    • 25 (12 %) identify as professional translator
  • Most participants (24) claimed the English Wikipedia as their home wiki, followed by Russian Wikipedia (11), German Wikipedia (10), Spanish Wikipedia (9) and Chinese Wikipedia (8).
  • Of all participants, 96 % said they mostly contribute to Wikipedia; the second most popular project is Wikimedia Commons (31 %), followed by Wiktionary (13 %).
  • 28 % of the participants have contributed for more than 5 years, while 33 % have less than two years of editing experience.


  • Most people heard about the translation of the fundraiser from the translation recruitment banners (35 %), followed by translators-l (23 %), Translation requests (15 %) and links from the donation page (12 %). The rest heard about it from other sources, such as personal outreach, links from village pumps and other mailing lists.
  • 71 % of respondents received e-mail notifications about new material.
  • When asked about how they would like to be notified, 80 % wanted to be notified by e-mail, with talk page notification on their home wiki as the second most popular option (39 %), and talk page on Meta in third (24 %).
  • Of the people who did receive e-mail notifications, 89 % would like to be notified by e-mail. Of the people who did not receive e-mail notifications, only 57 % would like to be notified by e-mail, however this was still the most popular option.

Translation project feedback

  • The participants were asked to rate the following on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (good): The overall translation process, the translation interface, difficulty of the source texts and helpfulness of notifications. The average ratings were relatively good for all, ranging from 3.75 (interface) to 3.97 (overall process).
  • There were many suggestions for improvements in question 6; some highlights include
    • Give some sort of motivation
    • Make use of the translate extension (many people suggested this, and it is already in place to a certain extent now)
    • Making it easier to update the status of translations
    • Show the context of translations while they are translated (the translate extension will be a good help with this)
    • Improve the translation interface
    • Shorter/more concise source texts
    • Make the translation hub clearer
    • Better directions
    • Clear timeline

Future involvement

  • 220 (91 %) would be willing to translate other texts for Wikimedia in the future, while 7 (3 %) said they would only be interested in translating for the fundraiser, and 14 (6 %) do not want to translate again.
  • 190 (88 %) are willing to act as testers for future translation systems

Future actions


The results of the survey, and especially the suggestions from the participants, show many areas that could need improvement to make the translation process easier. One of the most popular suggestions was using the Translate extension, which is already in place on Meta. Other suggestions that should be acted upon are interface improvements, making the interface clearer and more to-the-point. Translators should only have to focus on translating the material, while stuff like adapting existing translations to accomodate changes in source texts should not be the translators' problem. The translation hub for the fundraiser, and also the one for general requests, is also something that needs improvement to make it easier to use and having a clearer workflow.

Another aspect that needs a framework is how people get notified. Today that is practically only done on translators-l; while that works for most cases, we feel we could reach people better with more specific targetting, like notifying people by language (some translation requests are only for a few languages). So in addition to notifying translators-l, we also want to notify users in other ways, such as targeted e-mails and user talk messages, based on their preference.