Among the Wikimedia projects, Wikipedia has the highest number of individual language projects — 285. The Language Engineering team focuses on building language tools and assets that improve the ability to interact with any article on Wikipedia. Language assets like fonts and input methods are integrated into MediaWiki and its extensions, and our wikis are localized using collaborative translation with translation tools to ensure a decent user experience.
Collaboration in Language Projects and the Language Maven Program
Language tools are constantly evolving to ensure support for our users. It is a slow if not impossible task to scale our small engineering team to support hundreds of languages without close collaboration with our language communities, which have many capable and technically-savvy editors and administrators.
The Wikimedia Language Engineering team has compiled a proposal for the formation of a special interest group named the Language Mavens. With members from various language communities from around the globe, we hope to learn from our users, seek advice, guidance and validation on language features. We hope that the Language Mavens will pull in participation from community members and experts who care about language support features and their adoption in the wikis they read and contribute to.
Getting started with the Maven Program
The Language Maven pilot was rolled out earlier this month on April 13 with a meeting that was well attended. Program scope and activities were discussed. One of the recommendations was to ensure that documents and handy checklists be prepared for easy reference to the language tools available to each language community. Activities that the Mavens can participate in include usability tests, bug triages, testing days and even blogging to share valuable insights about the internationalization tools in their favorite language wiki projects.
The Mavens program is aimed to focus on collecting feedback and providing support for language tools and assets being deployed by the team. This will help develop a long-term user group that will be instrumental in helping other language community members learn more about the latest language features and tools being rolled out. The Maven team expects to meet once every month and communicate through the mediawiki-i18n mailing list. To participate as a Language Maven, please fill up this form to let us know about your interest or ping me (runa at wikimedia dot org) for any questions!
Help us make your language experience better — join the Mavens!
Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering