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Categories with names that are partly not in EnglishEdit

I see some new arrivals, such as Category:Language- Deutsch, a subcategory of Category:German language. Part of SMW, I presume. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 02:50, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Well it is not part of SMW itself, but it is part of our new "facts" templates. A while back we had a contributor who created some custom spanish language articles. So we had an old category structure french language, german language and so on. It is a copy of the commons cat scheme. In he listed articles in spanish, spanish translations needed and so on.

Now, our new multilingual templates makes it very simple to make translations, and so we need to track requests for these translations. The new multilingual template schemes follows a new structure developed at Commons. The idea is that the complicated template code is kept in one place and is configured by a much more simple template with the language specific strings. All a contributor has to do is define a few parameters in one of these simple files, and they then have a version of the infobox or other template in their language. This is the way {{showfacts person}} now works. Everyone just puts that template on their page. When the template executes, it looks to see what language the article is supposed to be in. If it is supposed to be in Dutch, then it uses parameters at {{showfacts person/nl}} to display the dutch version of the infobox. Further, it will translate the contents of the names so that "The Hague" appears as "Den Haag" (I haven't done this part yet, but I have done the showfacts person/{language code} part. To create a new language, all anyone has to do is copy the {{showfacts person/en}} template into say french, save it under /fr, and bang- you have a french version of the template. Here's what one of these language configuration templates looks like:

<includeonly>{{#if:{{#ask:[[{{{smwbasepage|}}}]]|default=|?Sex=}}| {{Showfacts person/main
|table-summary=A standardized table providing information about the person, including dates and locations of birth, baptism, wedding. death as well as names of parents.
|baptism-label=Baptism
|birth-label=Birth
|burial-label=Remains
|children-label=Children
|coparent-label=Spouse / "partner"
|death-label= Death
|husband-label=Husband
|migration-label= Migration
|familysearch-label= Familysearch AFN#
|father-label= Father
|mother-label= Mother
|sex-label= Gender
|siblings-label= Siblings
|signature-label= Signature
|wedding-label= Wedding
|wife-label=Wife
|lang={{SUBPAGENAME}}
|smwbasepage={{{smwbasepage|}}}
}}|error-smwbasepage="{{{smwbasepage}}}"}}</includeonly><noinclude>
'''''NOTE:'' Please do ''not'' use this template directly! This is just for translation.  Use {{BASEPAGENAME}} instead!'''
</noinclude>
This makes it super easy to change labels without wading into the obnoxious template code that really displays the infobox. It also means that multiple copies of the real code is shared across languages, so that everyone gets the benefit of the wizzy new features in the english version without them having to laboriously copy the new english version over and then retranslation all the strings being very careful to avoid any typos.... So all that nonsense is avoided by everyone working off the same template. This "real code" is in the subpage /main.

Anyway, this is a long way of getting to the answer to your question. Ok, so say someone might want a german version of the template, but not know german. In this case, they place a tranlation requested template at the bottom of the /de page for the template. For instance, they might copy the boilerplate text from Template:Nobasepage error/generic to Template:Nobasepage error/de This would autocat a listing in category:Deutsch translations needed. Anyway, these needed supercats, so I connected them to language-deutsch etc. Unfortunately, we have an existing languages category scheme borrowed from commons but it puts all languages from the perspective of english eg: spanish language not espanol language. etc. It is a violation of the principle that category structure be in english (this was done to avoid duplication. Maybe it is best to stick the translations needed directly under German language and call it a day. It shouldn't be both ways, and in fact it would be best if we had a set of templates that when given a language code, it returns a language string in english. Then it would read translations needed-german. We have {{en}}, {{de}} etc. but these return the desired string with div tags, bolding marks and with a colon. I'm not going to type in 100 different templates, so I used the function that given a language code returns the string in the native language eg Deutsch. Could have done it without the translation I suppose, then we'd have the somewhat unhelpful- translations needed-zh. I have bigger fish to fry right now so I am not messing with this issue. But it should be organized when/if we ever start getting interest from people in contributing multilingual articles. After a year, I see little evidence of interest in it.


The reason for my focusing on it now is that I think it is inevitable we will draw a global audience, and that multingualism is something you build in from the start, not add as a feature later. It heavily influences the way you do things unlike other items. So it is a problem I am addressing now. -~ Phlox 04:53, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Next steps?Edit

Thank you for giving it more than the requested 20 seconds. A few responses for next time you look:

  1. Our categories are based just as much on Wikipedia as on Commons.
  2. The requirement for English-only category names can probably be waived for subcategories (not sister categories) that are in another language so as to facilitate use by speakers of that language.
  3. We have 3 dozen articles in French, and might have had 200 if the writer of most of those had seen how easy our proposed interfaces were (or were going to become); he started a French version, apparently without any discussion that would have told him what a massive undertaking it would be and how just a little work might make it easier here.
  4. We have a few articles (not only yours) in Russian and several (which could grow very quickly to thousands) in Dutch; plenty for your templates etc to get their teeth into before we get a big rush from the marketing campaign that can ensue when the structure is polished.

Keep up the great work. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 09:04, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Other multilingual Wikia sites Edit

I've found one. See http://fiction.wikia.com/wiki/Novelas:Es:Bienvenida. That site also has some sister sites in other languages (with the standard prefix-URL coding), but its "es" seems to be internal like ours. So we are not the only Wikia to be trying the Commons way.

I think I may try to create a Central Wikia category or something to collect multilinguals.

(Any subsequent major revision of the proposals set out above? This page could be a good one for keeping a list of relevant project and forum pages that discuss developments.)

Robin Patterson (Talk) 10:57, January 27, 2010 (UTC)

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