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Translatewiki.net in the Swedish spotlight

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Svenska

English

Translatewiki.net’s logo.

Most Swedes have a basic understanding of English, but many of them are far from being fluent. Hence, it is important that different computer programs are localized so that they can also work in Swedish and other languages. This helps people avoid mistakes and makes the users work faster and more efficienttly. But how is this done?

First and foremost, the different messages in the software need to be translated separately. To get the translation just right and to make sure that the language is consistent requires a lot of thought. In open source software, this work is often done by volunteers who double check each other’s work. This allows for the program to be translated into hundreds of different languages, including minority languages that commercial operators usually do not focus on. As an example, the MediaWiki software that is used in all Wikimedia projects (such as Wikipedia), is translated in this way. As MediaWiki is developed at a rapid pace, with a large amount of new messages each month, it is important for us that we have a large and active community of translators. This way we make sure that everything works in all languages as fast as possible. But what could the Wikimedia movement do to help build this translator community?

We are happy to announce that Wikimedia Sverige is about to start a new project with support from Internetfonden (.Se) (the Internet Fund). The Internet Fund supports projects that improve the Internet’s infrastructure. The idea of translating open software to help build the translator community is in line with their goals. We gave the project a zingy name: “Expanding the translatewiki.net – ‘Improved Swedish localization of open source, for easier online participation’.” This is the first time that Wikimedia Sverige has had a project that focuses on this important element of the user experience. Here we will learn many new things that we will try to share with the wider community while aiming to improve the basic infrastructure on translatewiki.net. The translation platform translatewiki.net currently has 27 programs ready to be translated into 213 languages by more than 6,400 volunteers from around the world.

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A Collaborative Definition of Impact: Building Metrics Together

Voting wall at metrics brainstorming session, Berlin 2014.

What do metrics not tell us?

As part of the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, on Thursday, April 10, members of the WMF Grantmaking department’s Learning and Evaluation team held a brainstorming session around metrics with chapter representatives from around the world. The aim of the session was to start a conversation around what the evaluation metrics piloted in the (beta) Evaluation Reports tell us about our current programs and what they do not tell us, in terms of program impact.

Sharing evaluation information across the movement helps program leaders all over the world benefit from each others know-how and strategies for program design. Evaluation metrics are important tools to help make decisions like, how much time and how many resources should I invest? Every program has at least one purpose or goal behind it, and having a systematic way to measure the results of those goals helps program leaders to better tell the story of their programs; what worked, what didn’t, why or why not.

During the brainstorming session, we worked in two groups, one focused on image upload based programs, the other focused on text-centered programs, to start to answer three big questions:

  • What outcomes and story do the pilot metrics bring forward?
  • Where are there gaps in the story, or what outcomes do the pilot metrics not measure?
  • How else might we measure the outcomes that are not yet included in the story?

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