Talk:Language proposal policy

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Wikinews Urdu[edit]

I'm working on Wikinews Urdu edition but It does not appearing on Requests for new languages under "Open".--Chowdhury 11:03, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

That is because nobody bothered to enter the request. Thanks, GerardM 19:29, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Prekmurian WIkipedia[edit]

Hi. We try to make a new proposal, but our en:Prekmurian dialect has no ISO code yet. What is the procedure? We also think it could pass other conditions. --Janezdrilc 19:55, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

What if someone wants to create a wiki encyclopedia in a language that "someone created in school one day"?[edit]

Where should one go for that? 192.12.88.7 04:54, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Maybe wikia.com, wikispot.org, etc. a en:Wiki farm. Some sites do not explicitly allow this, but The Rules Of Wikipedia aren't there.

Protest of rule banning simple-language Wikipedias[edit]

Why is English given special treatment with a "simple" wiki? Why not allow "simple" language wikis in languages other than English? Rickyrab 05:12, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

(The following items have been copied from the archive for 2008.)

Thanks for your reply. The difference here is that Esperanto has a valid ISO 639 language code, while the expression "simple", besides being invalid, is at least ambiguous (it also works in French and Spanish). Further comments? Lwyx 17:54, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Simple-language wikis are not eligible under the current policy, but that policy only applies to requests for new wikis. Existing wikis are not affected. —Pathoschild 18:20:24, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

(End copied items from 2008 archive)

Is there any real reason for banning simple language wikis, other than "We already do it"? That sounds suspiciously like "WP:ILIKEIT" (look it up in the English Wikipedia). Where does one go to suggest changes to current policy? Is the page for a new policy still active, or has it been archived? Rickyrab 05:19, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes; see Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Simple English Wikipedia and Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Simple English (2) Wikipedia. IMO, without a clear target audience and without a clear definition of what makes a language Simple, they're pointless forks.--Prosfilaes 17:02, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Link to the discussion that took place before the simple wiki proposals were banned[edit]

I would greatly appreciate it if someone could give me a link to where this discussion took place. So that I can see the arguements put forward for its acceptance and implementation. Thanks, --Île flottant 22:28, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Unfair policy[edit]

It is not fair to say "existing wikis are not affected by new policies" so there is a ancient gothic language with no native speakers a anglo-saxon-wiki with no native speakers and a latin wiki with barely native speakers and most of the editors are other language natives and only interested into classics. so the most important language for european culture, ancient greece, is ignored for years now. the incubator project is a beginning, but same right should affect all wikis, not only the new ones. every person who has only a slightest bit of knowledge about ancient history, knows that ancient greece is as important as latin, the influence on european culture and languages is incredible. I assume there are some people from the Modern Greek wiki who do not want to split it up, but it is necessary. it does not fit into the modern greek wiki as anglo-saxon texts do not fit into the english wiki. I am very sad about the lack in knowledge about the importance of ancient greece in all western cultures. --Clayman0 12:50, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Would you rather have it that projects like the Latin, the Esperanto Wikipedia are ended because of your sense of fairness ? Thanks, GerardM 11:51, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem goes much farther: For instance, I have been banned from the Bavarian Wikipedia because of my Bavarian Book Language, a historizing project based on the Bavarian of approximatety 1500-1800, to be pronounced according to present dialects, i. e. regionally differently. What now? Moreover, the major problem is that the main antagonists are by no means responsive; they are anonymous, gone with the wind ... Hellsepp 22:41, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
There is clearly a double-standard and lack of consistency here, not to mention pettiness. The case for a Gothic wikipedia is evidently less defensible than that for an Ancient Greek wikipedia, given each's relative importance in the very culture that has given rise to wikipedia in the first place. And it is to be observed that this is true even if a Gothic wikipedia is a valuable one which must stay. The decision against the Ancient Greek wiki rests on an arbitrary rule applying to all new wiki projects, which is hardly fair, as has been noted above - however this fairness should be construed in a pointless hypothetical scenario. It is very petty to enforce a cut-off date beyond which no language, despite its justifiable importance relative to the others already existing, should be allowed to be created. I don't think Clayman was advocating the dissolution of those above-mentioned languages; but that if those languages should be allowed to stay, and indeed do add value to wikipedia generally, it is absurd to rule out one such important language as Ancient Greek on the grounds of administrative pedantry - an arbtirary time-rule - then cry out that these other languages should stay - god forbid they should suffer from the same beaucratic hubris - leaving a certain language - no less important and offering scope for many great things - to be tossed aside as of less importance and as being beneath the regard of wikipedia generally. And what a loss it is to a project which is clearly in debt to the achievements of this language. For Ancient Greek is without doubt a language of scholarship, and the people in power in this project, which clearly makes pretences at scholarship, apparently rub their nose at the language. I'm baffled at such pedantry and self-importance. Perhaps I should take up Anglo Saxon in order to satisfy my illogical desire for moribund appendages to wikipedia. And perhaps also I should found a new city with a handful of citizens speaking passable Ancient Greek so that the administrative pedants here can tick the box for 'living, and not historical, language'. Of course, I will be sure not to create the city after 2 o'clock so as not to upset any chronological fastidiousness. 124.170.11.226 07:55, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Why is it necessary that a new language have sufficient speakers? Sufficient for what exactly? The worst that can happen is that the new Wikinews language will rarely have any new articles, which is already the case for half of the existing Wikinews languages, and I don't see anyone complaining. Why should it bother someone that an Ancient Greek Wikinews isn't active enough? Why not just let those who are interested in starting such a project go ahead and do it? If they want to invest their time in community-based collaboration, why stand in their way?

