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16 African Women Translate-a-thon

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About the translate-a-thon / A propos du translate-a-thon

What / Quoi
EN: 16 days to make available biographies on 16 notable African women, in at least 16 languages.
FR: 16 jours pour traduire les biographies de 16 femmes africaines notables, dans au moins 16 langues !
When / Quand
EN: Starting date: 20th of February 2017. End of challenge: International Women Day !
FR: Début: 20 Février 2017. Fin: Journée Internationale de la femme !
In which languages ?
The contest involves the translation of at least 16 articles into at least 16 local and international languages. The articles to be translated will be the biographies of African women. The idea is to translate each article into at least 16 languages.
The list of language can be, but is not limited to:
On social networks
Talk about the translate-a-thon using #16wikiwomen

List of articles to be translated


Pronunciation of each name


List of articles to be considered for the next #16


If you do not see a particular African woman that you admire who has an article on Wikipedia on the list above, please nominate her current article for translation with the next batch of #16WikiWomen.

  1. w:en:Wangari Maathai (pronunciation: /wænˈɡɑːr/ /mɑːtˈ/) nominated by Michael Graaf
  2. w:en:Deolinda Rodríguez de Almeida (pronunciation: /dˈlɪndə/ /rɒdˈri.ɡɛs/ /dʌ.ælmdɑː/) nominated by User:Rosiestep
  3. w:en:Leila Ahmed (pronunciation: /ˈllə/ /ˈɑːh.mɛd/) nominated by TMagen
    Nice one ! I add to the list. Thanks. Anthere (talk)
  4. w:en:Benin Pendant Mask nominated by User:Pharos
    (The woman is w:en:Idia—the mask is an object dedicated to her and her likeness.) czar 16:21, 27 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
    Nod. I added it in the category. Dunno why it is not updating at the moment... I asked Samuel for help ! The Mask is a beauty Anthere (talk)
  5. w:en:Jacqueline Moudeina nominated by --Happolati (talk) 20:22, 2 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  6. w:en:Ama_Tutu_Muna and w:en:Yaou_Aïssatou nominated by Georges.
  7. w:en:Salome Karwah, 28, Liberian nurse, co-w:en:Time Person of the Year (2014), complications from childbirth.[1] nominated by Indexum
    it does not look like this person has an article ? Anthere (talk)


Number of people with an article on WIkipedia - comparison between Africa and Europe (Germany, France, Turkey: the three current most populated countries). Feb 2017. [2]
Percentage of women and men, born in Africa between 1800-1999, with an article on Wikipedia. Feb 2017.
Occupation of women born in Africa between 1900-1999 and with an article in Wikipedia based on WikiData. Feb 2017.

EN : Gender inequality is rife across Africa. Although much progress has been made to address these inequalities in the workplace and within society, there remains a systemic bias towards profiling women, especially with regards to information, news and knowledge, both online and offline. There are significant numbers of notable women who have shaped Africa's many societies, there are innovative business women who help to drive Africa’s many economies (formal and informal) and there are everyday realities that women and female children must face due to their gender. These stories need to sit alongside the ones of their male counterparts. Very few of these subjects can be found online, far fewer on the world’s largest knowledge repositories, such as Wikipedia.

The 16 African Women Translate-a-thon is proposed to celebrate the International Women Day, celebrated on the 8th of March 2017.

FR: L'inégalité des genres est répandue dans toute l'Afrique. Bien que des progrès aient été observés dans le cadre des inégalités existantes au niveau de la vie familiale, de l’éducation, sur le lieu de travail, en politique, il existe toujours un biais systémique en faveur des hommes, en particulier en ce qui concerne l'information, les actualités, les sources de connaissances, la représentation dans les médias, à la fois en ligne et hors ligne. De nombreuses femmes africaines remarquables ont façonné le passé des sociétés africaines. Des femmes d’affaire innovantes ont aujourd’hui un rôle déterminant, qu’il soit formel ou informel, dans le développement économique, environnemental et social de l’Afrique actuelle. Et il existe des réalités quotidiennes auxquelles les femmes et les jeunes filles doivent faire face en raison à leur sexe. Ces récits doivent siéger aux côtés des récits qui portent sur leurs homologues masculins. Mais très peu de ces contenus peuvent être trouvés en ligne, même pas sur Wikipedia, qui est pourtant aujourd’hui l’une des plus importante sources d’information globale.

