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A new translation home page, the Maven Program and other updates from Language Engineering

The Wikimedia Language Engineering team continued to develop additional features for Translate UX (TUX) and to fix bugs, including a number of critical bugs that affected Microsoft Internet Explorer. TUX has now been deployed on Wikimedia sites and on The team also launched the new outreach program, called Language Mavens, and conducted an office hour.

The view after the user logs in to the new home page of This is currently in development.

The view after the user logs in to the new home page of This is currently in development.

Redesigning the main page of

As part of the original specifications for TUX, the main page is being redesigned. The layout will now include a set of tiles for the project groups that will contain the projects’ logo and statistics. The links conveniently placed on the tiles can be used to access the project messages for translation and proofreading. Once logged in, users will be presented with summarized statistics of their recent activities.

Significant changes are also planned for the account sign-up form. Along with features that will allow newly signed-up users to familiarize themselves with the translation workflow, it’ll make the process of getting the translation permissions smoother. The page will also include artwork to depict cultural diversity from around the world. The main page is currently under preparation, but the special page can already be accessed on

Language Mavens: The new outreach program

Language Mavens, the new outreach program for the Language Engineering team, was launched to provide better support to the various language communities within Wikimedia projects. The program was announced during the monthly office-hour (read the logs). After a meeting with the initial group of participants, the pilot phase is now underway. The program aims to regularly connect with the language communities across the Wikimedia projects to get feedback about the user experience and any improvements needed in the language support features. To optimize the internationalization tools and workflows, the program will also facilitate participation in activities such as bug triages and testing days. The team will hold regular meetings with the Maven team members. The program is open for participation, and new members can sign up online. To get more details about the program, you can read the program’s description and write to runa at wikimedia dot org.

Up next

For the next development sprints, the team will continue to work on the projects mentioned above, and also devote significant efforts on redesigning the Universal Language Selector (ULS) interface based on the design review document. The Language Engineering team will host a community bug triage session on April 24th, 2013 at 17:00 UTC. The team also invites students participating in Google’s Summer of Code 2013, to work with them on several internationalization projects.

To know more about our projects and ways to participate, please find us on the IRC channel #mediawiki-i18n (Freenode) or write to runa at wikimedia dot org.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

Language Engineering Sprint Update: Translation User Experience improvements, testing and coverage

The Wikimedia Language Engineering team completed its recent development sprints with a focus on feature completeness of ‘Translate User eXperience’ or ‘TUX’ for deployment and also made preparations for its new community outreach project. Below are some of the highlights from the sprint.

Work is underway on the design of the new main page for

Work is underway on the design of the new main page for


Translate Editor – TUX, has been deployed: The Language Engineering team has been blogging on improvements to the Translate Extension which has now been deployed to WMF sites and been enabled as the default editor on Issues encountered while using the new editor can be reported via Bugzilla. More details about TUX’s design features can be found in our previous blog post.

New Language Outreach Program: A new outreach and support program to facilitate feedback from our language wiki projects is also currently in development. The program would facilitate focused feedback about the tools being developed and reaching out with solutions to the larger communities working on Wikimedia projects in various languages. The pilot phase is scheduled for launch in the coming weeks and an announcement with the details of the program will be shortly made.

Updates to the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB): In other news, Amir Aharoni announced the release of the new version of the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB). Besides development updates to TUX, version 2013.3 of MLEB includes bug fixes to the Universal Language Selector (ULS) as well as new fonts for Hebrew, Javanese and Arabic. Last but not least, a Marshallese input method has been contributed to jQuery.ime by Nick Doiron.

Testing plan for language tools: A preliminary outline of a testing plan for all internationalization tools currently maintained by the team was completed. Guided by earlier discussions with the Fedora Localization Testing Group (FLTG), the initial draft includes setup of test environment, preparing test scenarios, collecting feedback and analyzing results.

Preparations for visualization of language coverage information: Work also continued on the Language Coverage Matrix, a collection of data about the availability of language tools for different languages in Wikimedia projects. Currently, the focus is to prepare a technical specification for automated presentation and access to this information.

