Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Localising for the fundraiser of the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation uses MediaWiki for its software. The localisation of this software is done at Betawiki. At Betawiki we support several other applications for their localisation. The benefit for these other applications is that Betawiki has a great community of translators.

Every year, the WMF has its fund raiser. Every year the message needs to be tuned and consequently the software is spruced up. You would expect that the WMF would use Betawiki for the localisation of their message. They do not. When you look at their translation request you will find only 30 languages, you have to work an Meta, so as a translator you will not find help that explains what the message is about.

I think it silly that the WMF thinks that a Wiki is the universal tool appropriate to translate text. These messages are to be used in software; these wiki pages have to be converted... For me it is demonstrates that the WMF does not have a strategy on how to deal with multiple languages. It is also gives the impression that all the "other" languages and their communities are not considered to be relevant.
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