Wikimedia Language engineering

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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.

More about: Localization (L10n) and Internationalization (i18n)


The Wikimedia Foundation Language team has a combined working knowledge of more than 15 languages.

Language coverage

More than 300 languages are provided with internationalization support at various levels across Wikimedia projects, of which the Wikipedias are the largest, with 289 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 is a computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool aimed at making the translation of Wikipedia articles easier and better. The tool targets users who know two or more languages, and will provide value for different kinds of users. For new users, the tool will provide a new way of contributing that is easier than creating a new page from scratch. For experienced editors, the tool will simplify the process of translating content. This extension is currently in development. Read more
  • Universal Language SelectorUniversal 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 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
  • TranslateTranslate 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.
  • Project MilkshakeProject Milkshake aims to make generic jQuery components for commonly needed internationalization feature components that have been developed for use through MediaWiki in Wikimedia projects. These include input methods, web-fonts, and grammatical rules for languages. For easy participation and wider adoption, the source-code repositories are hosted on GitHub and the components have been dual-licensed as GPL and MIT.
    • 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.
    • jQuery.i18n – This library provides internationalization elements to support grammatical rules for languages, including rules for plural forms and gender. See Prototype.
    • jQuery.webfonts – jQuery.webfonts uses the WebFonts technology to allow usage of fonts from a font repository. This eliminates dependency on system fonts while viewing pages in those languages. Read more about webfonts

More details of how we maintain the different projects can be found in:

Design Research

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 a number of 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 investigates the experiences of editors in smaller wikis who are leveraging translation to contribute across knowledge and content gaps.

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