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Translation and localization is important in general, because it allows people who do not have knowledge of English to use computer software. MediaWiki is used, for example, to run Wikipedia in many languages, and therefore translating MediaWiki directly helps people to access free knowledge in their own language. (More about the terms at Gettext documentation and Wikipedia.)
Here at translatewiki.net we build and continuously improve infrastructure for easy localization of open source projects and free written documents. We strive to achieve our two aims.
Our first aim is efficiency. To increase efficiency of the process, we integrate tightly into the development process of the software to have small turn-around times. In addition, we develop tools to automate integration of translations. This relieves the individual translators to only concentrate in producing the best translations possible.
Our second aim is collaboration. The whole system is built on a wiki. MediaWiki is a popular wiki engine that provides the framework for building collaborative communities. We encourage translators to help each other across project and language boundaries in multiple ways, and act as a glue between developers and translators.
You do not need to know how to program. If you are familiar with wiki software, you will learn quickly how to use translatewiki.net. The only requirements are a good command of languages, a web browser and an open mind.
The flagship project of translatewiki.net – MediaWiki – is currently used in more than 300 languages. Translatewiki.net receives updates on more than 100 languages each month.