Internationalisation wishlist 2013

The following localisation/internationalisation wishlist for MediaWiki and Wikimedia is a brainstorming authored mainly by Niklas Laxström in March 2013. Some wishes came true! See the updated Internationalisation wishlist 2014.


Like jquery.i18n, there are many php projects that would benefit from high quality i18n library they could just plug in. At we have multiple PHP projects. Licensing issues might be a problem if we want to reuse code from MediaWiki.

TUX for statisticsEdit

Special:LanguageStats and Special:MessageGroup stats look outdated compared to TUX editor and need a face lift too. In addition we could make them Web 2.0 compliant and make them faster with AJAX by not loading all information immediately.

Fully automated exportsEdit

We have better things to do than run shell commands. To achieve this we need to increase the reliability of exports, by adding more automatic checks that the output looks sane.

MediaWiki i18n files revampEdit

  Done To avoid recent issues of accidentally overwriting changes made by devs, split the files by language to minimize conflicts. This would be a good chance to also start using non-executable file format for messages.

Test MLEBEdit

  Done We need to automate testing of MLEB releases to ensure stability.

Exploit TWN testing betterEdit

TWN is the only tester of MediaWiki master. A simple dashboard fetching data from rakkaus update notices and filed blockers of bug 39480 & co. would help see what revisions of core and extensions were tested, if they were compatible and what bugs they had. Would help with: Test MLEB.

Gadget localisationEdit

Integrate jquery.i18n and Translate to provide localisation facilities for gadgets. We can start doing this even before Duke Nukem Forever Gadgets 2.0 happens. Would help with: Multilingual Commons.

Solr for searchEdit

Solr can provide better language tailored search experience to users. Lucene should be replaced by something more modern.

Complete Translate user documentationEdit

Define what needs to be documented and do it. Have it translated into a couple of languages.

Complete Translate developer documentationEdit

Define what needs to be done and do it. Would help with: Translate evangelisation.

jquery.i18n for MediaWikiEdit

It makes no sense for us to main two i18n libraries written in JavaScript. Make jquery.i18n good enough and make MediaWiki use it.

Translation memory on the wheelsEdit

Let's gap a bit the hole between plain TM and MT and do something more useful than edit distance. Try to get the Solr-as-TM project to fly and promote it. It could be *the* open source TM solution to plugin into your software, given that there doesn't seem to be any competition at the moment.

MediaWiki localisation updates for allEdit

See also Generic, efficient Localisation Update service

Nobody updates MediaWiki regularly. LocalisationUpdate and its cronjobs should be available and functional on all MediaWiki installations. Without needing to set up cronjobs. See also next item.

LocalisationUpdate service provided by TWNEdit

Provide an efficient API for any product to automatically update their translations live.

Release TWN TM dataEdit

We can either provide dumps in TMX or some other format or provide it as a service. The service could be registration-only to make sure we can handle the load.

Glossaries in TWNEdit

There must be a lot of glossaries and terminologies out there. Some of them must be useful to integrate in

Glossary building toolsEdit

Provide technical support for building glossaries with Translate extension and in These should directly integrate into the translation editor.

Multilingual SMWEdit

See also Multilingual SemanticMediaWiki

Semantic MediaWiki is cool, but it would be even cooler if it was multilingual-cabable out of the box. Integrate it with Translate extension.

Captchas suitable for all languagesEdit

See also Multilingual, usable and effective captchas

MediaWiki/WMF captchas don't stop spammers and are harder for non-English speaking users, impairing the growth of non-English wikis.

Use and develop Wikipedia in your own languageEdit

English-speaking people don't use Wikipedia in their native language because they're not sure to find what they're looking for, and editors don't know what's missing and could be translated from other languages (any language). Needs to be more specific, do not add bundle-issues. Actionable suggestions split and explanded below.

Translation and reading suggestions from other languagesEdit

Currently, searches without results and links from existing pages just give you red links, which stopped being working invites to article creation a long time ago. Missing articles/redlinks should be placeholders redirecting readers to the relevant existing equivalents in other languages and inviting to translate them. (Concept agreed upon in some past Wikimania workshop.) Could be considered premise for: Wikipedia content translation aid.

Multilingual searchEdit

The portal of each project, like, should have a multilingual search, automatically returning results in the most relevant language; see also bug 1837. Such multilingual search could then be expanded to Special:Search of each wiki and triggered either automatically, or as fallback (see also above), or as another option/profile/whatever.

Content translation advanced issuesEdit

Though mentioned in other points, people have specifically requested help for easy handling of multilingual categories and templates with Translate page translation. Would help with: Page translation migration/adoption tools, Multilingual Commons, MediaWiki multilingual documentation.

Wikipedia content translation aidEdit

People want this. It's a challenge, and we need challenged and high visibility projects. Need to come up with a good workflow. Google Translator Toolkit was used in the past (allegedly able to translate markup too), with mixed results. Same for the Microsoft Translation tool. Would help with: Translation and reading suggestions from other languages.