Le challenge de traduction des biographies de femmes africaines est proposé dans le cadre de la célébration de la Journée Internationale de la Femme, le 08 mars 2017.

How were the articles selected ?


Well... we originally wanted to pick up 16 biographies of African women of HIGH quality. Such as 16 biographies Good Article (GA level). And guess what... it is not possible because there are actually just a handful of GA articles about African women.
Check out this query on the English Wikipedia for example ! On top of that, it turns out that most good quality articles are about South African women !

So ... change of approach... whilst we were working on the short list, a collection of visuals were published related to the occupation of African women born between 1900 and 1999. It turns out that many biographies Wikipedia about African women tends to be about actress or singers... Reflecting on that observation, we rather decided to favor diversity both in country of origin and in professional occupation. The 16 biographies finally chosen vary a lot in terms of length and of quality, but we hope they will better reflect the many cases of notability across the continent.

As a side note... 3 of the current biographies are the direct result of two projects, the Wiki Loves Women Writing Contest organized in January 2016 and the Wikipedia:WikiProject Africa/The Africa Destubathon held in fall 2016. The three articles are

Supported by


Wiki Loves Women focuses on bridging two significant gaps on Wikimedia projects – women and Africa – both in terms of content about these subjects and in terms of participation by people from these groups. The project is designed to leverage Wikipedia’s role as a global repository for the dissemination of information to achieve accessible and fair online representation of notable women in countries in Africa. In collaboration with the Goethe Instituts in 4 focus countries, it encourages the contribution of existing researched and verified information to Wikipedia with the intent of redressing the systemic bias online about women. The donated data and content specifically focus on women’s contribution to the political, economic, scientific, cultural and heritage landscape, as well as the current socio-political status of women, in each country. The project will achieve its aims by working with existing gender equality-focused civil society organisations to release their intelligence onto Wikipedia and by working with established Women’s groups and existing Wikipedia Volunteer groups to disseminate this information among the Wikimedia projects. In addition, the project encourage the activation and support of new and existing editors (both female and gender-sensitised male Wikipedians) in the focus countries (Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria).

Outcomes of the translate-a-thon


The #16WikiWomen translate-a-thon was largely successful ! It not only contributed more content for Wikipedia, but also visibility about the African women gap !
Some figures

  • Overall, 116 articles have been created based on translation from the English version. Out of those 64 are basically a near equivalent of the master article in terms of quality
  • Additionally, 39 previously existing article versions have been improved
  • The overall number of languages concerned is 44
  • Several communities created local pages on their own wiki to coordinate the effort
  • The most active linguistic communities to participate to produce high quality content were French, Spanish, Catalan, Hebrew. We also had good participation rates from Dutch, Portuguese, Punjabi, Swahili and very cool content from Igbo, Yoruba, Creole Haitien etc. (please do not be offended if I do not cite all languages ;))
  • Half a dozen other articles were also suggested and though they raised less interest from translators, they are now noticed...
  • 54 people self reported participating to the translate-a-thon ! Awesome
  • a query listed 160 participants (including 15 bots...) [1]

See also





  1. Liberian Ebola Fighter, a TIME Person of the Year, Dies in Childbirth
  2. Visualizations produced in the frame of the Workshop Wikidata SUPSI by Marco Lurati, Fabian Frei, Giovanni Profeta, Florence Devouard, Serena Cangiano, Iolanda Pensa, Laboratory of visual culture SUPSI License cc by-sa.