Content translation version 2 (CX2) is a major refactoring and architectural update of Content translation (CX, or CX1 in this document). The goal is to provide a solid and reliable translation tool that is aligned with the Wikimedia standards in technology and design, and provides a great way to contribute for newcomers.

Version 2 uses the VisualEditor editing surface, an OOUI based front end, and follows the Wikimedia design guidelines.

In addition, learnings from existing and new research on the experience of new editors will be used to identify improvements to make translation a great way to start contributing to Wikipedia. The plan is to gradually replace version 1 with version 2 in several stages . A backwards compatibility plan will make sure that content created by users during the transition period won't be affected.

Try the new version

The new version is now the default, you can just access the tool from Special:ContentTranslation from Wikipedia in any language. When you start a new translation with Content translation you will be using the new version. Note that the previous version will be still used when opening old translations that you started with such version.

The new version is still in active development. Please, use it to translate articles and report feedback. We love to hear what works for you, and what still needs improvement.

Using version 2 on production will create content in real wikis when you publish your translation, so it is not suited for experiments that don't create a quality translation as a result. For more experimental testing, you can try the new feature in our testing servers. They are a separate wiki (you need to create a new user account since the log-in service is not integrated with Wikimedia projects). Although the content you translate in the test servers comes from real Wikipedias, the published content will be only created in the test server. This allows to experiment without interfering with the work done in those projects.

Provide feedback

We are interested in hearing how well the new version works for both new and existing users of Content Translation.

Track created articles

A dashboard shows the translations published with the new version and the number of users publishing these.

In addition, articles published with the new version are marked with the #contenttranslation-v2 edit tag to facilitate finding them (e.g., using Recent Changes) and evaluate the quality of the content.


The new version will include a more powerful editing surface, which will bring new possibilities that were repeatedly requested by translators using the tool. However, other features from version 1 won't be initially available with the new version.

Major features

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A general CX2 roadmap describes the planned interventions in more detail.

The main areas of intervention are:

  • Align with the Wikimedia standards in technology and design
    • Visual Editor's editing surface with more editing tools to insert and edit templates, tables, multimedia, categories, etc.
    • Reliable undo/redo support.
    • UI revamp based on UI Standardisation initiative and OOUI components
  • Quality control mechanisms. Control user modifications in more detail to encourage translators to create quality content.
  • A great way to contribute for newcomers
    • Machine translation support for Template params, reference texts and practically all kind of elements in screen. In version 1, machine translation was limited to paragraphs alone.
    • Better support for References and Templates
    • Ability to add and remove categories
  • Solid and reliable
    • Fixing lots of bugs that was too difficult to handle with previous version

Missing features from the current version

The features listed above are possible with the new technology architecture. However, in order to be able to deliver those improvements soon, we have to limit the efforts of rewriting all the existing tools CX1 has. Thus, some of the existing tools won't be available in CX2 initially. We selected those based on our observations of current use, the value they provide in version 1 and their complexity, but we are looking for your feedback during this process.

These are the tools currently in CX1 that will be missing initially for CX2:

  • Custom template translation editor. CX1 added support for a side-by-side editor of templates that allowed translators to map their parameters. The initial implementation allowed to evaluate a promising concept but it was far from being complete, and rewriting this for CX2 will require significant effort. Initially, the standard template editor dialog provided by Visual Editor will be available in CX2 instead. Although it is not optimized for transferring information across languages, it provides basic support for editing all parameters of a template in the translation.
  • Dictionaries. CX1 had experimental support for dictionary information lookup for a few language pairs. Dictionaries are a very relevant tool for translators, and we'll keep track the progress of Wikimedia projects in this area that will enable their integration in the future. However, providing support for CX2 makes more sense when there is a clear plan to integrate more dictionaries.
  • Progress indicator in the editor. A progress bar showed in CX1 how much of the article was translated and how much was missing. This information will be still visible from the dashboard, but not while editing the article. Based on our observations from users, having it on the editor was not providing much value.
  • Announcements of new machine translation services. The automatic translation card became highlighted when a new machine translation service was made available for the current language. This was especially useful in the initial stages of the tool, where new services were added regularly. We can reconsider this feature once the migration to version 2 is completed, and we plan to integrate new machine translation services in the future.


Content Translation was developed iteratively for last 2+ years. During that time, the focus was to evaluate the core ideas on how to improve the translation experience for Wikipedia editors. The architecture was a flexible one where modules can be plugged and try these concepts. This allowed to move fast, but the approach and cut corners affected the code organisation, maintainability and reliability of the tool. The proposed refactoring and architectural update will contribute to provide a tool solid and reliable translation tool that is aligned with the Wikimedia standards in technology and design.

At the end of this intervention we want Content Translation to be a tool that:

  • Is aligned with the Wikimedia standards in technology and design. Uses the editing surface technology of Visual Editor (VE), and follows the Design style guide principles.
  • Is a great way to contribute for newcomers. The tool provides a quick and easy way for new editors to start contributing. Even if the tool does not support dealing with complex content or situations, it always provides a clear path forward for new editors.
  • Is solid and reliable. The tool is reliable enough to go out of beta for at least one community.

The way to get there is detailed in different plans below.

Development plan

Starting in February 2018, the CX2 roadmap defines the incremental stages to complete the development of the tool.

Rollout plan

A rough plan is to enable version 2 in smaller wikis or subset of wikis to do QA and gradually rollout to more wikis. The list of representative wikis can be useful to identify candidates.

Backwards compatibility plan

Versions 1 and 2 will coexist during a transition period. Given that the translations each version produce are not expected to be compatible, the following steps are considered to avoid issues related to breaking backwards compatibility:

  1. Translations started with one version of the editor will be always opened with the same version, regardless of which is the current default editor. That is, when version 2 is the default, old translations started with the version1 will still be opened with version 1.
  2. Once version 2 is considered the stable default, creating new translations with older versions will be prevented. That is, version 1 will not be available to create new translations, but it will be still available to edit the old ones.
  3. With a process in place to automatically discard translations after one year, version 1 could be safely removed after such period pases since no new articles can be started with it.

Status Updates

For more recent activity related to Content translation (from July 2019 to nowadays), please check the Translation Boost Initiative.

Below are the archives prior to November 2019 (...and yes, both pages are overlapping between July 2019 and October 2019).

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

Publish settings dialog showing destination options.

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

The different initiatives (enable switch, wiki outreach, and prominent invite) helped to increase the translation activity on version 2, reaching a 47% of all translations in the first week of January 2019. (data source)

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

"Try the new version" allows to enable version 2 for the user from the translation dashboard.

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

Link card with information about the link in both languages, and automatic translation with the translation service used for initial translations.

May 2018

April 2018

Images are adapted and additional editing tools are provided.
Asking for confirmation when publishing will overwrite an existing page.

March 2018

A cleaner layout and editing tools provided in the tools column.

February 2018

Initial state of CX2