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Project Goal edit
Based on feedback from the grant committee, we have made some updates to this application, which will appear in Italics. We have also updated the project budget and timeline.
7,000 languages are spoken or signed today, but as many as 3,000 languages could disappear in a generation, erasing half of all cultural, historical, and ecological knowledge. But language extinction is not inevitable. With the right mother-tongue resources, adults can learn their ancestral languages and teach their children, raising new native speakers and keeping their cultures alive. In a word, language revitalization is possible. Sadly, a majority of endangered languages are also under-resourced, so the grassroots creation of mother-tongue materials is both a method of safeguarding cultural knowledge and a critical first step in the process of language revitalization. In that sense, mother-tongue contribution to Wikimedia projects represents a valuable opportunity for global language revitalization efforts. To date, that potential remains largely untapped. In fact, only about 5% of the world’s languages and 8% of the world’s writing systems are represented across the spectrum of Wikimedia projects, implying a significant gap in the Wikimedia movement’s mission to effectively safeguard and disseminate the sum of human knowledge on a global scale.
Our Approach edit
This project is a joint initiative between The Language Diversity Hub (LDH), a Wikimedia hub for affiliates and volunteers who are working on Indigenous, minority, marginalized, and under-resourced language communities, and Wikitongues, a Wikimedia User Group for accelerating language documentation and revitalization projects. Together, we represent a network of stakeholders dedicated to expanding language diversity across Wikimedia projects and, more broadly, improving language access across the Wikimedia movement. We host events like translate-a-thons and record-a-thons and we facilitate Wikimedia contributions in under-resourced languages.
Our core objective is evaluating how Wikimedia projects can be made more accessible in under-resourced languages, and in turn, understanding the extent to which Wikimedia projects can accelerate language revitalization. To achieve this, we will build a cohort of rising Wikimedians from up to ten under-resourced language communities, help the members of this cohort set and implement measurable Wikimedia goals for their communities, and, based on their experiences, develop a freely-available and extensively translated toolkit for anyone to add their language to Wikimedia. This document will serve as the foundation for Wikitongues and the Language Diversity Hub to support new mother-tongue Wikimedia projects on an ongoing basis, at scale.
Between August 2022 and February 2024, we will take the following steps to achieve this:
Help launch or accelerate 10 mother-tongue Wikimedia projects: edit
- Between August 2022 and September 2022, we will draw from our global user bases to identify ten geographically diverse individuals on the cusp or in the early stages of launching mother-tongue Wikimedia projects in their communities;
- First, we’ll publish an open call for cohort applicants to the Wikitongues and LDH networks, which include endangered language communities from over a hundred countries. Anyone in the world will be able to apply.
- Next, we’ll select 10 finalists based on a criteria matrix that includes: the applicant’s language vitality or endangerment level, language resource level (implying the urgency of contributing to Wikimedia), overall application strength (clear and measurable objectives), and our confidence in the applicant. We will only accept applications for projects led by community members, as opposed to outside researchers.
- We will do our best to ensure the cohort is globally representative by selecting a pool from diverse genders and geographical origins, as well as from across the urban-rural divide — representing different structural challenges for language revitalization and Wikimedia contribution alike.
- Since this is a pilot, we’ll restrict support to three types of mother-tongue Wikimedia projects: 1) creating a new language version of Wikipedia, 2) adding language content to the Wikimedia Commons, and 3) adding lexicon data to Wiktionary. At scale, this program would ideally support any other mother-tongue Wikimedia project.
- Between October 2022 and October 2023, we will work with this cohort to identify and implement measurable Wikimedia objectives, such as adding linguistic corpora to Commons, building new language editions of Wikipedia, or adding lexicons to Wiktionary.
- Each cohort member will receive a project stipend of $2,000 USD and a year of training and in-kind assistance, including: support for setting and refining their community’s Wikimedia objectives, onboarding to Wikimedia guidelines and best practices, technical training, an introduction to project management and fundraising, and networking opportunities.
- The success of each project will be evaluated according to goals and impact metrics set by each cohort member (with advice and guidance from Wikitongues and LDH). However, we can expect the following output: for new Wikipedia editions, up to 30 articles each, for Commons projects, up to eight hours of audio recordings (or a written equivalent) each, and for Wiktionary projects, up to 5,000 lexical items (words, phrases) each. Moreover, since each cohort member will be the leader of a community project, we can expect up to 100 people directly involved (up to 10 people per project).
Evaluate the process of mother-tongue contribution for Wikimedia projects and identify pressure points that make it hard for smaller communities to get involved: edit
- Between October 2023 and December 2023, we will survey the aforementioned cohort about the challenges that each member faced in adding their language to Wikimedia, from the technical hurdles of learning to use Wiki software, to potential structural obstacles within the Wikimedia movement. (It should be noted that part of this research will take place as part of an already-proposed LDH project to identify the technical and structural challenges that smaller-language Wikipedias face. See more below: Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project?.
