Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why localise #MediaWiki at

Some of the localisations in use for MediaWiki need improvement. It can be for all kinds of reasons including bad grammar, typos, spelling errors but also because a message changed. When you are an administrator on a wiki, you can change such MediaWiki messages on your local wiki however, you should not.

When you improve a message locally, the result will be local and it will override the messages that come with the MediaWiki software. This includes the daily messages that are new or have been updated and come to you through the LocalisationUpdate process.

When you improve a message at, you will find the experience much more productive compared to working on your local wiki. Tools are available to you that suggest translations, help you proofread what is already there. If anything, exist to make you as a localiser as efficient as possible. You will find once you get going, you are at least ten times more productive.

For some people localising on-line is what prevents them from being productive. When the local connectivity to the servers of leave a lot to be desired, it is sometimes better to work off-line.

Getting the message out why you should localise at has its answer in this way. However, there is a reason why some messages need to be changed locally. It is because the message needs to be adapted to the local wiki. They may be about policies, contact information or whatever else is not standard. Only a few people need to bother with this and they are the local admins of a wiki, they are the ones who can change messages locally.


செல்வா said...

I think you make an important point, however I wish to raise a point for your considerations. I agree with you when you say //
When you improve a message at, you will find the experience much more productive compared to working on your local wiki.//. But there are some problems with this proposal and a careful system should be put in place when serious disputes arise about the wording or choices of words to be used in the translatewiki. As you know in a Wikipedia, we have such things as the Five Pillars and the concomitant policies and guidelines to guide us in arriving at constructive solutions and the very presence of a vibrant, knowlegeable "community" of volunteers makes it all possible. In the translatewiki, do we have such mechanisms?

C.R.(Selva) Selvakumar

GerardM said...

You assume that responsible policies are not possible at When there are discussions about terminology we welcome them and have the tooling to support changes to the terminology.

All in all we welcome discussions on terminology and when specific terminology is to be used, it should be mentioned on the portal page.

செல்வா said...


No, I'm not assuming as you seem to suggest ("that responsible policies are not possible at"). In the translatewiki, I find that only very few persons participate (for many languages, I've seen). If there are issues about translations, it is not clear how they have to be approached (I know there are discussion pages for every string of translation). My concern is it (translatewiki) does't yet have the same exposure as Wikipedia, and if there are issues to be resolved, sufficient number (say a critical number of people with good knowledge of their language) have to participate. Like we have Village Pump in WP, it would be a good idea to have some space for discussion as well.