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News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

How translating The Simpsons hooked Melisa Parisi on editing Wikipedia

(Lee la versión en español aquí)

When Melisa Parisi began contributing to Wikimedia in 2007, she was only 15. Parisi, a native Argentinean, started by translating articles about the long-running cartoon The Simpsons from English Wikipedia to Spanish Wikipedia.

Melisa Parisi

Her first article was deleted because it didn’t have the correct formatting. That setback didn’t deter Parisi, however, and with the assistance of an even younger Wikipedia editor, she learned the the ins and outs of editing guidelines. “He helped me a lot, I was ready to quit when a sysop deleted my first article, I wanted to quit because it was so frustrating,” said Parisi. “Thanks to his help, I kept going.”

Once she got her footing, she began writing articles about American TV shows. With The Simpsons, she translated roughly 300 articles from English to Spanish, covering the many characters and episodes. “I was interested [in writing about The Simpsons] because we didn’t have a lot of articles about this program,” she said. “There were in the English Wikipedia but not in the Spanish, so I decided to bring them all, and I did — I brought absolutely everything to Spanish Wikipedia.”

As of 2012, she’s written more than 800 articles — including 40 Featured articles — and has made more than 27,000 edits. All that experience has helped her improve her writing and language skills. “Wikipedia helped me a lot because I learned how to write better,” she said. “It helps me in my professional career.”

Being a Wikipedia contributor even helped Parisi get a job. Since she didn’t have any professional experience at the time, she added that she edits Wikipedia to her resume and said that got her the gig. She’s now a professional text editor and translator, and is also pursuing a career as a flight attendant.

After years of contributing her own time and skills, Parisi hopes more young people will also contribute to Wikipedia. To encourage others in her community, she has taught classrooms full of students how to get started editing Wikipedia. With any luck, she’ll create a new generation of editors and contributors for Spanish Wikipedia and beyond.

Parisi is the first to tell anyone that all that’s required to contribute to Wikipedia is the desire to do so. You don’t need to be a genius or an expert on a topic, she said, you just need to have the drive to make a contribution. It helps if you love what you write about, but even the smallest changes in an existing article can make a difference.

“I realized that many people do not participate in Wikipedia because they don’t know they are able to do useful contributions,” she said. “By correcting a comma, an accent or a misspelled word you are improving an article and helping the reader who will consult it.”

Sarah Mitroff, Communications Volunteer, Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia Argentina’s educational booklet now also in Guarani language

This post is available in 2 languages: Español 7% • English 100%

English

“Vikipetã mbo’eha kotýpe”, the new Guarani version of Wikipedia in the classroom

Wikimedia Argentina, the first Wikimedia chapter in Latin America to be founded, has a long history of activities related with promoting the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in education, mainly in secondary schools and universities.

In 2010, it published a booklet entitled “Wikipedia en el aula” (Wikipedia in the classroom in Spanish), aimed at teachers and other education professionals. A significant number of students in Argentina currently use Wikipedia as their main source of information, so the booklet tries to answer several questions a teacher has about Wikipedia, such as “Is it reliable?” or “What can I do if my students use Wikipedia?”. “Wikipedia en el aula” not only addresses these questions but also presents several cases of teachers who have used Wikipedia as a learning tool within their own classrooms. The booklet presents simple examples illustrating how the online encyclopedia can be used as a place to develop writing and debating abilities and to motivate participation and engagement within a community.

The booklet has been distributed to several schools in Argentina and has inspired the Argentine government to create a space about Wikipedia within its own education portal, educ.ar.

Wikimedia Argentina has organized several workshops and presentations for Argentine students and teachers.

Following other of its own strategic pillars, Wikimedia Argentina developed the first edition of “Wikipedia en el aula” in an indigenous language, with the goal of promoting the usage and development of the historically displaced native languages of the current Argentine territory. In its first edition, “Wikipedia en el aula” was translated into Guarani (“Vikipetã mbo’eha kotýpe”), spoken not only in Northeastern Argentina but also in an area encompassing Southern Brazil, Western Bolivia, and Paraguay, where it is one of the two official languages. Wikimedia Argentina will publish a first edition with 500 printed copies to be distributed in schools and other educational institutions, and it expects to broaden the number of languages in the future.

Yet, Wikimedia Argentina’s Educational activities are not limited to “Wikipedia en el aula”. The chapter has already delivered in the past presentations and workshops to students and teachers. Wikimedia Argentina’s goal for 2013 is to articulate all of these activities in an Educational Master Plan. It will be created together with local and foreign experts on Education and will act as a guide for Wikimedia Argentina’s work in the years to come.

Osmar Valdebenito G.
Executive Director
A. C. Wikimedia Argentina

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Wikimania 2009 in Buenos Aires kicks off this week!

Wikimania starts this week!  Today we reminded everyone about this year’s Wikimania here in Buenos Aires.  Most of the staff and Board are here in the city, as well as hundreds of project volunteers and stakeholders.  The local organizing crew and Wikimedia Argentina are doing a great job.

Follow the events of the conference on twitter and identi.ca, and keep an eye on the Wikipedia Weekly podcasts.  Hopefully we’ll have time to blog about events as they unfold at Wikimania.

We also want to thank all of our sponsors this year.  Without them we couldn’t pull events like this together: Telefonica, Terra, Speedy, The Richard Lounsbery Foundation, Answers.com, Kaltura, Wikimedia Deutschland, The Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Open Society Institute, wikiHow, Wikia, and Banco Credicoop.  Thank you!

More as the event unfolds…

Jay Walsh, Communications