Wikimedia Language engineering
The Wikimedia Foundation Language team is responsible for providing standards-based internationalization and localization tools support for Wikimedia sites on the Web and mobile platforms. The group is part of the Product department.
The Wikimedia Foundation Language team has a combined working knowledge of more than 15 languages.
Staff Software Engineer
Amir E. Aharoni
Principal Design Researcher
Staff Software Engineer
Technical Support Manager
Senior Data Scientist
Senior Software Engineer
Principal UX Designer & Product Manager
Principal Software Engineer, Tech Lead
Community Relations Specialist
Senior Developer Advocate
Many languages are provided with internationalization support at various levels across Wikimedia projects, of which the Wikipedias are the largest, with over 300 languages. The tools created and maintained by the Language team are continually updated to increase the number of languages these tools cover. The goal of the team is to provide the same level of support for all languages and to provide translation tools.
- Content translation – The content translation tool assists multilingual editors to translate Wikipedia articles. Hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles have been created with the tool. It makes the process faster and easier, resulting in articles more likely to survive community review. Recent development, under the Section translation name, expanded the initial capabilities to support expanding existing articles by translating an article section on mobile. Read more
- Universal Language Selector – Universal Language Selector (ULS) provides a flexible method of selecting and configuring a language to use in the user interface. It provides options to select fonts and input method. Languages can be searched using the ISO language code, with language names written in the current user interface language or in its own script (autonym). Depending upon the user's location or the browser/operating system's language, the user interface language will be suggested. Cross-language searches – using any script – can also be done. Read more
- Translate – Translate extension is a feature-rich extension that lets users translate software strings and pages in their browser. For both software and page translation, it supports translation memory, statistics by group and language, advanced grammar support for multiple languages, and more.
- MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle – The MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle is a collection of selected MediaWiki extensions needed by any wiki that wants to be multilingual. It follows a quarterly release cycle. Get the latest release.
- jQuery.uls – Fully featured language selector that scales to hundreds of languages.
- jQuery.ime – More than 150 input methods in various languages are provided through jQuery.ime; many of these methods have been contributed by the Wikimedia community. See Demo.
- banana-i18n – This library provides internationalization elements to support grammatical rules for languages, including rules for plural forms and gender.
- jQuery.i18n – This library is deprecated in favor of banana-i18n and is now in maintenance mode. See Prototype.
- jQuery.webfonts – jQuery.webfonts uses the WebFonts technology to allow the usage of fonts from a font repository. This eliminates dependency on system fonts while viewing pages in those languages. Read more about webfonts
- Language data library – Language data provides essential language data for hundreds of languages: autonyms, scripts, writing directions. This is useful for building language selectors or tagging language content with correct writing directions.
- Continuous translation – Most Wikimedia software is translated by volunteer translators at translatewiki.net. The Language team supports translatewiki.net maintenance and development and ensures that translations are made available to Wikimedia software projects swiftly and reliably.
More details of how we maintain the different projects can be found in:
The Language Team conducts research on language-related products and features, in addition to running projects aimed more generally at better understanding the cultural and language-specific needs of Wikipedia communities worldwide.
- Section Translation Research – The Section Translation Design Research project evaluated current mobile prototypes with two small wikis. The project evaluated not only initial prototypes but also several design changes after each round of testing. The project also supported design exploration by gathering interview data around critical assumptions of Section Translation, including the role of mobile and the relevance of article sections as a meaningful unit of translation.
- Content Translation Newcomer Survey, India 2020 - The Content Translation Newcomer Survey was administered during a series of edit-a-thon events utilizing the Content Translation tool, and results provide insight into the Content Translation newcomer experience. An updated, modified version of the survey was added to 'Best Practices for Content Translation Events Feedback Survey' as an additional resource for collecting feedback.
- Multilingual Editor Experiences in Small Wikis - The Multilingual Editor Experiences in Small Wikis project investigated the experiences of editors in smaller wikis who are leveraging translation to contribute across knowledge and content gaps.
- Section Translation Usability Testing - The Section Translation Usability Testing (Bengali Wikipedia) project provided usability testing for Section Translation as soon as it became available in the first wiki, Bengali.
- Section Translation Entry Points Design Research - The Section Translation Entry Points Design Research project investigated new ways that both experienced and new editors may discover translation opportunities, especially on mobile devices.
- Section Translation Post-Improvements Testing - The Section Translation Post-Improvements Testing (Thai Wikipedia) project provided usability testing after a number of tool improvements and at a time when it was becoming available in a greater number of wikis, including Thai Wikipedia.
- Section Translation Feedback Survey - Survey feedback was collected with the goal of learning from the experiences of editors who used Section Translation during a Bengali Wikipedia article quality improvement competition in 2022.
- Translatable Pages Research - The goal of this Translatable Pages research project was to better understand the challenges of people in creating and updating Translatable Pages in order to improve the user experience.
Follow our work
Readers, editors, translators
- Tell us about:
- text you can't view, and
- input methods that are not working well
- Write a new article using Content Translation
- Translate interface messages
- Write help documentation for input methods
To learn more about language engineering in Wikimedia:
- Follow the Wikimedia blog posts about language topics
- Participate in our office hours (announcements are sent before the event)
If you have found an issue or want to suggest a new feature:
- Report issues and feature requests about MediaWiki internationalization and MediaWiki extensions to Phabricator
- Report issues and feature requests about Milkshake libraries to their GitHub pages
- You can fix translation mistakes yourself by signing up on translatewiki:translatewiki.net
If you are an user, developer or system administrator and need support with a specific project, use the talk page for that project in this wiki. Do read the help pages first.
If you want to contact the Wikimedia Language team about language support and translation topics, you can reach out to us via connect on Libera Chat IRC or Telegram group – these two are mirrored to each other. This is a good place to ask for quick advice, or notify us about important matters.