Grants:IEG/Medicine Translation Project Community Organizing

status: selected


Medicine Translation Project Community Organizing

project contact:

cfsjoland(_AT_) CFCF


grantees: CFCF

advisors: James Heilman Doc James, Jake Orlowitz Ocaasi


Organize and accelerate translation and integration of medical articles into different Wikipedia languages.

engagement target:


strategic priority:

Improving Quality

total amount requested:

10,000 USD

2014 round 1

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


Wikipedia is the most consulted source of medical information for the lay public. In many languages, Wikipedia is the only general knowledge source, and source of free health information that exists. English Wikipedia has highly developed medical content and has arranged a partnership with Translators without Borders to translate the best and most important content into smaller languages. The problem is that there are far more articles translated than we have been able to upload/integrate into the local versions, and volunteers in different steps of the process haven't been able to communicate effectively.

The translation task-force is important because Wikipedia is often the only resource available in their own language for many individuals, and through Wikipedia Zero many more have access to Wikipedia that may not even have access to other types of medical information.

What is your solution?


The aim of the project is to accelerate the translation and integration of medical articles into as many languages as possible. This includes both ones where we have translated content before and languages in which we have nearly no medical content as of yet. As it stands there is considerable enthusiasm in the work, and we have many volunteer translators and Wikipedians working on the effort. What is currently lacking is sufficient coordination between the different aspects of the project. By receiving a grant we will be able to contact further individuals and organizations, as well as coordinate between the different aspects of the process.

We want to use a community organizing model to identify the failure points in the process and create a volunteer pipeline for continual integration of medical content. The project community leader will be charged to build a network and a system for clearing the queue of translated content, as well as coordinating feed-back on how translation can be improved. A first step in this process is analyzing past experience to develop best practices which have previously worked; we also want to identify roadblocks (such as occasional local resistance to translated articles) and spend some time troubleshooting them. The next step is to expand the networks of local volunteer integrators, training them if necessary, and then regularly updating them about new medical content available in their language. There may be lightweight technical components to making this streamlined and efficient which may require a programmer, but the primary driver is going to be community organizing.

Project goals


After the grant is over the goal is to have created a base for discussing

  • Complete a strengths-weaknesses analysis of year 1 of translation integration.
  • Locate where medical efforts are being made on the different Wikipedias, and contact editors who can help out with integration.
  • Create a list of local volunteer integrators. Fill gaps in languages with no local integrators, with the aim of 1-2 lead integrators in each language.
  • Develop a local integrator training kit.
  • Develop a system of rewarding and encouraging volunteer integrators.
  • Systematize (or automate) updating local integrators about newly translated not-yet-integrated content
  • Start thinking about sustainability and scale, so a future phase of the project would be self-sufficient and able to handle greater capacity in more languages and with more content
  • Get all previously translated articles out live
  • Find ways in which the translation process can be made better, leading to higher quality translated articles
  • Create a list of synonyms and most commonly used terms for articles to be translated, with the help of translators and integrators.

Project plan





Identify and analyze issues and priorities
  • Identify which languages to start translating next
  • Identify national organizations with similar goals and get in touch
  • Identify which languages/Wikipedias are in most dire need of translations:
  • Is there free material available already? If so, of what standard is the material?
  • Identify causes for failed translations and integrations
  • Identify which articles are most relevant to which language (for example not Dengue fever into Icelandic but rather Sickle-cell anemia & Malaria into Amharic)
  • Identify Epidemiology and Language spoken in high-impact areas
  • Analyze previous efforts
  • Find difficulties in the translation process
    • Source language medical editors
    • Translators
    • Target language editors
    • Readers
  • Analyze experience of editors who have been both very happy with the translation work as well as those who are critical to it
    • Identify issues
    • Invite to discussion
    • Solve disputes
    • Create a communications directive for participants at all levels
Create processes and best practices for sustainability
  • Create guidelines for how often translated articles need to be updated (Yearly? Upon sufficient updates? Upon introduction of new studies/revelations?)
  • Create easy, simple tech fixes to streamline translation
  • Recruit editors for help in identifying valuable articles to be translated
  • Find and guide integrators and proof-readers
  • Spark enthusiasm in the project from independent organizations
  • Get in touch with universities and organizations in countries with relevance to translating
  • Identify at least 1 dedicated local integrator in each of the translation languages
Organize and implement
  • Keep editors of the English medical articles up to date with what is being said and done on the other Wikipedias and where gaps exist
  • Help medical editors get in touch with local non-medical editors to integrate content
  • Troubleshoot languages with no current integrator
  • Deploy tech to automatically feed content in the translator-integrator pipeline
  • Upload best practice guides to Wikipedia



Total amount requested

  • Total: $10,000 USD

Budget breakdown

  • 9000 Community coordinator, project management, organization and execution 20-30hr/w
  • 1000 Incentives, drive/content prizes, rewards, merchandise, advertising material

Intended impact


Target audience


The audience is anyone who today may not have access to high quality medical knowledge, either due to barriers of language, cost, or geographic location. The users of Wikipedia Zero are especially relevant to our cause.

