Using templates in Wiktionary

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Templates are at this moment in time the only way to easily duplicate data from one wiktionary to another.

There are two things to a template[edit]

There are two things to a template: the definition and the content of the template.

The definition[edit]

In effect, the definition of a template is typically created in the namespace Template. This means that creating an article with the title "Template:en" creates a template. If you start with creating a link Template:en, this template initially has no content, and the link is red.

This exercise can be repeated on all wiktionaries, with one caveat. Some wiktionaries use a different name for the userspace; the name is "Sjabloon" in Dutch and "Vorlage" in German. However the result is the same.

The content[edit]

The point of the content of the template "en", is to show "English" in the English wiktionary, "Engels" in the Dutch wiktionary, etc. This means that the content of a template is localised for a Wiktionary. The result is that when there is a big block of translations, in principle there is a translation in each language, the translations that use this system can be copied to another wiktionary without any necessary changes.

Indication of the language of a translation[edit]

For the name of the templates, the ISO 639 codes have been chosen. These codes are universally well known by translators. The format when using these codes is: {{xx}} where xx is the ISO 639 code.

Indication of the language of a word[edit]

On the nl:wiktionary, every word described is indicated to be part of a language with a template. The template has the format of: {{-xx-}} where xx is the ISO 639 code. The result of using a template is that a list of all words in a language can easily be generated. This list is always up to date. The only thing is, it is not alphabetised and it contains some words that are infrastructural (eg the reference to the "WikiWoordenboek:Lijst van messages".

Indication of the wordtype[edit]

A noun is a "zelfstandig naamwoord" in Dutch. Translators typically know the English word. This is why I have chosen: {{-noun-}} to indicate a noun in all languages.

In addition, using redirects, localized names can be used. I.e. {{-nom-}} is used in the French Wiktionary. Yann 18:59, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Using templates is a kludge; it is the best we have at this moment in the wikiworld but it is a kludge nonetheless. It would really help if there were a special namespace for wiktionaries that can be said to be the default, that is more related to a database. The content would follow from there.

The good news is, that it is a usable kludge and when used in all its "glory", it should be easy to convert to an eventual database structure.