- By January 2024, we will publish the results of this survey on MetaWiki.
Produce a free toolkit for mother-tongue contribution to Wikimedia projects, translated into major lingua francas for global accessibility: edit
- Between January and March 2024, we will distill the survey results into a toolkit that guides new and rising Wikimedians through the structural process of joining the movement and the technical process of adding new languages to Wikipedia, the Commons, and other core Wikimedia projects;
Between March and April 2023, we will translate this toolkit into the following lingua francas for cross-cultural accessibility: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic (MSA), Mandarin, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Swahili, and Japanese.Based on feedback from the grant committee, we have removed this element from the project. Localizing the toolkit will take place in a later phase, after we have evaluated and likely improved upon the document’s quality. However, we will dedicate project resources to real-time interpretation resources for major lingua francas, in order to make the cohort more accessible. The exact lingua francas we support will depend on whom we select for the cohort.
- In addition to being a freely available resource, this toolkit will serve as a roadmap for LDH and Wikitongues to onboard new language communities more efficiently. It will inform a list of proposals for the Foundation to improve internal protocols that may inhibit participation by under-resourced language communities.
Project Plan edit
What specific Movement Strategy Initiative does your project focus on and why? edit
This project will focus on Recommendation 8, Initiative 37: Bridging content gaps. By identifying linguistic gaps in nearly 95% of all languages, and facilitating mother-tongue Wikimedia contributions by these local communities on a global scale, we will measurably improve linguistic representation and by extension, expand cultural and historical knowledge across the full spectrum of Wikimedia projects.
Moreover, given the intersectional nature of language, this project will impact other Movement Strategy Initiatives, most notably Recommendation 2, Initiative 11: Resources for newcomers, in that our core deliverables will include culturally accessible resources for new contributions to Wikimedia projects.
In order of relevance, this project would also impact:
- Recommendation 8, Initiative 38: Content initiatives in underrepresented communities
- Recommendation 4, Initiative: 25 Regional & thematic hubs
- Recommendation 1, Initiative: 2 Funding for underrepresented communities
- Recommendation 2, Initiative: 9 Methodology to improve the Wikimedia platform UX research, design, testing, and community engagement
What Wikimedia movement activity will your work support? edit
This project will support broad contributions to the Wikimedia movement, including mother-tongue Wikipedia creation and development, content creation on Commons, Wiktionary, and WikiSource, mother-tongue reconciliation of concept names on Wikidata, and organizing events in service of the same: specifically, edit-a-thons and record-a-thons.
If you are translating any materials or doing live translation, in what languages will you support these needs? Who will be responsible for doing the translations? edit
One of this project’s core deliverables is a free toolkit for contributing your language to the Wikimedia movement, which we will translate into major lingua francas for global accessibility. We have included a budget for hiring translators to accomplish this aspect of the project. Based on feedback from the grant committee, we have removed this element from the project. Localizing the toolkit will take place in a later phase, after we have evaluated and likely improved the document’s quality. However, we will dedicate project resources to real-time interpretation resources for major lingua francas, in order to make the cohort more accessible. The exact lingua francas we support will depend on whom we select for the cohort.
How do you intend to keep communities updated on the progress and outcomes of the project? Please add the names or usernames of these individuals responsible for updating the community edit
We will consistently engage the wider Wikimedia community by sharing our progress on social media. At the end of the project, we publish a long-form review of our findings on Meta-Wiki, which we will also present in a live-stream format. If Wikimania takes place in 2023 and we are selected, we will present on the cohort's progress; if Wikimania takes place in 2024 and we are selected, we will present our findings there. We are open to feedback from the Foundation and the wider community to discover how else we can share our learning. We will encourage all participants in the project to share progress from their perspective, but the primary responsibility of communications will fall to bogreudell of Wikitongues.
Who will be responsible for delivering on this project and what are their roles and responsibilities? edit
The daily administration of this project will be executed by a project leader, whom we will hire. Their selection will be stewarded by the LDH steering committee, which includes two staff members from Wikitongues. The project leader will be directly overseen and supported by Kristen Tcherneshoff, the Programs Director at Wikitongues, with input from the LDH steering committee.
We will cultivate a safe and supportive environment for all participants by 1) hosting a UCOC and Friendly Space Policy onboarding session with all participants, 2) offering digital “HR office hours” for participants to book one-on-one meetings with the organizers, in order to discuss concerns or air complaints, 3) offering an anonymous form for reporting problems, with guaranteed communication in English
and Hindi and other lingua francas relevant to the cohort members, and 4) requiring partners to create a mother-tongue version of this form, in order to support local HR solutions within their own projects.
With the potential exception of any locally in-person events organized by cohort members for their communities, this project will be executed remotely.