Community engagement


I will work hard to spread word of the effort to various Wikipedias, not limited to those that currently have medical content (translated or not). I'll be doing this by engaging in discussion on talkpages of medical Wikiprojects, as well as searching for any willing editors on various equivalents of the Village Pump. Further I will contact any active editors who have made contributions to medical articles in other languages.

Fit with strategy


The goal of Wikiproject Medicine is very close to that of Wikipedia:

To share the sum of all medical knowledge with every person on the planet, for free, in the language of their choosing.

In keeping with this goal we believe language should not be a barrier against getting access to the newest, most up to date, or simply best medical knowledge and recommendations. The translation work has enormous potential in spreading knowledge, but for this it is necessary to get a strong presence on numerous Wikipedias.



The goal is to create an environment where the different arms of the effort can collaborate and communicate effectively. Readers and editors should be able to request what articles they would like to have translated, and translators should be able to keep in touch with editors so as to sort out confusion and problems with the translations.

By setting up a pipeline for integrators to add newly translated content, we will build a continual process that will not need as much oversight.

Once editors and translators have a means to contact each other and have been introduced to the process, the project will have an easier time to keep rolling and will no longer get stuck in integrating new content.

Measures of success


Need target-setting tips?

  • Primary goals
    • Get at least 1 dedicated integrator in each language already translated
    • Get at least 1 integrator in new languages to be translated
    • Decrease failed translations to 0 (no content sitting in the pipeline)
  • Long term goals (secondary)
    These are goals which we believe will result from the project on a longer timescale.
    • Increase the languages translated by 50%
    • Increase the number of articles translated per year by 100%
    • Get at least 100 shortened articles translated or ready to be translated



CFCF Medical student, Göteborgs Universitet.

I've done work on Wikipedia to revitalize Wikiproject Anatomy, and improve overall medical coverage where I can. I've also overseen the integration of a number of translated articles into the Swedish Wikipedia.



Community Notification


Please paste a link below to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?



Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Community member: add your name and rationale here.
  • Support this is a very worthy cause, and CFCF has a proven history of conscientiousness editing, meeting deadlines, and working collaboratively. Stimulating the translation efforts has the potential to improve the language coverage in an extensive amount of languages, delivering information to many more users. --LT910001 (talk) 22:21, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. The medicine translation project has been active for a couple of years and its success and importance are clear. It needs a better defined and documented structure, clear areas of responsibility and some method for identifying and helping where participants are struggling. It may need a standing committee. The concentrated getting organized effort proposed here is timely. --Hordaland (talk) 01:24, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I posted comments on the talk page. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:14, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support and I posted a suggestion for a monthly dashboard, since it isn't clear to me how effective this project is nor how it can prove it's effectiveness, though I agree it's a job worth doing though it may have numerous challenges. Jane023 (talk) 09:51, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Followup on medical translation needs to be systematic and ongoing. Improving medical information is a step towards a healthier community-- literally. Djembayz (talk) 11:35, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:12, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I support this IEG because my work with Cochrane Collaboration as WiR would be enhanced by having someone take the lead on finding the most effective ways to manage medical translation on WMF projects and working on it on a regular basis. Cochrane Collaboration might have some resources to offer related to translation but would benefit from having CFCF lay some ground work in this area. Our ability to bring well referenced health information to smaller language Wikipedias might be a way to increase readership and enliven a community. I think that it is a topic worthy of support with an IEG. FloNight (talk) 17:54, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
  • support this (at either $12.5K per top, or $10K per budget, but please harmonize, then remove this bit). Important project that will need a lot of coordinating. Wiki CRUK John (talk) 15:20, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support per the previous discussions in the talk page. Mehran Debate 08:12, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Support. on medicine article are amongst the best ones, we have good users, very competent and very active, I think it is important to protect and stimulate this strategic and active sector. I've also suggested to look for reviewers for the evaluation of featured and good articles, i.e. to send e-mail to union and professional associations of doctors or nurses. We usually discuss in every evaluation the limit of translation from, and the necessary steps to be done to upgrade a translated article ( quality standards seem a little higher), so there is some know-how it may be interesting to exchange. --Alexmar983 (talk) 22:15, 16 February 2015 (UTC)