Translating:MediaWiki/Basic glossary: Preface


This page includes some detailed background information about the Basic MediaWiki Glossary.

Why is this list needed?

  1. To help volunteer translators have a convenient localization experience.
  2. To help end users of MediaWiki have a consistent and easy to learn reading and editing experience.
  3. To do these things both in languages that have an established tradition of MediaWiki localization, and in new languages that want to join the MediaWiki users community.

How will it help translators to new languages?

Wikipedia, the project for which MediaWiki was created, is over twenty years old. It is enormously successful in many languages. Accordingly, the MediaWiki software is one of the most massively localized pieces of software ever.

More and more languages want to join this success, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to translate the terminology to the new languages that want to join. Seeing a long list of whole sentences with difficult terms is intimidating for new volunteer localizers.

This creates inefficiency: the localizers, who are not necessarily computer experts, have to jump between translating user interface strings and looking for good translations of more and more terms that pop up in them. Instead, it may be more convenient to translate the most basic terms at once, before starting the translation of the actual MediaWiki messages.

This also has a social community-building aspect. When community members have a complete and consistent terminology to discuss wiki editing in their own language, they can have full conversations about it without being dependent on external wikis and communities.

How will it help translators to languages into which MediaWiki has already been translated for a long time?

Having more people work on translations is always good for sustainability, efficiency, and mutual verification. In some languages, the same small group of translators has been doing all the volunteer localization work for years. Their work is wonderful, but it should be easy for new people to join, too.

New volunteer translators may know the language well and have good intentions, but because of lack of experience, they may use inconsistent terminology. Finally, even for well-established languages, it may be useful to consider refreshing the terminology occasionally.

Why does this list include basic and common computer terms, such as "file" and "upload"?

This may seem unnecessary, especially in well-established languages, but in MediaWiki these terms sometimes have a particular meaning.

In addition, MediaWiki is often the first, or one of the first pieces of software that is translated into a language, so before translating MediaWiki, these languages don't have even this basic terminology.

It's useful for the more established languages, too: some of these terms may have several correct translations into a certain language, but only particular translations are used in the wiki editors community of that language.