MediaWiki multilingual documentationEdit

Most of the help pages and manuals are on Meta or rather on local Wikipedias: this leaves most small Wikipedias and other projects in "small languages" with no docs or outdated docs. Everything should be central, translatable, easily and equally available from all wikis. Have a policy to make translatable user-faced documentation at

Page translation migration/adoption toolsEdit

See also Tools for mass migration of legacy translated wiki content

Translate needs a bigger userbase to support our wikis at best, but existing wikis don't adopt it because there is no support at all to import old translations or to handle templates, categories etc., and doing everything manually is not an option.

Multilingual CommonsEdit

Help commons to become truly multilingual. Content, categories, templates, gadgets etc. should be translatable.

Deploy TranslateSVGEdit

Let's not let this project rot away, we should get it into shape and deploy it.

Page content languageEdit

Provide a mechanism to set the page content language in MediaWiki core. This is a blocker to often requested features of Translate.

Language source retentionEdit

  Done Currently the localisation cache loses the information about the source language when traveling language fallback chains. This information should be retained for correct parsing and tagging of the text.

Multilingual Wikimedia communicationEdit

Make Meta-Wiki or something else a proper tool for a multilingual community to communicate. Probably impossible challenge. Too vague currently. Example items: translation tool for discussions (c.f.; multilingual main page, categories, templates, project pages; easier way to find activity (and active users) in your language; other m:Not my wiki problems.

Big projects at translatewiki.netEdit

Lately the number of active translators at twn has not grown. We should try to get big projects like KDE to lure in more translators. Would help with: Glossaries in TWN, Promote i18n best practices.

Translate evangelisationEdit

Alternatively, convince people like the FSF to adopt MediaWiki+Translate for the translation of their software with as little quirks as possible.

Promote i18n best practicesEdit

It looks like people are reinventing l10n/i18n file formats as fast as they can, but none of them are considering things like inline syntax for plurals, gender and grammar. We should try to get these into them.

Complete grammarEdit

There are grammar libraries built for different natural languages like Finnish. It would be cool if we could seamlessy use these libraries in part of MediaWiki.

Destroy tofuEdit

I'm not suggesting we all should become vegetarians, but the time is over when user should have problems with missing fonts or renderng issues. Push Google and others to increase coverage and support.

Better support for formal-informal variantsEdit

Either make these, too, inline or make it possible to mark messages which do not need overriding.

Use Translate for translating subtitlesEdit

After we have conquered SVGs, why not do the same for subtitles of videos in Commons. Would already be trivially possible if TimedText used subpages. Would help with: Multilingual Commons.

Semantic TranslateEdit

Lots of information could be made available via semantic properties or other means. Some examples:

  • How many/who have reviewed a translation
  • Who has translated a message
  • Language of the translation

Would make it simple to build queries like "Top translators for MediaWiki in Finnish in 2013"

Evaluate Translate features: spring cleaningEdit

Translate has grown during the years. It's time to look critically what is that we actually support, what parts of that we still want to support, what needs more modularization and what should be dropped to reduce maintenance costs.

Near-real time translation collaborationEdit

When multiple people are translating same group (say a translatable page), it would be easier to see the updates they do live, something akin to etherpad. It doesn't need to support multiple people editing the same message at the same time. Even seeing what messages are open (and their content) would help. Credit: neverendingo.

Proofreading incentivesEdit

Proofreading is still a very hidden feature, as well as the "recent translations" message group. Not only it's very hard to reach from the UI but it also has a possibly-boring name. Giving feedback on new translations may be used as lazy-mode entry-level suggestion for inactive translators to come back. Silly option: spam people with Echo notifications when they exist. Would help with: What happened to my translation?

By popular voteEdit

Wiki editing and discussion doesn't work with many users not agreeing on what's best. A quick list of alternative (past/proposed/used elsewhere) translations with relevant info would help find what's consensual. See for instance fundraising messages which in theory should gradually approach perfection but in reality only see things changed back and forth continuously, with the worst translations usually surviving. Situation is made worse by: a) history not being easy to reach from translation editor, b) discussion even less, c) activity and discussion around same translations in other messages being completely lost, d) people never finding where the message is (especially from other wikis as with banners). See also: Bug 45831 – Discussion about translation. Would help with: What happened to my translation?

What happened to my translation?Edit

New translators in particular want to easily have feedback on their translations and what happened to them. Watchlist (for accept log and modifications) and contributions (for a mere list) are not enough, especially for unlogged/separate actions like setting workflow state, pushing to CentralNotice, copying to another wiki, exporting to a CVS. Credit: Gloria_S.

Feed of exports from twnEdit

Provide a mechanism for people to see when we do exports. Could be RSS, twitter, IRC, whatever makes sense. Perhaps also imports. Main benefit would be transparency for what and how much we do. Going further, we could send out notices to translators "Your translations are now visible to users". Would help with: What happened to my translation?

There is new things to translateEdit

Send out notices to translators that there are new stuff to translate for them.

Inline translationEdit

People still find things to translate by checking what's English in their interface or with hacks like qqx (a worryingly appreciated one). TUX search will help some, but those users don't even try search on TWN in the first place. End it forever, add contextual "translate this" links. Would help with: By popular vote.