the dialects[edit]

qoute:

"The language must be sufficiently unique that it could not coexist on a more general wiki. In most cases, this excludes regional dialects and different written forms of the same language."

i need to know how Egyptian arabic wikipedia had ceated if it is just an arabic dialect?! any Arab can understand the Egyptian dialet and any Egyptian can understand the standard arabic. the standard arabic wikipedia is a general wiki for all of Arabs, and there is no need for other wikipedias. if you need to create a wikipedia for every arabic dialect, then you should to create a more than 50 wikipedias --عباد مجاهد ديرانية 13:42, 1 June 2010 (UTC).

Egyptian Arabic is considered a separate language from Classical and Gulf Arabic by the Summer Institute of Linguistics who created the ISO 639-3 language list, and that opinion is shared by many linguists. In general, Wikimedia has deferred to ISO 639-3 on the existence of languages to reduce the amount of argument about the creation of projects in languages that are also described as a dialect of another language. Wikipedias are only created on request, so these Wikipedias won't be created unless there's someone interested in creating them.
For what it's worth, the ISO 639-3 list for Arabic lists 30 languages subsumed under the general name Arabic.--Prosfilaes 00:17, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

you are not Arab so you don`t know what is the diffrent between the standard arabic and the Egyptian dialect. first, in fact, the diffrent between the standard arabic and any arabic dialect is the same, but may you had accepted on the Egyptian one more than the others because its speakers are many (65 millions).

there is no any letters, Harakat, or even sounds (except the "g", which exist in many arabic dialects) in the Egyptian dialect that it is don`t exist in the standard arabic, and most of diffrences between them is minor. such as the word "jamal" (camel), which is in the Egyptian "gamal".

quote:

In general, Wikimedia has deferred to ISO 639-3 on the existence of languages to reduce the amount of argument about the creation of projects in languages that are also described as a dialect of another language.

you are not Arab, so you don`t know what`s the diffrent between Egyptian and Arabic. i am Arab and i don`t have to ask a linguistic to know what`s the diffrent between the arabic dialects, it is more simple than that. for example, you don`t have to ask a physicist to know that if you throw a pen it will fall again on the ground or will keep flying!

and i say again: "if you need to create a wikipedia for every arabic dialect, then you should to create a more than 50 wikipedias". the request is obvious: "The language must be sufficiently unique that it could not coexist on a more general wiki. In most cases, this excludes regional dialects and different written forms of the same language.". ask any Arab and he will tell you that the standard Arabic wikipedia could be a general wikipedia for all of Arabs, and there is no need for other than it --عباد مجاهد ديرانية 11:30, 5 June 2010 (UTC).

All of which has nothing to do with how the Egyptian Arabic wiki was created. You have one opinion, SIL has another, SIL is made up of professionals and their opinion underlies the system of language codes we use, so it was accepted.--Prosfilaes 04:44, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Simple German[edit]

I'm here on account of some people on the simple English saying that they would like a Simple German Wikipedia. IanP 03:01, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Contact me on my Simple English talk page under the same name. IanP 03:01, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

If there is no language code...[edit]

