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Submissions/Pushing MediaWiki Internationalization: Insights into MediaWiki i18n at a large multi-language service provider

From Wikimania 2010 • Gdańsk, Poland • July 9-11, 2010


This is an open submission for Wikimania 2010.

Title of the submission
Pushing MediaWiki Internationalization: Insights into MediaWiki i18n at a large multi-language service provider
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Tim 'Avatar' Bartel
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Wikia, Inc.
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)
Wikia is a multi-language wiki service provider and develops MediaWiki extensions. How is the internationalization (i18n) process organized? Why is there a need for i18n at all?
In the last year we released a lot of new extensions and functions throughout Wikia. Since all of these features require i18n, its complexity grew over time in various ways. As a person responsible for this area, I managed a project to reduce complexity and increase the pace of getting more and faster quality translations: Switching over our i18n work mainly to translatewiki.net, the biggest platform for translating (MediaWiki related) open source projects.
In 2010 we finally migrated the "internal" localization work mostly to translatewiki.net. The number of translators went up from around 20 people to more more than 60 people who are contributing translations to MediaWiki extensions created by Wikia right now.
After releasing about 70 extensions to translatewiki.net more than 15.000 translations were contributed during the first weeks. Whole languages which didn't got any attention before suddenly were translated up to 100 per cent (e.g. Macedonian) which is a win-win situation for everyone.
But besides the success there are also things which still need improvement. The conditions inside a commercial company differ in some parts significantly from the conditions volunteers are working with - this causes conflict in the areas of quality and promptly (re)actions.
This presentation will describe the migration and give answers to the following questions:
  • What were the reasons for this step?
  • What insights have we gained by this cooperation?
  • What are the benefits for both sides?
  • How do commercial companies fit in collaborative translation efforts?
  • Which problems emerge if a commercial company works together with a group of (unpaid) volunteers?
  • Is it easily possible for other projects to adopt this setup?
  • Is this "crowdsourcing"?
Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)
Knowledge and Collaboration (or Infrastructure)
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
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  1. Siebrand 15:07, 20 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  2. El Ágora 04:44, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  3. GerardM 06:56, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Aphaia
  5. Multichill 12:47, 24 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Arjunaraoc 05:39, 31 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Kocio 12:58, 2 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Amir E. Aharoni 06:37, 22 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]