MultilingualWikis

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This session was held mostly in French

Different types of multilingual wikis:

  • master-language with translation: The articles are all written in one language, then translated into other languages. Any change to an article must be made to the "master language" version first.
  • original content in multiple languages: which usually results in unrelated articles being linked because they are about the same topic. The quality of content in the different languages can vary greatly.
  • Sites that try to do both: Trying to keep the same structure and content in all articles about the same topics in the different language is time consuming and difficult. There is limited support in software


Some examples were discussed: wikipedia has completely unrelated articles about the same topic in multiple languages, as well as many translated articles. Some languages seem to have a preponderance of original content when others have mostly translations

One concern with existing systems (mediawiki, for example - I think it was mediawiki; can someone confirm?) has a method for translating pages: first you have to create a link to the translation then go to "edit the article", select everything, copy, go to the translation page, paste, then make sure you fix the "translations" link to point back to the original language, and THEN, you can start translating. If the article exists in other languages, then each of them has to be edited to point to the new version. This is definitely not encouraging for would-be translators.

Wiki translation shows one way to keep different versions/languages of a wiki synchronized, but it still requires plenty of manual intervention.

We also looked at Google's translation service, since it would be possible to just let Google translate articles. Websites can have "a little bit of javascript" that makes them automatically translatable by adding a small "translate" button. We discussed automated translation. We tried Google translate on a Google Sites site, and found it... well, not perfect.

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