The guidelines for eligibility declare that "If there is no valid ISO-639 code, you must obtain one.", but, how do we obtain one? This info was never given. Wōdenhelm 01:22, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Give up. Wikimedia never concern minority rights. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 02:51, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
I laughed because it's true, I cried because it's true. But, how would I obtain one? Wōdenhelm 21:16, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
First, please check whether you are "expert" enough to do it. If you still do not have a “linguist”-title, please send some money to Jimmy Wales to obtain one. Then turn to step two. ––虞海 (Yú Hǎi) 15:54, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Right. It's the only multilingual website on the web to support languages like Navaho and Cherokee and Venda, but they say no to your usage of their webservers (which you have no right to), and suddenly they don't concern themselves with supporting minority languages.--Prosfilaes 20:49, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
The ISO 639-3 change submission page. Be prepared to justify your request within the framework of ISO 639-3; it is nigh inconcievable that any Earthly language doesn't fit inside an existing language family tag, and it's quite likely it's already considered part of an existing language tag. If you name the language here, it's possible someone could tell you what the existing tags are and give you an estimate of how likely SIL is to accept your changes.--Prosfilaes 20:49, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Specifically I'm needing to have Appalachian English recognized with an ISO code so that I can propose a Wikipedia be opened in this unique dialect, as well as proving an Appalachian version of the Ubuntu Linux interface (to form a language team, they require an ISO code as well). It has a different grammar from Standard English, much custom vocabulary, as well as pronunciations which cannot be reflected in Standard spelling (thar, doln, enyhal, etc). I figure the differences are probably about on par with those of Scots. Wōdenhelm 13:34, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Also, I've seen where Low Saxon has the language code nds-nl on here. How feasible do you feel it would be, to try to propose Appalachian English using (for example) en-app, without a separate ISO code? (assuming Appalachian would be included under the en code, and the -nl suffix after nds was Wikimedia's creation) Wōdenhelm 10:28, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't believe that they're opening any more Wikis without ISO 639-3 codes, so no en-app. Try filling out the ISO 639-3 change request and see what type of response you get.--Prosfilaes 07:40, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
No joke: Create your own Bible, and you will have your own language code! Hellsepp 22:52, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
A successful attempt to optain a code by a Wikipedian: [[1]]. Normally there is at least one professor of a linguistic subject among the requesters.--Sannaj (talk) 16:26, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Dead languages bundled with the modern equivalent?[edit]

I think the text quoted below is very absurd (the bold text is especially absurd part I think):

"Only Wikisource wikis in ancient or historical languages are accepted, because there are no living native communities to use other resources. Where possible, such languages should be bundled with the modern equivalent (such as Old English with English), though that is not required."

Why are dead languages bundled with the modern equivalents allowed? Wikis in dead languages bundled without the modern equivalents can be run if there are experts enough; and wikis in dead languages bundled with the modern equivalents cannot be run if there aren't experts enough. I think the current policy was created to give privilege to some dead languages that are loved by modern "majorities". For example, Old English and Latin are favored by people from powerful countries. This is some kind of politics!

I think both "DLs bundled with the MEs" and "DLs bundled without the MEs" should be equally allowed or not in the future. --Yes0song 16:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Huh? How does it give privilege to some dead languages?--Prosfilaes 06:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Wrong question[edit]

The real problem is that eventually we will have to financially stimulate loads of projects, than to fear that the variants of XY might become to many. Is it not strange that stone-dead artificial languages (not Esperanto, e. g., a really vibrant project, supported also by me) pretend to have 50.000 articles - i. e. from the automaton -, whereas really existing and vivid supra-regional languages, e. g. in Africa, have a hard time with struggling with everyday sorrows? Hellsepp 23:09, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Translation in french[edit]

Hi,

I just translate the Language proposal policy in french (Language proposal policy/fr). Fell free to read and correct it.

Cdlt, VIGNERON * discut. 14:17, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Merci beaucoup ! SPQRobin (talk) 17:38, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
De rien, j’en avais besoin pour les wikisourciers.
You’re welcome, I need it for the wikisourcers.
Cdlt, VIGNERON * discut. 20:38, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Localized versions of the template {{lc-navigation}}[edit]

I think it should be possible to use localized versions of the template {{lc-navigation}} (as example, {{lc-navigation/ru}}). Please add code for lc-navigation subpages using in the source. --Kaganer 21:38, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Any reply? --Kaganer (talk) 21:21, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Not many people really watch this talk page, it could've been better to talk to someone directly :-) Anyway, I think you should be able to add it yourself.. I did so now so you can change "en" to "ru" in the translation interface. SPQRobin (talk) 22:38, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Done. Thanks ;) --Kaganer (talk) 23:45, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Old language proposal policy[edit]

I'd be grateful if someone provides me with a link to old language policy. Bli med (talk) 14:50, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Localization requirements[edit]

From the policy:

The MediaWiki interface is available in that language. While it would be even better to translate the entire interface, for a first project in a language you only need to localise the "most used MediaWiki messages". These are the messages that are of most importance to our readers. For any subsequent project in a language, all the core MediaWiki messages and the messages of the main extensions used by the Wikimedia Foundation need to be translated. It is expected that the community of the first project has maintained and improved the localisation and consequently it should be no hardship.

I just talked to User:Shijualex a fair bit, who as you may know has been working with the WMF team on nurturing growth in Indic language Wikipedias (he's recently left his WMF job but continues to be involved). Shiju told me about his experience trying to help grow Assamese Wikisource, and he said the heavy localization requirements were a major factor contributing to the failure (so far) of getting the project off the ground.

Specifically, the jump from "most used MediaWiki messages" (489 messages) to "MediaWiki + extensions" (4764 messages) is almost a 10x increase. When you have a small community in a language that's excited about a new project, that's a very daunting task. Shiju says that completing 500 messages with a small team was possible through a one day workshop. If that order of magnitude is realistic, we're talking about a small group of people literally working non-stop for 8-10 days to complete this requirement.

