Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the only tool you have is a hammer ...

Some time ago, I presented my answers to the question "What benefit of translatewiki.net as a WMF project". Today I found another fine reason why the Wikimedia Foundation would benefit from an infusion of some translatewiki.net usability.

As it is that time of year again, it is time to prepare for our fundraiser and as usual, in order to get the message out, the faithful are asked to translate texts into their language.

The screenshot of the Macedonian texts clearly shows that it is one page where all the texts are to be translated. A template has to indicate the status of the translation.

There are several reasons why this situation needs a review:
  • As it is one blob, it is not easy to tune the text and communicate the difference
  • Progress is to be indicated by changing a template
  • There is no percentage indicating the work that is left to be done
  • The translator effort is split between meta and translatewiki.net
  • The software developed at translatewiki is "not invented here"
When the Meta translations have to be translated at Meta, there is nothing stopping the powers that be to use the Translate extension. MediaWiki is a tool, the Translate extension builds upon it, there is nothing preventing the WMF to use the best of breed solution for its translations. If anything, the translatewiki.net crowd would be happy to help with its implementation.
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