Monday, April 23, 2012

Fallback in #MediaWiki #localisation

At, people localise in many languages. The objective of all this work is that people understand what the software wants from them.

Often we do not have a localisation for a particular message. For such a situation, we provide a message from a "fall back" language. The selection of a fall back language is very simple; it should be a language that people are likely to know. When a fall back language or several fall back languages do not provide a service, ultimately it will be English what we serve to our readers and editors.

Sometimes using a fall back language has its issues:

  • The difference between Russian and Ukrainian messages is sometimes mainly in the spelling. Language purists hate this. In such instances, our suggestion is to fix it by completing the localisation. In this way there is no need for a fall back language.
  • For Spanish there is a more formal Spanish. There is only a need for a localisation when there is a difference. The need to continuously identify the messages that are the same is what makes these localisations difficult.

Having "fall back" languages is a good thing, we cannot do without them as long as we do not have full localisations for all the languages we support.

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