Shiju says that one volunteer he talked to told him he felt that WMF was trying to recruit people as unpaid translators using the promise of a wiki as a front. Indeed, that would be my suspicion as a volunteer if I encountered similar requirements from a large corporation.

According to Shiju, in spite of all this they did complete the requirement, but by the time they were done, most folks had lost interest in working on the project, so they were told that the project lacks the momentum to go forward.

If that's all a reasonable representation of what happened, I would suggest at least reducing the requirement somewhat. With an ever-increasing number of deployed extensions that may or may not be relevant to the project that's being proposed, localizing all of them does feel like an unreasonable chore to me. How about either creating a set of "most used extensions" as the next phase of localization completeness, or focusing on the extensions that are actually needed by a project (e.g. ProofreadPage for Wikisource)?--Eloquence (talk) 19:33, 14 November 2012 (UTC)


I assume the real problem in Language proposal policy is, policy still seeing things only from Latin language perspective where these type of policies will work . But when you come to non-latin languages (at least for Indic languages) the case is different. New users are not coming to wiki to localize mediawiki messages. Apart from the most-used mediawiki messages, most the messages are too technical for a new language wikipedian which will just ensure they will lose interest in the project itself.
Instead of the current boring and frustrating task if we are putting some additional requirement like:
  • digitize 500 pages of an old book (for Wikisource), or add 1000/2000 words (for wiktionary), or add 500/1000 Proverbs (for Wikiquotes) in the respective incubator wikis
  • bring in at least 5-6 new active users who are interested in a particular project
that not only make sure we have sufficient members (that is more important from WMF's perspective) to start the project, we will have sufficient good content also to start with. The current policy is frustrating for all the languages (as most of these are small languages) where sister projects will be created in the future. And most of these languages are small in terms of the number of speakers also. For big languages this is not an issue as sister projects were already created in the past.
The most important thing is, new users are coming to a language wikipedia because of their love for their language. (All the other reasons (including free knowledge, FOSS and related things) that we cite in Wikimedia world are secondary (or irrelevant) to most new Indic language wikipedians). From WMF's perspective our aim is to build community and the content in the respective language. So our policies should be supporting that. But the current policy is not at all helping for that.
As community grows localization and other related things will be taken care by the respective community members. That is natural. Forcing localization restriction is not good either for that language or for WMF. --Shijualex (talk) 03:02, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Translation is not an easy task. When I first edited in Malayalam Wikipedia, most of the interface messages were in English. Later in 2006 we started a translation project locally. Even now we are not able to tranlsate some mediawiki-core messages. Our translations are still evolving. Placing ~5000 messages to translate to a community is not helpful and may also lead to bad tranlsations. IMO limit the essential translation requirement to some ~1000 messages. Let community grow, other than putting hard hurdles infront of them.--Praveen:talk 04:41, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

The requirement for localisation exists for a reason. It exists because it has been recognised that the lack of localisation is one key factor in why people do not contribute in their language. When you follow the growth of projects, there is a relation between the quality of the localisation and the retention of people, the growth of articles.
The existing requirements are a compromise as it is. The most wanted messages are the ones that are most in your face. They are all core messages. The original requirement for a subsequent wiki was ALL extensions. The most wanted messages are reevaluated on an annual basis. The WMF grows its software and consequently there are always new and changed messages in the second group.
The Assamese wiki exists for a long time. SADLY many people start the localisation of their project on their project and not on translatewiki.net. This is not good. When people localise at twn they will benefit on other projects including Commons. Translatewiki is a success for many reasons but one of them is also the requirement of localisation for subsequent projects. The other day someone new came for the Maori language; this is a dead duck that may start to swim.
There is no localisation restriction for from it. If you want a project you localise. If you want your language to do well localisation is a must have thing. Thanks, GerardM (talk) 06:36, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
This is a lot of talking but no answer. People have real concerns. Please address them. Tell me, out of the current top 100 projects, how many were required to localize over 1000 messages before they started to see any growth? This policy has been in place for a long time, it is not a "compromise", rather it is failed. unsigned comment by 98.191.187.4 (talk)

I should say I am very much disappointed by this type of reply. As I mentioned else where, when new users are coming to their language Wikipedia their interest is NOT to localize mediawiki messages. Most of the things you told will not make sense from indic language perspective (might be the same case for other small world languages also).

//It exists because it has been recognised that the lack of localisation is one key factor in why people do not contribute in their language.//

Citation needed for these type of statements. If that is the case WMF should just employ few translators to finish off the translations of mediawiki messages. Rest of the things will happen naturally as per your argument. I must say there is some thing seriously wrong .

