WikiTranslation is a proposal for a new Wikimedia project that would use MediaWiki to power a translation community. This would be useful because of the wide need of translation in our world, even for Wikimedia uses, and it would also be a good use of wiki. On the other hand, it would mean a shift from basically providing permanent information, such as encyclopedia articles, dictionary entries, textbooks, to more of a service, that provides free translation for individual needs.

How would this work?Edit

Basically, it would work this way. An English speaker wants to translate a paragraph into Romanian. He would go to the Romanian Wiktranslation ( and post his paragraph in a new article there, under the English category. A translator from EN-RO, who is part of this community, would then go and translate the document, placing it in a complete phase for the author. The author would then go and retrieve his translated work and use it. After it is retrieved, the work would go into the "extinct" phase (I can't find a better name right now), where it would be deleted off the site. Of couse, more translators could work on a work before it is completed.

Now, let's say this translator needs his own work (a 2-page report) translated in Estonian. Because he knows English, he would go and translate the work in English and then post it to the Estonian Wikitranslation, because he knows there are far more people doing EN-ET translations than RO-ET.


Intellectual propertyEdit

A big problem - if the author of a copyright work decides to get his work translated, who would the work belong to? Would the translator have his real name published to acknowledge his translation? Would the work be released under GNU FDL. Or would the original author retain his copyright over the translation and in this way the whole translation service would be done for free and for no recognition.

Win-win situationEdit

People may ask - what is the translator getting out of this if he is translating for free and maybe for no recongition? Well, in reality, it is a win-win situation. The author wins by having his work translated in the language he chooses, while the translator wins because he is promoting his language. This is similar to the process that powers Wikipedia... volunteer contributors who get no tangible benefit but who are doing this work either for fun, for love of knowledge or to promote their language online.


Please state your opinion about this project... I'd like to know what people think, either below or at this article's talk page.

Rather than simply translating random texts I think wikitranslation should also focus on translating important documents. Some works that I know of which are not available online in English are Secret History of the Mongols, most of Victor Hugo's works and many Greek Latin and Chinese texts. I think wikitranslators should focus on translating important documents, literature and source into other languages. One possible project is a new wikitranslation of the Bible.--Gary123 19:35, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

How it gonna work huh?Edit

This idea has been around for a while. Just having another wiki is not the solution, because it divides up labor, and doesnt really address the need for efficient connection/transfer between wikis. The idea as its evolved over the years must be based on a common database, accessible via all wikis. Wikicommons is the template for this, and the unified recent changes, and common login ideas are example of how far that can go. Essentially this is part of the gradual change from making MediaWikis be independently operating to making them better operate with others as a unit. (See Wikidata, and talk to Eloquence about the idea of incorporating translations into that proposal, (although thats way more ambitious)). The basic stuff as I understand it has already being explained time and time again:

  • Full UTF-8 for all wikis.
  • Abstraction of user accounts to a single database, or username listed from origin wiki.
  • Common database for fields accessible via all configured wikis. (Commons?)
  • Translation namespace, kept in the common database, and accessible for all configured wikis. Material is copied exported (like moved) to Trans:Article namespace.
Process: 1n:Orticle >> Trans:Orticle >> Trans:Desticle >> 2n:Desticle  
Better: 1n:Orticle >>> Trans:Desticle >> 2n:Desticle  
  • Sysops can remove Trans:Articles according to policy: when (sufficiently) completed, or if Trans:Articles are not translated at all, or if they contain no information as to destination. This way ensures that at least the Trans:Desticle title is translated, so that it has some purpose for being there.
  • The separate but related issue of interlinks can be addressed: Simple common interface (like listed translation requests) for soliciting help in creating multi-language links. (For existing articles that require common editing)
  • Thats it in a nutshell. Wikidata is on this track, though far more ambitious. -SV 20:52, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)