Translating:MediaWiki/Basic glossary: Tips for translators

This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.

This page includes tips for beginner translators of MediaWiki and its basic glossary.

You should also read the following pages:

How much time does it take to translate this glossary?

If you are experienced with using MediaWiki sites and there is established wiki editing terminology in your language, it takes about two days.

Who decides what term translation is correct and what is not?

This is a wiki and there is no designated "editor-in-chief". What is correct is decided by the community of the editors and the users of the MediaWiki software—in the Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wiktionary, and other sites that use MediaWiki in that language.

Where can I find good translations for a term?

If this term was not translated in the MediaWiki localization into your language yet, try to look for it in the following places:

  • Other websites and apps in your language.
  • A general dictionary that translates into your language from another language, such as English, French, or Russian.
  • An external glossary—a specialized list of professional terms. Such dictionaries are published in many languages by institutions such as language academies, education ministries, standardization authorities, etc. They are usually organized by topics, and the most relevant terms for MediaWiki can be found under the topics of computer science, information technology, and library science.

If you cannot find such terms using any of the methods suggested above, try asking a person who knows this language well, for example a teacher, a writer, a journalist, a lawyer, or a scientist.

Should I transliterate a term from English (or another language that is familiar to computer users in my community) or translate it to a native word in my language?

Up to you. The word you choose should be easy to understand for people who know your language and don't know English or any other language. You should take into account that a foreign term may be more familiar than a native term to you and to other experienced computer users, but both words are equally unknown to people who don't know other languages. If you're sure that a foreign term is more useful to everyone who speaks your language, you can use it.

What can we do if in our language we use different translations for one English term?

Up to you. You can decide to use just one translation and change the translations of all the messages that were already translated to use that single term. Or you can decide to list all the possible translations in this glossary, and add comments about when to use each. You can even suggest splitting the term in the English language if you think that it may be useful to other users!

In any case, the same English term should generally be translated using the same word in the same context. Try to choose one translation word that will be easy to understand to as many speakers of your language as possible.

What can we do if several distinct English words have the same translation in our language?

If the different English words usually appear in different contexts, it's OK, and you probably don't have to bother doing anything special. The user will hopefully figure it out. If the different words appear in the same context, be creative and find something that works in your language. For example, consider adding another word that helps understand the special meaning.

Software localization needs not only terms, but also style guides. Where can we write one for our language?

You are right! Style guides for several languages already exist. You can find them on this page: Category:Language-specific localisation style guides. If one doesn't exist for your language, you should write it! Unlike terminology, which has similar structure in all the languages, style is unique to every language, so you are totally free to organize it any way you want.

What other related glossaries are there?