Help:Interlanguage links

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Interlanguage links are links from a page in one Wikipedia language to an equivalent page in another language. These links can appear in two places:

  1. A list of languages that a page is available in, is shown in a special section on the page (by default, the list is shown on the left of a page under "Languages").
  2. Links can be placed inline in the text of a page.

These two types of links are created and handled differently and are discussed in different sections below.

The list of links[edit]

Pages on Wikipedia can have a list of equivalent pages in other languages. For example, the Irish Wikipedia has a page on Ireland titled "Éire", so the English Wikipedia article on Ireland will link to the Irish one, and vice versa. For most people this list is shown on the left of the page, but this can be changed by changing the skin the site uses. This list is maintained in two places, Wikidata and the text of the page itself.

Wikidata[edit]

The link to edit the Wikidata page.

Wikidata is a separate project to create a collaboratively edited knowledge base. Part of this project is to centralize the interlanguage links for all the Wikipedia projects. The Wikidata entry for a page contains (among other things) a list of links for that entry in different languages. This list of links is then used for the list shown on the page in Wikipedia.

Adding a new link[edit]

At the bottom of the Wikidata language list is a link labelled 'Add links'. Clicking on this will reveal two text boxes, one for the language and another for the article title. In the first box type in the language code, for example, for Irish use the code "ga". In the second box, type the name of the article as it appears in that language's Wikipedia. Then click save. You can get directly to the Wikidata entry for a page by clicking the link labelled 'Data item' in the Toolbox section of the sidebar. The link does not appear on pages that haven't been linked to an item.

If you get a message like "Site link ... is already used by item Q....", this means that there is already an item in Wikidata which points to the article you are trying to link to. Wikidata does not allow more than one item to point to a single article in a Wikipedia. There are two cases:

  • Either the two items really are the same, and should be merged: see d:Help:Merge.
  • Or the scope of the two items is not in fact the same (typically, the article in one language is wider in scope than the article in the other language) and then they should not be linked. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in Wikidata at present for linking articles which are related, but different in scope; it is possible to do it with local links.

Editing a link[edit]

To edit an entry on Wikidata, click on the edit link next to the entry you wish to edit. A textbox will appear allowing you to edit the entry. Click on save when you are done.

Removing a link[edit]

You can remove a page from the list of Wikidata's links. To do so click edit, then click on the remove link.

Local links[edit]

Before Wikidata, interlanguage links had to be recorded in the text of the page itself. The problem with this approach was that each language had to maintain its own separate lists. So for example, if the name of a page on the English Wikipedia changed, then each language that linked to that page would have to separately notice this fact and then change their own links.

For most pages, these links are no longer needed and can be safely removed, but you should verify that the local list and the Wikidata lists match before doing so. There is an automated tool to help with that.

The local links do however still serve a purpose as they override the information that comes from Wikidata.

Syntax[edit]

The local interlanguage links take the following form:

[[language code:Title]]

where the language code is the two-letter code as per ISO 639-1. (See Complete list of language Wikipedias available. English is "en", German is "de", etc.) So for example in the English language article on Plankton, which is available on many other wikis, the interlanguage links might look like this:

[[ar:عوالق]]
[[el:Πλαγκτόν]]
[[fa:پلانکتون]]
[[he:פלנקטון]]
[[ja:プランクトン]]
[[ko:플랑크톤]]
[[ru:Планктон]]
[[ta:மிதவைவாழி]]
[[te:ప్లవకాలు]]
[[th:แพลงก์ตอน]]
[[zh:浮游生物界]]

NOTE: These links are treated specially, and don't show up in the body of the text, but in a special sidebar section "Languages" listed by language name. They can go anywhere in the article source as their placement does not alter the visual appearance of the links on the rendered page except for the order. However, the convention is to put them at the bottom of the page. Remember, you only need these type links if you are overriding the information from Wikidata, otherwise you should edit the links on the Wikidata entry.

Featured articles and good articles[edit]

Wikidata does not currently have a way to represent featured or good articles,[1] so links to featured and good articles in other languages will have to be maintained on the page itself. To mark one or more of these links as a featured article or good article in a specific language, add the Template:Link FA or Template:Link GA below:

{{Link FA|language code}} {{Link GA|language code}}

For example, if the Tomato article is a featured one in French and a good one in German, you should write:

{{Link FA|fr}} {{Link GA|de}}

Inline links[edit]

Purpose[edit]

Ordinary interlanguage links are used primarily to link an existing English Wikipedia page to a corresponding page in another language Wikipedia. If it is desired to include, in some article, a link to a topic that is not covered by an article on the English Wikipedia but which does have a page in another language version of Wikipedia, then there are three possible approaches:

  1. Use a red link pointing to a possible future article on the English Wikipedia;
  2. Use an interlanguage link pointing to the existing article on the other Wikipedia, as described in the next section;
  3. Use {{ill}}, {{ill2}}, or {{ill-WD}} to show both a redlink and an interlanguage link (ill and ill-WD will both hide the interlanguage link should the redlink turn blue).

The advantage of the first approach is that the red link informs all readers that the page does not exist locally, thus inviting its creation, and avoiding directing readers to a page that many of them will not understand. The disadvantage is that it conceals the existence of the foreign-language page, which might in itself be of interest to many readers, and may also be valuable to anyone wishing to create a corresponding English Wikipedia article.

It is sometimes possible to combine the two approaches, giving a local red link in addition to an interlanguage link explicitly marked as such. For example: "...the plans were drawn up by German architect Hans Knoblauch (de)..." The templates {{ill}}, {{ill2}}, and {{ill-WD}} are designed to assist this combined approach.

If a red link is not appropriate locally for whatever reason, such as because the subject does not appear to be notable, then linking to the other language page may be useful.