Instead of pushing translation of MediaWiki messages, policy should concentrate on some new requirements (I gave few suggestions above) that will bring more language speakers (and content) to the respective incubator wiki.--Shijualex (talk) 07:59, 15 November 2012 (UTC)


While I understand that there are certain techical requirements to be followed regarding the translation of core+extension messages, this approach does not help the non-indoeuropean languages because, like Shijualex said, translating almost 5,000 messages, which use a lot of technical terminology that might not even exist in the destination language, is a huge burden. True, all message translation must be done at TranslateWiki.net but forcing all languages through such a process that is naturally easier for indoeuropean languages is indeed exclusionist, as it will woo potential contributors away at the snap of a finger. We could do something to help facilitate this, instead of becoming a wall. --Maor X (talk) 14:29, 4 December 2012 (UTC)


There are a lot of MediaWiki extensions used by WMF which don't need to be localized for small languages. CheckUser and similar, bureaucratic interfaces are useless if user doesn't know English. Thus, there is a lot of space for reducing localization requirements. --Millosh (talk) 07:41, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Take Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil or any other Indian language wikipedias, most of them started with English interface. But now almost all have pretty decent localized interfaces. This is not because of language policy but because volunteers discussed each other and reached some consensus on words. This process need much more time. Unlike European languages, most Indian language have no reference for finding translation. They have no translated applications, probably not even sites in their language. I haven't met any Indian yet who use google's or facebook's localized interface, because translations are kind of dictionary translations and so become very funny. Infact you can find influence of Wikipedia interface in other sites (I observed such influence in Malayalam and Tamil).
Poeple want to edit wikies and add contents, not translatewiki. I personally like translatewiki and maintaining mediawiki related Malayalam translations there. But I would like to let any one who wish to translate locally even after describing advantages translatewiki. I see nothing SAD there, I feel that Assamese community is small one, so they may not capable to watch and review two wikies. If translations happened locally then translatewiki need some mechanisms to import such localizations. Please remember that policies are for people.--Praveen:talk 09:17, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

I totally second Shiju that the restrictions are to be revisited and reformatted. Although there is no doubt that translations are certainly necessary or rather inevitable, We need to also understand, at what stage of a project the community has the requirement and expertise to take up the localisation task.

For a small community like Sanskrit, where the total number of active contributors is around 10, we put our best efforts to get 5000+ translations done in a short span of time. Later we realise that most of them are not used by the community regularly at all.

More importantly the whole motivation behind this was to start newer projects like wikiquotes which means a lot for a heritage language like Sanskrit. But we see that even after months the project is still in incubator which is pouring cold water on our fire of enthusiasm.

So in my opinion, the language policies and their requirements are to be made more clear keeping their usefulness to the projects as a priority. Translations could be taken up in phases once a reasonable community activity and content development is done. SumanaKoundinya (talk) 10:10, 15 November 2012 (UTC)


I'm an Assamese wikimedian trying hard with some others to bring out "Assamese wikisource". I totally agree with Shiju that as community grows localization and other related things will be taken care by the respective community members. We finished the interface messages used in wikipedia in last year only when the community became active. When a project flourishes, the contributors will automatically try to finish the translation jobs or other things. There should not be such hard and fast localization requirement policies for a small community like us and if the policy makers can't get away with it then only those messageses required for a particular project should be provided, not thousands of them. This and the reluctance to approve our project is really hampering the interest of the community members. Gitartha.bordoloi (talk) 16:06, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I too second the proposal of loosening the criteria of translation for opening a new project. All things stated in favour of this are very relevant as far as my experience of working with Assamese Wikipedia goes. To that, I would like to add that in India, since English is used as a second language in schools, and generally all computer works (specific terms about computers) use English, hence new users don't find Engish very hard to follow, rather very frequently, translated terms become difficult to comprehend as users are more versed with the commonly used English parts. The concern that English messages will deter local speakers scenario actually gets reversed here. Secondly, new members want to contribute content, not get bogged down by nitty-gritty of rules. I very much understand the importance of rules here, but from my experience of trying to attract new members to Assamese Wikipedia I can say that when we try to encourage people to take part they want to engage meaningfully in providing contents. Though the translations are an important part for the functioning of the project, but for new users they seem less meaningful, and unnecessary. To keep the fun and spirit of Wikipedia alive, it is important that users should be given a chance to participate first, then once they get involved we can encourage them for the translations. So, I would support the motion to loosen the translation requirement for new Wiki Projects.উদ্দীপতালুকদাৰ (talk) 20:33, 15 November 2012 (UTC)


Let me share my experience in translating Interphase messages to Samskrit. Recently we planned to work on Sa wiki quotes. We were informed to translate 4500 messages to bring this project out of incubator. Two of us started with this. To be frank, I just felt like quitting this most boring job once for all but for my love towards Samskrit.
First of all we could not understand completely what exactly the message wants to convey. And it was absolutely impossible to get the correct technical words in Samskrit. Somehow we have finished the work with utmost difficulty just to show that we have done. I am well aware that translations are not up to the expectation and we are supposed to go through many of the messages when we are well equipped with its correct meaning and with appropriate Samskrit words.
Please understand that this is not the way to proceed with new projects with less active members. It does not really help the cause. Be more practical and cooperative in helping small communities to start new projects. -Shubha (talk) 11:23, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

From the messages posted by actual users who worked on these messages, we can understand that how frustrating and demotivating this mandatory translation exercise is. As pointed out by them, the logic of "system message translation will bring more readers/editors to wikipedia" is not only illogical but it is also a set back for small language communities when they are trying to attract more people to the respective language wiki community. So this policy need to refined in such a way that, while through policy we can ask for a minimum level of mandatory translation of media wiki messages, we can bring in some new requirements that actually make sure more language speakers will be attracted to the respective incubator wiki. I will place my suggestion at the bottom of this thread. Hope we will be able to find a good solution which is beneficial for wikimedia movement and the respective small language wiki communities. --Shijualex (talk) 18:22, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

A chicken and egg scenario[edit]

Fact 1: To a typical new (editing) user, the perspective on Wikimedia projects as a whole is much much different from that of an experienced/familiar user. To him, Wikipedia is a single large place where anything that amounts to knowledge is placeable. S/He does not know that WM has different realms (i.e. projects) for different contexts (such as Wikisource, Wiktionary, Wikiquotes etc.). Instead of making it more enthusiastic, that information sometimes makes him actually more nervous at first. He gets worried and confused on which realm he should contribute his favourite content or whether he should contribute at all!

Fact 2: Unlike English (or other large) Wikipedia, most budding Wikipedia projects are not just the typical 'modern knowledge' providing reference shelves that caters more to the day-to-day science or social information. To many communities, a significant aspect of richness in (their) language is attributed to the traditional literature, idioms and other language specific assets.

For eg: I myself, as a reader, may want to refer to an en.wiki article to update my knowledge on a typical subject such as a national event, a biochemical pathway or on an electronic circuit. Nevertheless, as an editor, I may rather love to spend more of my time contributing to the local language alter-Wikipedia (i.e. a suitable WM project but not Wikipedia itself). To some extend, for me, even an English user interface is all right to begin with so long as I can continue to add proper local language content to the project.

Fact 3: In a country like India, within various communities, people use their own local language for social interaction and common life. However, at large, beyond the primary school level, the media of education and reference is often in English. Although everyone wishes they should have the ability and facility to provide the same in their local languages, it is never getting easy due to various factors such as:

a) the difficulty in coping up with the rapid expansion of 'modern knowledge' and the resulting growth of new vocabulary, phrases and semantics.
b) the lack of political and social structures to evolve or adapt or enforce standards in language practise on an ongoing basis.
c) the higher potentials in employment and life opportunities on having acquainted and well versed with a wider language (like English and in some subregions, Hindi/urdu) than one's own local language.
In addition, when it comes to the computer environment,
d) the lack or shortcomings of availability and accessibility of computing interfaces at various technical and linguistic levels for one's own local language.

Therefore, it so happens that in the beginning, there is a very very small set of 'experienced' (or English enabled and technically empowered) users who may begin with a project until it accumulate some amount of content.

On the waiting, there is a large set of potential contributors who can add content if only the following parameters are satisfied:

a) They can already look upon and use some content to begin with. Such content help them to understand a model as well as to visualize the large picture and scope of the project. In fact, that is the point where a fresh user gets his maximum motivation and urge.
b) An easy interface (both in terms of technical accessibility as well as linguistic comfort). [ This is relatively secondary as some initial users can be comfortable even with an English interface].
c) A self-assurance that their contributions are actually going to be used and improved upon by a larger mass. [This happens only when more visitors reach the site and come to know of its existence and worth.]

At this point, we have a catch-22 situation. Should we wait for the translations to be done at first and then lure people into our new projects? Or, on the other hand, to begin with, get the whole project some form, self-existence and content but with a rather under-developed translation framework and then as it evolves, align to the generally accepted global standards?

A newly introduced non-English contributor knows not much about the intricacies of Wikipedia policies and development cycles. His sole interest at first, is to somehow help his language (and the Wikipedia) stand up on its own with all its assets and traditions. In doing so, as a very unique initiator and builder, he finds great pride and self-satisfaction.

How can Wikimedia Foundation then help them?

I suppose, WMF should loosen up the regulatory strings a little bit on its incubation and translation policies, at least for deserving language communities. It will let the first wave of few contributors (who are capable of using the initial UI Language set and other frameworks to start up the work anyway). Matured translation of interface and other structures will then evolve by itself and get in tact over the time with some continuously monitored assistance from higher ups.

Somehow, it always echoes to my ears, those very familiar quotes:
(1) "Wikipedia is like a sausage: you might like the taste of it, but you don't necessarily want to see how it's made."
(2) "Ideally, our rules should be formed in such a fashion that an ordinary helpful kind thoughtful person doesn't really even need to know the rules. You just get to work, do something fun, and nobody hassles you as long as you are being thoughtful and kind."
(3) "Frankly, and let me be blunt, Wikipedia as a readable product is not for us. It's for them. It's for that girl in Africa who can save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around her, but only if she's empowered with the knowledge to do so."
These and other similar lines are available at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jimmy_Wales.  :-)

ViswaPrabha (വിശ്വപ്രഭ) (talk) 13:21, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Reducing messages[edit]

Copying comment from above:

There are a lot of MediaWiki extensions used by WMF which don't need to be localized for small languages. CheckUser and similar, bureaucratic interfaces are useless if user doesn't know English. Thus, there is a lot of space for reducing localization requirements. --Millosh (talk) 07:41, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

We currently require these extensions, which together have 1907 messages. I agree that we can think about removing some of the extensions from that list, examples:

  • centralnotice: Only technical interface, managed on meta
  • from centralauth: All interface parts which are shown to stewards only
  • featuredfeeds
  • gadgets: very technical; if wikis use it, the sysops probably speak English well enough
  • ogghandler
  • parserfunctions: very technical error messages; if wikis use parserfunctions, they probably will write documentation anyway (& translate this)
  • poolcounter: just a small number of msgs, but no large practical use
  • renameuser: only used by bureaucrats
  • securepoll: seldom used

--MF-W 00:49, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Without those, what would the new total be?unsigned comment by 98.191.187.4 (talk)
Can I suggest a simple quantitative approach? How about simply suggesting that for every new project, a batch of about 500 message translations should be added, at the discretion of the community (the committee could give some advice on what extensions typically matter without setting strict requirements), to incrementally work towards completion? 500 has been quoted as a manageable size, while going from 500 to a few thousand clearly is not, and kills off new project initiatives.
I would recommend stepping away from micromanaging the project requirements and using this policy purely as a gentle measure to improve localization.--Eloquence (talk) 00:27, 20 November 2012 (UTC)


As community mature and grows they will take care of the translations. So it is better not to enforce it on community.

As mentioned above by User:Eloquence, micromanaging the project requirements is not good especially when we are dealing with volunteer community and when the community is very small. Even for the most commonly used core 489 messages it is better not to insist on the translation of all the 489 messages. Give a traget of 90% translation or so.

For a new wiki project, the current requirement says wikimedians need to finish the following set of translations:

  1. all MediaWiki messages (2856 messages)
  2. main extensions used by Wikimedia Foundation wikis (1908 messages)
  3. Collection extension for Wikisource and Wikibooks (157 messages)
  4. ProofreadPage extension for Wikisource (65 messages)

That is, the total number of messages for translation is about 4986.

The messages that belongs to the set 3 and 4 are of immediate use if the new project is wikisource or wikibooks. But even to translate that meaningfully users should be using those extensions.

I suggest to bring down the translation requirement for new wiki to 500 - 1000 messages. LC can give recommendation regarding what all messages can be translated.

Having said this, one of the most major issue regarding new projects is the challenge in building the community for that new project. According to me, an additional requirement can be added that will help these small community to attract more language speakers to the respective incubator wiki.

For example, if the community need a wikisource, they need to upload the scanned copy of an important PD book in that language and they need to digitize it (atleast 100 pages or so) using Proofread extension in main wikisource site.

Same way for Wikitionary,wikibooks, wikiquotes also we need to give some interesting task to help the community to attract those initial set of 4 or 5 important users to the respective incubator wiki and from there to the new site.

Defintely a revisit is required on the current set of requirements since most of the projects awaiting creation belongs to the languages spoken by lesser number of people. --Shijualex (talk) 11:52, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

(...) For any subsequent project in a language, all the core MediaWiki messages and the messages of the main extensions used by the Wikimedia Foundation need to be translated. (...). If the links are correct, if the number of messages to be translated is some thousands, then this is abusive, too much, Kafkaesque and has to be significantly softened. My own language has some projects and have not all them translated. On the other hand, having an own URL is not important, in my opinion Incubators can do the job. -Aleator (talk) 02:10, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

how many days should it last before a test project is successful?[edit]

we want to know how many days should it last before it is successful, for test projects.Vincentangeles005 (talk) 04:26, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Update to policy[edit]

I've made a change to the language proposal policy after Milos from Langcom encouraged me to do so, and shared it with the committee. There have been no objections from committee members, and two members of the committee expressed support for a more step-based approach as suggested in my edit. So I've marked the policy change for translation (not sure I did this correctly), and am assuming that this will be applied for new projects currently under consideration, and that Langcom will iterate accordingly.

I appreciate the support for reducing the requirements a little.--Eloquence (talk) 21:54, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I think the update is mostly fine, but I read Shijualex's blogpost today and his interpretation of it sounds very extreme, with (IMHO) ridiculous thresholds like 10 % of core messages and questionable premises like «use Proofread extension [so that] they can easily understand and translate the associated Mediawiki messages also».
I'd like to remember that a MediaWiki language won't be created in the first place unless at least 18 % of core messages are translated (in practice, the most used messages; or, something like 25 % of the total); and that the best way to ensure extensions like ProofreadPage are well translated is to check and improve message documentation (with more details and ideally screenshots).
Finally, if we really have intrinsic problems getting the interface translated in some languages, because the technical words don't exist or things like that, I have two proposals:
  • instead of abandoning any threshold just because the previous feels too hard, set a new one: the WMF could give assistance in updating the "500 most used" core messages, and adding a second "1500 most used" (or whatever) core+extensions messages (measured in a way that ensures the most used messages on e.g. Wikisource only are all included too);
  • instead of creating new Wikipedias in languages that don't even have terms to translate a good part of the interface and that are likely not very good for creating encyclopedias either, create only Wikisource, Wiktionary or Wikiquote in those languages, or whatever project there is a written literature for (for instance we have some minor languages in Italy that are very hard to populate with encyclopedia entries but would have enough literature for a Wikisource); keep a good threshold for the "second project" eligibility but exclude some non-Wikipedias from the count of the "first project". --Nemo 17:45, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I definitely agree with your last point, the first project in a language does not always need to be Wikipedia.
The most-used messages should always be translated completely before a first projects in a language (regardless of whether that is Wikipedia, Wikisource, ...) can be approved. That is, as the policy update says, a "baseline" which should not be undercut. If there are 5 or 6 messages not translated yet at the time we are looking at the completion, ok, but anything else cannot be acceptable.
Then, for more projects, "we ask that you show evidence that localisation is continuing to be improved and maintained at a reasonable pace". I realize that this is super-open to interpretation, but it obviously does not require all core + WMF-extensions as before nor does it say "just do 10% of the core" and it's okay ... There is a page on translatewiki, which (iirc) says "if you only do 10 translations per day, you can be finished quite quickly". So if requests come up where the localisation is not near completion, I'd have a look at the translation activities on translatewiki & the translation state of extensions that are of particular interest for the particular project (like ProofreadPage for Wikisource) to opine whether that is sufficient localisation. Surely, other langcom members will do the same & we can then form a consensus to tell the community in each case what we think they would still need to translate; they then can discuss with us if they think we are mistaken etc. --MF-W 18:26, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Unfair[edit]

What about languages in ISO 693-6?--Seonookim (talk) 23:37, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Literary languages[edit]

I would propose to allow literary languages for the creation of Wikimedia Projects (meaning Wikipedia, Wikibooks, ...) as well, with similarly requirements as for artificial languages. It is important to distinguish literary languages, like Latin or Classical Chinese from ordinary "dead languages" like Middle English, since the first is still in use in some writing, although they do not have native speakers any more. There are a number of reasons for this proposal:

  • Equality: There are already Wikimedia Projects in Latin, Classical Chinese and Old English, so someone who wants to set up a Wikimedia Project in Ancient Greek or Classical Japanese might wonder why he is not allowed to do so even if in the case of Classical Japanese the Language is still in use in older parts of the enacting law and some poetry, while Old English would have probably not been used to write a encyclopaedia the time it was spoken.
  • Definition of "spoken" languages: Even in a languages like English, the language used to write e.g. Wikipedia articles differs from the way of talking on the street and for example German uses some different verb forms in written speech (Subjunctive mood, past) them in colloquial one ("würde"-form, perfect). This goes on to Tamil and Kannada witch exhibit great differences between the spoken and written form, so its difficult to examine whether this languages are actually allowed based on the current policy.
  • Fairness: Under the current policy a world auxiliary language is better off them a literary language used in some way for the same purpose but is derived from some now extinct way of speaking instead of being artificial.
  • Fitting into the concept: Wikimedia projects are aimed to provide free knowledge in a form witch is most comprehensible for anyone. Literary languages are aimed to be used for texts with a geographical and temporally enlarged and neutral way, so a text written in Latin can be understood most Western countries and it also does not emphasises on a certain group of speakers and the text is greatly independent from the language development.

Of course I can understand the overall logic behind rejecting "death languages". Therefore there needs to some prove for literary languages, that this languages enjoyed a great literary tradition and is still employed to some extend in modern writing. Also the decision on the relevance needs to be examined individually since it's hard to set up generic rules to this. --Sannaj (talk) 14:04, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Requests for comment/Language proposal policy[edit]

Someone started this RfC. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:05, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. As it's inactive, and there isn't a specific proposal, I suggest to merge it to this talk. --Nemo 10:39, 23 April 2014 (UTC)