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What was the problem?[edit]

Wikipedia's old translation system, the remnants of which can be found in Category:Deprecated translation system, was a mess. A few of its problems:

  • It spawned thousands of unused translation subpages. These were difficult to update, so they generally were never updated.
  • Requests were untrackable. Since most translation subpages were not updated, years-old translation requests became stale as the English Wikipedia was updated independently. Moreover, some requests were never even properly formed at all. Often people would paste (untrackable) translation templates on various project pages. In addition, most of the time these requests were never linked to our existing article pages.
  • Its bureaucracy was nearly impenetrable. Newly registered users and unregistered users, many of whom might be able to contribute translations as an easy first task, would have been unable to participate.
  • The project was invisible. Some talk page tags were applied, but not many. People who did not specifically seek out WP:TRANSLATION would be unaware of the need for translations.

Besides the main translation project, there were further problems:

The vision[edit]

Imagine Wikipedia with....

  • One integrated translation system, where there is a single way to list desired translations so that they attract the attention of those most likely to translate
  • Translation requests that are valid, rather than ones that are useless (i.e. no requested translations of inferior foreign-language articles)
  • A way to manage translations so that even casual users can contribute translations
  • Licensing compliance for translated articles
  • A page for each major language with a collaboration area, resources for translation, and links to articles needing translation
  • Contributors who are aware of Wikipedia's translation efforts
  • Coordination with topic- and language-based wikiprojects so efforts are not duplicated

There are thousands of articles worthy of translation on non-English Wikipedia. If Wikipedia's multilingual contributors were organized, the international scope of English Wikipedia could be expanded greatly.

What has been done so far?[edit]

  • New {{Expand language}} tags like {{Expand Spanish}} have been created. These make tracking and requesting translations much easier. They may be placed on article pages or on talk pages, at editors' discretion. These tags also have links to machine translations, so that untranslated text may be of use to monolingual Wikipedians.
  • A bot task has been coded so the corresponding article links are added to all {{Expand language}} translation requests.
  • All translation requests from the old system were reviewed. Where the request appeared invalid (e.g. from 2005 and the article was now quite good, or if it was previously translated), it was not acted on. (If an translation template was on the article's talk page, and the request was invalid, the template was removed.) If the request was valid, an {{Expand language}} was added to the article page or the article talk page. Some valid requests had no corresponding articles. For these, a stub was created, and a tag was applied to the stub. Where this was not possible, relevant WikiProjects were notified of the remaining translation requests.
  • Many stale translation pages have been redirected and merged toward WP:TRANSLATE.
  • {{WikiProject Echo}} template uses converted to new {{Expand language}} templates on many valid translation requests, then the template was deleted when it became clear that its application was haphazard.

What is left to do?[edit]