Event participation and other news: Siebrand Mazeland represented the Wikimedia Language Engineering team at the Internationalization and Localization Conference organized by Lingoport in Santa Clara. (More details: presentation slides, and talk recording)

The ongoing development sprint will focus on creating a new design for the homepage, launch of the pilot phase for Language support outreach program, and publication of the Language Engineering roadmap for the next fiscal year 2013-2014. The Language Engineering team is also looking to hire JavaScript and PHP engineers with deep experience in i18n and l10n technologies. Additionally, a few of the projects that are open for participation have been listed here.

The Language Engineering team is available to answer any technical questions you may have about the tools it develops. You can join us at our monthly office hour scheduled this month on April 10, 1700 UTC and 1000 PDT or find us on at #mediawiki-i18n. Logs from the last office hour held on March 13, 2013 can be found here.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

Redesigning the Translation experience: An overview

The Wikimedia Language Engineering team has been regularly reporting updates about improvements to the Translate editor, as part of the “Translate User eXperience” project, or “TUX”. Pau Giner, the team’s UX expert, has also conducted online sessions to talk about these features. If you have missed these updates, here is a summary of what we are changing about the way the Translate editor is used.

Translate UX main editor screen with Spanish translations in List view

The main editor screen of Translate’s new version, with Spanish translations in List view.

Translate is a MediaWiki extension that is used for translating software and wiki pages. Besides providing translations through the web-based editor and proofreading features, it also supports export and import of gettext files for offline translation. The 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.

Originally created by Niklas Laxström, this extension has grown in features through contributions made by other contributors, as well as by the Wikimedia Language Engineering team. The extension uses a continuous development model and, if you use the extension on a wiki you administer, you are encouraged to update it periodically using the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB).

The workflow and features for Translate were recently redesigned to provide users with an improved experience. The development was done based upon the designs in the workflow specification document. This included changes in navigation, editor look and feel, translation area, filters, search, and color & style. Here are some of the notable new features and changes:

Editing Modes: The translation editor will now provide two translation modes and one proofreading mode. For translation, the user will be able to choose between the ‘List’ view, more suitable for smaller messages, or the ‘Page’ view, designed for longer pieces of text like paragraphs of a wiki page. The proofreading mode will allow users to view translations by other users and mark their accuracy. Although users can view the messages translated by themselves in this mode, they cannot mark them as accepted.

Message status-based filtering: Users will have the option to select and only view messages that match a filter, depending on their status. In the editor, users can choose an appropriate filter to quickly access ‘Translated’, ‘Outdated’ or ‘Untranslated’ messages in translation mode, and ‘Translated’, ‘Outdated’ and ‘Unproofread’ in proofreading mode. Translations marked as ‘Outdated’ (equal to the jargon term “fuzzy”) need attention, for example because the source message has changed.

Message editor and translation aids: The messages in focus are shown within an editing area that is divided into two separate sections: one for translation, and the other for translation helpers, like context documentation, suggestions from previous translation and external translation services. The layout aims to make optimal use of available space and also provides users with the additional option to focus better on a message by expanding the size of the editing area to the entire width of the editor. The navigation to the next message, the ability to save drafts and the display of warnings make the translation process more fluent. Development of some exciting features for improving context-related translation aids is also on the cards.

Search and edits: Users can search translatable strings using the search field at the top of the edit section. The search results are displayed within various categories like ‘source’ or ‘translated’ messages. An additional overview displays the languages and message groups where they occur and users can further filter them based on the sub-groups. Users will be able to directly go into ‘Translation mode’ to make changes to the messages in the search results. A navigation arrow can bring them back to the list of results.

Not all of these features are available on Wikimedia wikis yet, but they will be soon. The current development version is available on If the new editor is not visible, appending “&tux=1” to the URL will enable the new features. Appending “&tux=0” will disable them.