If your activities include the use of paid online tools, please describe what tools these are and how you intend to use them. edit
It is likely that we'll use Zoom Pro to coordinate cohort meetings. However, this is already paid for by Wikitongues and none of the funds from this grant would go toward that expense.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project? edit
This project will build on earlier work by Wikitongues and LDH. In November 2021, we organized a series of roundtable discussions with diverse Wikimedia contributors, including a conversation with Maryana Iskander as part of her listening tour, in order to initiate dialogue about how the Wikimedia movement could be made more accessible to under-represented communities, in under-resourced languages. Our long-term goal is to be the launchpad for new language projects, bridging a gap in the movement’s social infrastructure and growing linguistic representation from year-to-year.
As aforementioned, this project will be realized in tandem with already-proposed research by LDH. December 2021, the Language Diversity Hub submitted a Rapid Grant proposal to support an assessment of the challenges faced by new and upcoming Wikipedia projects and their communities. This research will draw from the experiences of the cohort and contribute to the development of the toolkit described in this proposal.
This project is also an extension of the Wikitongues Language Revitalization Accelerator, will run at least until 2025, and demonstrates our capacity to run a large-scale application process, distribute international grants, and manage a distributed cohort.
How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!
- Compensation for translation-related work (including preparation, meeting facilitation time, debriefing, live translation time, translation work of documents and material):
- Online tools or services (subscription services for online meeting platforms):
- Small equipment costs (such as microphones, headsets, webcam, but not larger equipment such as laptops, computers, or tablets)
|Compensation for translation-related work||$2,000|
|Interperter fees||$2000||Real-time interpetation for accessibility: approximately 100 hours @ $20/hour|
|Online tools and services||$0|
|Small equipment costs||$0|
|Community stipends||$20,000||Each cohort member will receive a $2,000 stipend to power Wikimedia contributions in their community.|
|Project leader||$15,000||Wikitongues will hire a Wikimedian-in-Residence to lead this project, under the supervision of Wikitongues and LDH staff.|
|Design and communication||$5,000||In addition to publishing the toolkit on Meta, we will design PDF editions for printing and mobile accessibility.|
|Discretionary||$3,000||Budget for unforeseen expenses|
|Subtotal||$45,000||Combined translation and other budgets|
|Overhead||$4,500||10% of project total|
- Support Wikitongues has years of excellent project history with many Wikimedia language communities. This is a reasonable budget to do modest pilot projects in several languages. The activities proposed here are well tested in the Wikimedia community. The novelty is connecting these activities across languages, and Wikitongues with the support of the new LDH is the right team to administer this. Bluerasberry (talk) 02:05, 16 February 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I've been working for Paiwan Wikimedians User Group and the other indigenous communities in Taiwan for a while. Based on my own experience, the local communities need more technical support on article editing on Wikipedia, content creation on Commons, and the other contributions on Wikimedia projects. I believe this project can help with small communities to build skills for the development of their own wiki projects. Also the participation to Wikimedia Movement help the small communities connect with the international society. iyumu 09:06, 16 February 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support This project will directly support small language Wikipedia communities especially in Africa. I endorse on behalf of the Dagbani Wikimedians User Group.Shahadusadik (talk) 09:15, 16 February 2022 (UTC)
- Support This project would be a positive step toward the UNESCO's International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032). - DutchTreat (talk) 20:13, 18 February 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I endorse this project. Zak Raha (talk) 20:40, 19 February 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support This project will help small language groups to expand. I strongly endorse this project Ruky Wunpini (talk) 02:22, 20 February 2022 (UTC)
- Yakubu Fadilatu (talk) 14:31, 20 February 2022 (UTC)I Strongly Endorse this Project
- Strong support I strongly endorse this project. Alhassan Mohammed Awal (talk) 09:55, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I strongly endorse this project Sir Amugi (talk) 10:10, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I strongly endorse this project.Munkaila Sulemana (talk) 10:28, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I strongly endorse this project. Abubakar280 (talk) 11:30, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I strongly endorse this project. Zak Raha (talk) 11:58, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I strongly endorse this projectDnshitobu (talk) 15:36, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I truly appreciate the initiation of this project. This would avail endangered languages world wide the resources to safeguard their linguistical heritage for the present and for posterity's sake. Kambai Akau (talk) 16:02, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Support This project obviously has the potency to preserve many languages of the world which are endangered. Zbobai (talk) 22:36, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support This project is the step to save so many endangered languages,it is definitely going a long way,I truly appreciate. Steve Kally (talk) 22:49, 17 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support -Yupik (talk) 19:34, 21 March 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support - Mali Brødreskift (WMNO) (talk) 10:24, 6 April 2022 (UTC)
- Strong support I'm very supportively Aliyu shabaTalk 06:57, 5 June 2022 (UTC)