[Mageia-i18n] Wiki translation discussion

Anne Wilson annew at kde.org
Wed Jun 13 20:58:52 CEST 2012

Hash: SHA1

Hi.  Some time ago the possibility of using the Mediawiki extension
Translate was raised, and at the time you had some serious misgivings.
 Perhaps you saw the UserBase wiki at an early stage, but I'd like to
try to answer your concerns so that it could be discussed further.

"It will kind of force synchronization between the en wiki and others".

To some degree this is correct, but only as defined by the
administrators of the wiki.  The important thing to remember is that
the admins (with input from anyone concerned) mark up for translation
the English pages where it is basic information required by all
languages.  Those pages are synchronized fairly rigidly, allowing for
freedom in local idiom.  Pages where information is specific to one
language are simply not marked for translation, and can be written in
the appropriate language.  An example of that can be seen at

* non-localized URLs (instead of w.m.o/en/Home and w.m.o/fr/Accueil
(ie, localized title _in_ the URL), we would have w.m.o/Home and
w.m.o/Home/fr (English title in the URL)

That was a problem originally, but hasn't been for some time.  When
the translation page is pulled up the first field offered is the
pagename so that you can set a localised display name.  Yurchor uses
this extensively and can give you more detail if you wish.

* inconsistent navigation in a chosen locale (tested on the KDE
Userbase wiki):
   - my browser accepts French as a primary language, so content is
returned to me in French;
   - I decide to look at the Spanish version of a page; fine, it
works; my intent is to navigate the Spanish-speaking pages now;
   - clicking on another wiki link will forward me to the default URL,
that will be rewritten in French => back to French, where I would have
expected Spanish;
   - right, digging into this, this is because those links are
prefixed such as: "Special:myLanguage/Applications" which rewrites to

It is expected that the default would be that people prefer to read in
their own language.  However, should the need arise to do what you
describe, that's possible too.  In the sidebar is a language
drop-down.  If you had set that to Spanish, then used links to another
page, the Spanish translation would be displayed, assuming that there
is a Spanish translation of that page, otherwise it would fall back to
the default.  I hope that explains it better.  Try it out, and ask if
you don't get the result you expect.

You mention Wikipedia, but that, I think, is a very bad example for
distro wikis.  The main problem is that someone, for example, puts a
really useful bit of information on the German wiki - how does anyone
from any other country ever see it?

Prior to using the extension we had no tools to help translators know
when anything changes.  The result was that a translated page could be
two years out of date without anyone realising it. Too often the page
was never re-visited. The advantage of our system to translators is
that they do not have to re-work a long page when something changes.
They simply access the messages that are marked as changed, and deal
with those.  It saves a good deal of time and effort, and because it's
easier, it is better maintained.

We hope this answers some of your questions, and will be happy to
answer any other questions either by email or on IRC.

AnneW (annew at kde.org)
yurchor (yurchor at gmail.com)

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