While redesigning Translate’s User experience has been a significant project, development is continuously carried out to make the extension even better to use. And for this, we are always looking for valuable feedback from our users. Bugs and features requests can be filed through bugzilla; additionally, one can write to me at runa at wikimedia dot org with their feedback and suggestions.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

New release of the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle, and other updates

Highlights from the latest development sprint of the Language Engineering team include the release of a new version of the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle, and continued progress on Translation User Experience (UX) and the Language Coverage Matrix.

Screenshot for the redesigned proofread view for the Translate extension showing translations in Georgian.

Screenshot of the redesigned proofread view for the Translate extension showing translations in Georgian.

Design and development improvements continued for Translate UX, also known as TUX. A preliminary implementation of the Proofreading feature (per the specifications in the design document) includes features to view the messages adjacently, adding clickable markers for proofreading and switching between proofreading and translation mode. Pau Giner presented these updates at an open session and also invited users to join the ongoing usability tests.

Amir Aharoni announced the release of MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB) 2013.02. Besides localization updates in most of the components within MLEB, more features were added to Translate UX. The Universal Language Selector however had to be rolled back to the 2012.12 version to ensure compatibility with MediaWiki 1.20.

The Language coverage matrix document was updated to include more information about web fonts and input methods that are currently available for use in MediaWiki and Wikimedia projects. The document aims to provide an overview of the internationalization and localization support in languages across Wikimedia projects.

As part of the ongoing effort to use a CLDR-based, data-driven approach for internationalization features, plural rules for many languages were analyzed and custom rules were removed for a few languages.

The Language Engineering team will be hosting an IRC office hour session on Wednesday, March 13 2013 on in #wikimedia-office (FreeNode server) at 17:00 UTC. Topics will include discussion, questions, feedback about current projects, open bugs and projects planned for the next sprint.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

Language engineers improve translation tool and meet with their peers

Quem não arrisca não petisca — a Portuguese proverb

During their latest development sprint, the Wikimedia Language Engineering team conducted extensive review and testing of the Translate extension, and participated and contributed to two major open source events in India: a core developers Language Summit and GNUnify.

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User experience improvements to the Translate tool will notably make it easier and more pleasant to translate content on Wikimedia sites that use it.

Translate Editor Updates

Progress continued on enhancements to the MediaWiki Translate extension. Further testing on the usability of the translation editor, search feature, and prototype of the advanced editing features were conducted by Pau Giner with five users from four different countries. The prototypes were tested in a great diversity of languages including Nepali, Chinese, Tetum, French, Breton, and Finnish. Based on this feedback, changes to the style and specifications for the prototype were made. Details about the individual tests can be found in the final report for this round of testing.

Community Participation

The Language Engineering team participated in the Open Source Language Summit and GNUnify, both held in Pune, India. The Open Source Language Summit, co-organized by the Wikimedia Foundation and Red Hat, consisted of work-sprints that focused on internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) features, font support, input method tools, language search, i18n testing methods and standards. More information about the event is available in the detailed event report.

The team also participated in GNUnify 2013, held at the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, in Pune. Besides presenting about the various projects that the team is currently working on, a translation sprint on was also organized, as well as a workshop on jQuery.IME and a BoF session to discuss issues related to Wikimedia projects in Indian languages. Details of the accomplishments from the sessions at GNUnify 2013 can be found in the event report.

Other Achievements

Additionally, some changes to MediaWiki core were backported to support the newer version of the Universal Language Selector on MediaWiki versions 1.19 and 1.20. As there is no released maintenance version yet, MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle (MLEB) users are advised to remain on MLEB version 2012.12.