Interlanguage links may also be useful outside of the mainspace for convenience, such as from one's userpage to a page frequently visited or that like-minded visitors might want to go to.

Method[edit]

You can create a clickable link that will be visible in the text by adding a colon before the language abbreviation:

[[:fr:Littérature française du XVIIIe siècle]] or [[:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端]]

You can use the pipe to show only the title:

[[:fr:Littérature française du XVIIIe siècle|Littérature française du XVIIIe siècle]] or [[:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端|Wikipedia:井戸端]]

Which would look like this: Littérature française du XVIIIe siècle or Wikipedia:井戸端 in your text.

Thus you would use [[:ja:Wikilink|Wikilink]] (or use the pipe trick to simplify this to: [[:ja:Wikilink| ]]) to link to "Wikilink" on Japanese Wikipedia. (Example: [[:ja:URL| ]] links to URL on Japanese Wikipedia).

  • Interlanguage links in Talk pages and on Meta will appear inline in the text, like regular links, so you can cite other pages in discussion.
  • In normal articles, an inline link can be made by prefixing an extra colon as explained above, which is the method that should be used for linking to an article in another language which is not the corresponding article.
  • An inline link to a Wiktionary entry, normally [[wikt:Juice| ]], can be directed to another language's Wiktionary like so: [[wikt:fr:Jus| ]].

Links to pages that do not exist[edit]

Links to pages on another wiki (including other Wikimedia Foundation sites) are coloured differently from links within the English Wikipedia. Unlike internal links, these links do not indicate whether the target page exists or not.[2] If the target page does not exist, the link leads to the empty page, with a message informing you about this.

If you find blank interlanguage links on the English Wikipedia, they may be deleted as having no content or you can comment them out. It is strongly recommended that you create at least a stub page before adding interlanguage links to it. Later, interested people can translate the rest of the page content from the original language to the new one for which the link was made.

Note: if the language prefix is wrong it is considered part of the name of a page on the same wiki. Such an error is clear from how the link looks: as an internal link to a page that does or does not exist.

Sorting[edit]

The link tags should be sorted alphabetically based on the local names of the languages, as described at m:Interwiki sorting order. The vast majority of articles are currently sorted this way. Sorting alphabetically according to the two-letter language abbreviations is also acceptable. Regardless of the order in which they are given in the wikitext, they are displayed in the MediaWiki preferred order.

Other[edit]

For a complete list of current languages and language codes, see: m:List of Wikipedias

For a multilingual family of similar projects, with one project per language, a system for interlanguage linking can be set up, setting $wgInterwikiMagic to true and $wgHideInterlanguageLinks to false. If this project is in a family for which this applies, Help:Interlanguage link demo may demonstrate what is explained below (this depends on whether the same language codes are used).

An interwiki link within the family is treated differently, unless it is on a talk page of any namespace. It appears at one or two edges of the webpage (left in Monobook, top and bottom in Classic).

Thus, an interlanguage link is mainly suitable for linking to the most closely corresponding page in another language. It is not suitable for multiple links of the same other language. See Interlanguage use case for a discussion of common troubles with this system and other possible implementations.

The feature can also be used on an image description page, to link to the same or a similar image in a sister project. Other interwiki links to images require the prefixed colon.

Note that, if a page may be used as a template (even if it is not in the template namespace), it should note its interlanguage links between <noinclude> and </noinclude>. This is the same idea as for categories.

Comparison:

  1. [[:en:link]] or [[:category:name]] are ordinary links.
  2. [[m:en:link]] or [[m:category:name]] are interwiki links, see above.
  3. [[category:name]] without leading colon, adds a category to the page.
  4. [[en:link]] without leading colon, adds an interlanguage link to the page.
  5. <noinclude>[[category:name]]</noinclude> limits it to the actual page.
  6. <noinclude>[[en:link]]</noinclude> also limits it to the actual page.

For projects like Meta, a missing leading colon has no effect, because Meta doesn't support interlanguage links. For Wikipedia and similar projects, it is a major difference. The mutual order of interlanguage links is preserved, but otherwise the positions within the wikitext are immaterial, again the same rule as for categories. Usually they are put at the end. With section editing, they appear in the preview, if they are in the section being edited. A link to the project itself (hence, also a link to the page itself), even if referred to with the project prefix, appears in-page.

Suppose that we have pages de:Zug, en:Train and fr:Train, then we need:

Thus, there is no possibility of simply copying each list, let alone of using a template, as can be done, if different languages share one project with or without separate namespaces. For further information, see:

Linking to Wikisource and other sister projects[edit]

To link to Wikisource use [[s:page name]]. For example [[s:Main Page]] (s:Main Page) links to the main English language page on Wikisource. But this is a special case of [[s:en:page name]] [[s:en:Main Page]] (s:en:Main Page) and any other sister project language site can be linked to in the same way e.g.:

Similarly by substituting the Wikipedia:sister project name any other sister project can be accessed:

As with other types of links the first part can be hidden behind a pipe symbol e.g. [[b:de:Hauptseite|German Wikibooks Main Page]] displays German Wikibooks Main Page.

Interlanguage links in the wider sense[edit]

An interlanguage link in the wider sense includes a link to a corresponding page in another language, which, for the software, is a regular link, as opposed to one employing the special interlanguage link feature as described above. This can also be an internal link on a multilingual project, e.g. on Meta:

Possible reasons for using an "interlanguage link" in the page body include:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bug 40810
  2. ^ Bug 11
  • Use the regular external link syntax (see Wikipedia:How to edit a page) in the following cases:
    • linking from languages for which the feature is not yet available;
    • if you want to specify a text in the link in addition to the language, for example if the subjects of the articles do not quite correspond.

External links[edit]