Technical Collaboration Guidance/Translation
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Wikimedia projects support over two hundred languages; translations are important to distributing information about software development. There are two components to the translation process: getting the information translated for distribution, and then the actual distribution itself. These processes are documented extensively elsewhere (see also), so summaries are provided with links to find more detailed information about the translation process.
Translations are primarily obtained through four ways: automated messaging on-wiki from marking a page from translation, emailing the translators' mailing list, one-to-one requests, or system messages translated through translatewiki.net. Of these four methods, generally speaking sending an email to the translators' mailing list or contacting an individual for a request are the most common way for anyone to ask for translations. Messaging through the translate extension requires a user right, and translatewiki.net is not a Wikimedia project.
Announcements and calls for feedback are generally distributed through mailing lists as well as on-wiki. Unfortunately, major movement mailing lists are predominantly in English and do not support distributing translations very well, if at all. Additionally, far fewer people read mailing lists than the wikis. On-wiki messaging is the way to deliver new as well as updated information to the wider international audience of users.
- Provide space for translators to write their own version of the message. If there is information to be communicated, consider providing translators with all the information that they need to compose their own messages rather than direct translation. This gives a personal touch to the message, and allows for flexibility in language that might be difficult otherwise.
- Provide context to translators, by defining a glossary of the main terms. That glossary will help translators to create accurate translations.
- Reduce translation fatigue. Volunteers tire of translating a constant stream of communications and system messages. Requests translations only when necessary. Re-use the exact language of previous messages when possible.
- Marking a page for translation makes the page more difficult to update. Consider providing updates that need translation in pieces, and create main information pages knowing that extensive updates to the page may create additional work for everyone due to how the translation extension works.
- Long or complicated pages are difficult to translate. Make all messages that need translation as short and simple as possible for the information contained.