Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gender distinction for the #Portuguese language

Making a difference based on gender is not the #Wikipedia thing. In selected situations it is however a #MediaWiki thing. Gender and particularly linguistic gender distinguishes how a man or a woman is addressed or referred to. For several languages the “User” name space will be named differently depending on the gender set in the user preferences.

When our messages support gender, it becomes possible to address people using natural language. This improves readability and consequently it makes MediaWiki a more friendly environment.

For the Portuguese language this has been implemented recently. Changing a name space is different from programmatic changes; it requires someone who can configure the servers. This means that Portuguese did support gender before it is just that one of the more visual aspects of the user interface supports gender.

Supporting gender is an iterative process. Many MediaWiki messages pre-date gender support and at translatewiki.net we get a steady stream of requests to support gender in specific messages on our “Support” page. With so many Portuguese speaking ladies becoming aware of our gender support, they must find occasions where messages could address them even better.

We welcome any lady from any language (as well as any gentlemen) to help us improve the MediaWiki experience and point out more messages that can do with a bit of genderification.
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