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Wikipedia Language Project

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Wikipedia Langauge Project


In the latter part of 2019, Wikimedia Ghana UG partnered with Global Innovation Gathering on #InnovateMigrate, a project that sought to inform young entrepreneurs about migration from Ghana to Germany. African migration to Europe is a known problem. And often, the lack of objective information is to be blamed. The project looked for a neutral tool to inform travellers about what lay ahead. The project chose Wikipedia. Wikipedia though collaboratively written, would be far better than a website put up by go-betweens or travel agents looking to make money off migrants.

As a user group based in Ghana, a country with over 70 languages, and about 11 of them being widely used, it is tempting to advocate for language Wikipedias for each and embark on funded projects to document these languages on Wikipedia.

However, in other to truly understand the impact of our language projects, we set out to conduct this research to understand the problem with why Ghanaian languages are not doing well on Wikipedia in Ghana.

Project Overview

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The Wikipedia Language project is a research-based work focused on accessing the impact of projects targeted at new language wikis in various Ghana communities. A quick survey conducted before this Project amongst Wikipedia users, editors and new editor recruiters in Ghana indicates that many Wikipedia users in Ghana prefer the English Wikipedia to its version in the local language. Many users are also unaware of local language options on Wikipedia to start with.

This project aims to publish a whitepaper that serves as an honest opinion on the Wikimedia Foundations' investment in translating information on Wikipedia into local languages, suggesting other uses of that investment to impact information dissemination in local communities worldwide, particularly in Ghana.

Project Phase

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This project is in two phases;

  1. Research & Survey Phase
  2. Whitepaper Creation Phase

The state of the Ghanaian Local Language Wikipedia

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"The Ghanaian language Wikipedia is empty and in shambles," as described by Rexford Nkansah, a long time Wikimedian and one of the program leads interviewed during the research phase. The biggest problem is the English language priority over local languages in Ghana. The Ghanaian educational and work system treats English as the official language of exchange with low tolerance of using a local language, leaving speakers of a particular language boxed to use it or research with it only for internal or academic purposes. This hinders the growth of regional language projects in the country.

Survey

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The current phase of the project now is to conduct a nationwide survey of Wikipedia volunteer editors and readers about what they think about the Ghanaian Languages.

Next steps

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