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Original author(s) Niklas Laxström
Developer(s) Niklas Laxström, Siebrand Mazeland
Initial release July 2006 (alpha: 2005)
Stable release Continuous development / Monthly MLEB release
Development status Active
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in 300 languages
Type Computer-assisted translation
License GPL; free service
Website; documentation is a web-based translation platform, powered by the Translate extension for MediaWiki, which makes MediaWiki a powerful tool to translate every kind of text.

It currently is the 13th largest wiki in the world by number of pages,[1] having about 6000 translators[2] for over 50 thousand strings of over 20 projects[3] including MediaWiki, OpenStreetMap, Mifos, Encyclopedia of Life, MantisBT.


The main characteristic of and its engine, the Translate extension, is being a wiki, so contribution is made easy to any web user, with low or no barrier to entry.[4] Quality is pursued by making the translators focus on what they're best at, translation, freeing them from all the other burdens.

Translations are immediately available to the translator and will be «smoothly syncing with [the software's] repository»[5] or wiki translatable pages, without translator intervention. In the best case, MediaWiki on Wikimedia projects, new localisations reach live sites within a day.[6]

The embedded translation editor provides various features to assist in translation, such as

  • message documentation, also known as "context",
  • suggestions from translation memory and machine translation,
  • checking translations for common syntax mistakes,
  • translation status of messages.[7] is also a Semantic MediaWiki.[8]


Niklas Laxström, Translating the wiki way: Simple, fast, fun, Wikimania 2012 (slides available). was made available by Niklas Laxström[9] as localisation platform for all languages of MediaWiki around June 2006, when it was named Betawiki.[10]

Besides translation, it developed with the characteristics of a testing and developing platform for MediaWiki (Nukawiki in 2005[4]), with a focus on the improvement of internationalisation features.[11]

At the end of 2007 Siebrand Mazeland joined in the management of the website, which was moved to the current domain

In April 2008, it already supported over 100 languages for MediaWiki and 200 of its extensions, "making it one of the most translated software projects ever", as well as FreeCol. Since then, while being an independent volunteer project,[12][13] it has been recognised as a major player in the global success of MediaWiki and the Wikimedia projects powered by it, like Wikipedia, in over 280 languages.[14]

In 2009 it was improved thanks to a Google Summer of Code project by Niklas Laxström.[15] In 2011 the proofreading features were introduced.[16] In 2012, its translation memory engine expanded to all Wikimedia projects using Translate.[17]

In 2013, the Translate platform underwent a major revamp through the "Translate User eXperience" project, or "TUX", including "changes in navigation, editor look and feel, translation area, filters, search, and color & style".[7]

Supported formats[edit]

Some of the natively supported formats follow. More can be added with some customisation.[18]

Notable uses[edit]

Moreover, selected self-hosted installations of the Translate extension:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "mutante's WikiStats - List of largest wikis". Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Statistics, 2 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Live localisation statistics, example language Finnish.". Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Laxström, Niklas (22 April 2011). " celebrates – so do I". Retrieved 2 August 2014. , post for 6th birthday.
  5. ^ " Community". Mifos. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  6. ^ mw:Localisation#Update of localisation.
  7. ^ a b Redesigning the Translation experience: An overview, Wikimedia Foundation blog, 25 March 2013.
  8. ^ Bry, Francois; Schaffert, Sebastian; Vrandecic, Denny; Weiand, Klara (2012). "Semantic Wikis: Approaches, Applications, and Perspectives". Lecture Notes in Computer Science 7487: 329–369. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-33158-9_9. ISBN 978-3-642-33157-2. ISSN 0302-9743. "Semantic wikis could be used to contribute to the semi-automatisation of the translation process by making explicit the multi-lingual correspondences between texts." 
  9. ^ Niklas Laxström, language engineer and Wikimedian, Wikimedia Foundation blog, 23 April 2012.
  10. ^ Laxström, Niklas (12 June 2006). "Etusivu — Betawiki". Archived from the original on 2006-06-16. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  11. ^ " – BetaWiki to Translate WikiMedia". KillerStartups. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Gómez Fontanills, David; Mörth, Karlheinz (2012). "Panorama of the wikimediasphere". Digithum (14). Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Siam, Omar (2013). Ein digitales Wörterbuch der 200 häufigsten Wörter der Wikipedia in ägyptischer Umgangssprache: corpusbasierte Methoden zur lexikalischen Analyse nicht-standardisierter Sprache (in German). Philologisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Universität Wien. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Erik Moeller, Free Culture Spotlight: Interview with BetaWiki founder Niklas Laxström, Wikimedia Foundation blog, 18 April 2008.
  15. ^ Laxström, Niklas (1 September 2009). "GSoC wrap-up – Translate extension". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Laxström, Niklas (29 December 2011). "Putting that another pair of eyes into good us". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Laxström, Niklas (7 September 2012). "Efficient translation: Translation memory enabled on all Wikimedia wikis". Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  18. ^ File format support.
  19. ^ "Wiki: Updated stats, translations, project pages". 9 June 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "2013 Gentoo Foundation Inc. Secretary's Report". 18 August 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "KDE UserBase proudly presents another cool feature of the Translate extension developed by the fantastic Niklas Nikerabbit Laxström". Pipesmoker's Blog. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Malchow, Ingo (30 December 2012). "4 years in 6 minutes". Retrieved 3 August 2014. "The explosion in around mid 2010 happened when we introduced the awesome translate extension for mediawiki." 
  23. ^ Localising Joomla! Documentation, by Tom Hutchison, 24 February 2014.
  24. ^ Translation Portal,
  • Stadler, Claus; Lehmann, Jens; Höffner, Konrad; Auer, Sören (2012). "LinkedGeoData: A core for a web of spatial open data". Semantic Web (IOS Press) 3 (4). doi:10.3233/SW-2011-0052. ISSN 1570-0844. 

External links[edit]