Focus for the next sprint

For the next development sprint, the team will work on more features for the Translate extension, like the proofreading mode and further improving the user experience. In addition to this, focus will be on putting together the language coverage matrix as a reference for the status of language support on MediaWiki, MediaWiki Extensions and Wikimedia projects.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

Report from the Spring 2013 Open Source Language Summit

Fortuna i forti aiuta, e i timidi rifiuta — an Italian proverb

The Wikimedia Foundation and Red Hat jointly organized the Second Open Source Language Summit on February 12th and 13th, 2013. The summit was held at the Red Hat engineering center in Pune, India. Similar to the previous summit, this face-to-face work session was focused on internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) features, font support, input method tools, language search, i18n testing methods and standards. The sessions were work sprints, each with special focus on a key area. Participants included core contributors from the Wikimedia Foundation, Red Hat (including Fedora SIG members), KDE, FUEL, Google and C-DAC. Below is a summary of what was accomplished during these two days.

During the summit, teams from different organizations came together to discuss language-related challenges, and worked together on features and tools to address them.

During the summit, teams from different organizations came together to discuss language-related challenges, and worked together on features and tools to address them.

Input Methods

Parag Nemade and Santhosh Thottingal worked on making additional input methods available for the jQuery.IME library. 60 input methods, covering languages like Assamese, Esperanto, Russian, Greek, Hebrew were added bringing the total to 144. Also IMEs from the m17n library missing from the jQuery.IME library were identified.

Translation tools, & FUEL Sprint

Siebrand Mazeland and Niklas Laxström, together with Ankit Patel, Rajesh Ranjan and Red Hat language maintainers, worked to identify more tools that could be used as Translation aids in a translation system. The FUEL project aims to standardize translations for frequently used terms, translation style and assessment methodology. Until now it has focused mostly on languages of India. The FUEL project can now be translated in Pau Giner demonstrated new designs for the translation editor and terminology usage, remotely from Spain.

Language Coverage Matrix

To better evaluate the needs for enabling support for languages, a matrix detailing the requirements and availability of basic and extended features is being drawn up. With 285 languages currently supported in Wikimedia and more than 100 in Fedora, this document will be instrumental in bridging the gaps and porting features across projects and platforms. Key areas of evaluation include input methods, fonts, translation aids like glossaries and spell-checkers, testing and validation methods, etc. A preliminary draft was created during the summit by Alolita Sharma, Runa Bhattacharjee and Amir E. Aharoni.

Fonts, WebFonts

An initiative to document the technical aspects of fonts for scripts for languages spoken in India started during the language summit. For each of the scripts, a reference font will be chosen and each font will be explained in detail to intersect with the Open Type font specification as a standard. It will aim to act as a reference document for any typographer working on Indian language fonts. Initial draft and outline of this document was prepared during the second day of the language summit, mainly by Santhosh Thottingal and Pravin Satpute.

Testing Internationalization Tools

Finding suitable methods for testing internationalized components and contents was the major focus of this sprint, with the Fedora Localization Testing Group (FLTG) and Wikimedia’s Language Engineering team sharing details of their testing methods. The FLTG conducts Test Days prior to Fedora beta releases with a test matrix targeted at specific core components, and Wikimedia uses unit tests for frequent testing of their development features. The FLTG showed its plans to integrate the screenshot comparison method for testing localized interfaces. This method will be useful for Wikimedia too. Extending the method for web-based applications and Wikimedia’s language requirements (e.g. right-to-left) were identified as areas for collaboration.

More news from the Language Summit can be found in the tweets, the session notes and the full report.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering

Inching towards enabling our improvements to the Translation user experience

Lel the tacho pirrow, an’ it’s pars kaired — A Romani proverb

The Wikimedia Language Engineering team just completed its most recent development sprint, to introduce a new iteration of  the Translation Editor within the Translate Extension, and include features to make it more satisfactory as a translation workspace. The primary focus during this sprint has been to make the editor ready for production use. Some members of the team also attended FOSDEM 2013 in Brussels.

Translate interface features & enhancements

Paste Source Text  — Often found in translation editors, this feature allows for the source text to be easily copied over into the translation edit box. It’s now available in Translate and is particularly helpful when large portions of the source messages can be reused in the translation.

