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Translation interface makeover in progress

Ei kannata mennä merta edemmäs kalaan. —a Finnish proverb

The Translate extension, a central piece in the puzzle that makes Wikipedia and the community around it massively multilingual, is getting a major overhaul.

“Translate”, as it’s commonly called, powers the translation of Wikipedia’s software, announcements, reports and fundraising banners, and of other sites and software projects. It focuses on making the translators’ work easy, efficient and, if possible, fun. The software gets frequent under-the-hood updates, and now the time has come for a major overhaul of its most visible part: the translation user interface.

Arun Ganesh and Pau Giner, from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team, have studied the current translation workflow by testing the software and interviewing translators. They drafted new interface ideas and tested experimental designs with users who speak different languages and have different levels of experience with the translation functionality.

In the team’s thirtieth two-week coding sprint, which ended last Tuesday, two major components of the overhaul have taken shape: the message group selector and the list of translatable messages.

The Message group selector. Message groups are groups of related translatable messages: a software project, a multilingual blog post or announcement, etc.

The group selector helps a translator find a project to translate using a tree-like structure of groups and sub-groups. Every project shows the completeness of the translation using a colorful progress bar. For quick and easy access to the projects that interest the translator, there’s a tab that shows recently used projects, and a responsive search function.

Listing of translatable interface message for the Visual Editor. Some messages are translated to French and some need review.

The list of strings to translate has been redesigned to improve clarity, making it easier to scan and distinguish between messages that are translated, untranslated and need to be updated (“fuzzy”).

The development of the improved user experience continues. In the next sprints, the team will complete these features and add new ones, such as an improved sign-up process and better search. Usability testing efforts will continue to ensure that the new designs provide an improved experience. If you are interested in trying the new translation tools, please volunteer for our usability testing sessions.

Other ways to connect with the Language Engineering team:

  • Pau Giner and I will present on multilingual user testing and internationalization “dos and don’ts” in the live broadcast Wikimedia Open Tech Chat on Thursday, December 13 at 20:30 UTC.
  • We’ll hold IRC Office Hours on Wednesday, December 17 at 17:30 UTC. Topics of discussion will be the translation user experience improvements, Universal Language Selector and general Q&A.

Amir E. Aharoni, Software Engineer (Internationalization)

2 Responses to “Translation interface makeover in progress”

  1. Parwinder says:

    You are right. It is true.

  2. Jon Harald Søby says:

    This is _extremely_ awesome. :o)