Message Documentation Display — Details about the messages within a project for translation can now be seen for all messages in a page, by picking the special “Message Documentation” language in the “Translate to” selector. This advanced option allows translators to view and evaluate the context for the messages that they are translating and also to see all the messages that were not documented yet.

The Message Documentation window of the MediaWiki Translate extensionprovides context for individual messages being translated.

The Message Documentation window of the MediaWiki Translate extension provides context for individual messages being translated.

Translation Editor UI  — The other enhancements that help translators to quickly review messages include:

  1. Unchanged translations marked as “outdated” can be marked as suitable for use using the Confirm Translation button.
  2. When translating a message, the translation aids of the subsequent message gets preloaded to avoid any delay during navigation.
  3. Groups of messages, especially within Translation Pages with longer content, can now be set to a different state through a button click on a redesigned interface. This feature helps in identifying the Pages that can be pushed for publication.
  4. Machine Translation suggestions from Apertium, Microsoft, and Yandex can now be dynamically presented for each message on the editor.

Besides the above, Search and Translation Editor were cross-integrated for translators, to edit Translations directly from the page displaying search results.

Search and Translation Editor were cross-integrated for translators, to edit Translations directly from the page displaying search results.

Search and Translation Editor were cross-integrated for translators, to edit Translations directly from the page displaying search results.

Pau Giner conducted a walkthrough of Translate user experience improvements, demonstrating the current state of development and the upcoming features for this extension.

Translate API changes — Changes to the Translate API now provide more information for the developers via the Web API, to help them implement customized translation interfaces.

During the development cycle, the team also engaged with the larger community to gather feedback about the new features through usability tests.

In other good news, jQuery.ime was successfully implemented on the Koha Library management system (v. 3.10) by Indranil Dasgupta. Also, do see this wonderful video about jQuery.ime by Chris Forno that blew us away.

Focus for the next sprint

Further enhancements to Translate continue to be the main focus for the next sprint. This includes review and testing of the latest designs. The Language Engineering team hopes to have more interaction in this regard at the Open Source Language Summit (organised and hosted in collaboration with Red Hat) and at GNUnify in Pune, India.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language engineering

Language Engineering: Progress With Input Methods and Translation Editor

Batti il ferro finché è caldo —an Italian proverb

In its last two-week sprint, the Wikimedia Language Engineering team worked with developers from other teams to improve its keyboard support and we continued working on the new user interface for the Translate extension.

Input methods: More languages and support for mobile devices added

jquery.ime, Wikimedia’s portable keyboard layouts library got boosts from two sources during the last sprint.

Yuvi Panda from the mobile team refactored Wikimedia’s keyboard layouts library, jquery.ime, to make it usable on mobile phones. Now, over 60 keyboard layouts that are supported by IME will also be usable on Android mobile phones. If you’d like to try an early testing version of the mobile keyboard layouts and help developing them, head to the mobile keyboard layouts GitHub repository.

Engineers from Red Hat also joined the input method development effort and added new and improved layouts for the Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu languages, spoken by millions of people in India.

If a keyboard layout for your language is missing, you can send a pull request to the main jquery.ime repository.

Progress on translation editor user experience

The team continued fixing and improving the new translation editor, getting it ready to release. Some of the recent improvements include:

  • The most relevant translation memory suggestions are shown at the top.
  • Messages are loaded automatically when the user scrolls to the bottom of the page.
  • The status bar at the bottom of the page shows information about the status of the translations.
  • Recently translated projects are now displayed correctly in the project selector.
  • Discouraged translation projects are omitted from the group selector.
  • Message documentation can now be edited inside in the translation editor.

A video showing some of the recently deployed features in action: Most relevant translation suggesions are shown first; Inline translation documentation editor; Automatic loading of messages when scrolling; Experimental faceted search page for translations.

The features that were already implemented, were also tested with real users by the team’s interaction designer Pau Giner. The issues that the users reported were noted and will be fixed in the coming sprints.

Niklas Laxström implemented Faceted search for translations using the Free Apache Solr engine and deployed an experimental version of the translation search on the testing site. He also made an open presentation about Solr and its upcoming use in You can watch Niklas’ presentation about Solr on YouTube.

Next week some of the team members are going to participate in the FOSDEM conference, and after that—the 2nd Language Summit in the Red Hat offices in Pune.

Amir Aharoni. Software Engineer (Internationalization), Language Engineering team

A more efficient translation interface

De mica en mica s’omple la pica i de gota en gota s’omple la bota. —a Catalan proverb

During its most recent development sprint, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team continued to improve the user experience of the Translate extension to make it as smooth and efficient as possible. Highlights include:

  • Pressing the “Save” button immediately shows the next string to translate, while the saving is performed in the background.
  • When progressing to the next translation, the page smoothly scrolls up.
  • Explanations about translatable strings are shown beside the corresponding message in a convenient box, which becomes expandable if the documentation is too long.
  • Machine Translation was made available for suggested translations.
  • The differences between older versions of translatable strings are also shown in a new expandable box.
  • The Language Selector API was updated to allow displaying all the documentation strings.
  • The Solr search engine schema was tweaked to make searching translatable strings more efficient and feature-rich by offering faceted search.

Below is a brief demo of the latest features of the translation editor in action. You can see translating the Etherpad Lite project into Russian there.

The Language team also continues to work on squashing bugs and adding prioritized features. You can check out the latest bleeding edge version of the translation editor on, or go back to the stable translation editor. Please report Translate bugs in Bugzilla.

Amir E. Aharoni, Software Engineer (Internationalization)

Language engineering news: Bugs fixed in Universal Language Selector, and a new IPA keyboard layout

Imagine a world in which every single human being can easily select the language of the website that they are reading.

One of the bugs that were fixed: not all elements of the user interface of the Universal Language Selector’s were using web fonts.

That’s what the Wikimedia Foundation’s Language Engineering team has been working on through the Universal Language Selector (ULS): a reusable user interface component for comfortable selection of the most appropriate language out of a long list of available options. It integrates new features from Project Milkshake, a set of portable JavaScript tools for internationalizing any web application with web fonts, keyboard layouts and a robust mechanism for loading translations.

The Universal Language Selector is already used on and on the new Wikidata project, two massively multilingual communities of software translators and data curators, who are testing this feature in an actual production environment, and reporting many bugs. After coming back from the Bangalore Developer Camp, the team set out to fix the last major bugs in the ULS, and most notably:

Now, all buttons use web fonts and are readable.

Currently, the Universal Language Selector supports 68 keyboard layouts and 44 web fonts, and the number is growing. New fonts and keyboards are added according to the needs of the readers and the editors’ communities around the world.

In other news:

  • We held Language Engineering office hours on November 21.
  • Web fonts support was deployed to the Persian Wikipedia, but unfortunately reverted after the users found several issues with font rendering. The team hopes to fix the problems and deploy web fonts again, for the benefit of all the users who do not have good fonts installed on their computers and devices.
  • Niklas Laxström created the first test release of the MediaWiki Language Extension Bundle, an easy-to-install package of stable versions of several MediaWiki extensions that improve its multilingual support. It keeps your MediaWiki site’s interface translations up-to-date and includes “language skills” boxes, rich locale data, easy translation of content pages and site interface, and the aforementioned UniversalLanguageSelector, which helps users select the language.
  • A screenshot of MediaWiki with jquery.ime and the word ‘milkshake’ written in IPA.

    I created a keyboard mapping for easy typing in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), based on the SIL IPA layout. The IPA is very commonly used as a pronunciation guide in Wikipedia and Wiktionary, and the deployment of the Universal Language Selector will make typing in IPA easier. Other IPA layouts may be easily added, for example X-SAMPA. You are very welcome to try this layout in click any text field, and select the English language and the SIL IPA layout in the keyboard layout pop-up.

The team’s next sprint marks the beginning of a new release, during which we’ll start implementing a major overhaul of the user interface of

Amir E. Aharoni, Software Engineer (Internationalization)