Group photo
The Content Translation tool has made it a lot easier for Catalan Wikimedians to convert articles to and from different languages. Photo by Flamenc, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Catalan Wikimedians are a very enthusiastic wiki community. In relation to the whole movement, we are mid-sized but one of the most active in terms of editors per millions of speakers.

Surprisingly Catalan, our mother language, was banished for more than 40 years. Thankfully, editors like to use wikis for digital language activism. With Wikipedia (Viquipèdia, in Catalan) we founded a digital space where we can freely spread our language without real life restrictions (governments, markets).

Almost 99% of Catalan speakers are bilingual and also speak Spanish. This means that content translation from Spanish Wikipedia happens frequently on our project. Some translate by hand, others use commercial platforms like Google Translate or freely licensed translation engines like Apertium. Some users even create their own translation bots, like the AmicalBot or EVA, which our community loves and uses often.

A few months ago, we heard news of the upcoming Wikimedia’s ContentTranslation tool, and we’re really happy to find that the very first language tests were planned between Spanish and Catalan. Our community responded to this news with great enthusiasm and we have been testing the tool for months now. The development team has kindly listened to our comments and demands, while implementing many of our shared recommendations.

At a personal level, I found the tool really helpful. It is easy to use and understand, and it greatly facilitates our work. I can now translate a 20- line article in less than 5 minutes, saving lots of time. Before, the worst part of translating articles was spending extra time translating reference templates and some of the wikicode. We understand the tool is not perfect yet, but nothing is perfect in a wiki environment: it is continuously being improved.

One of our community’s biggest challenges is updating different language wikis. We have good content about Catalan culture in the Catalan language, but we are not that good at exporting this content to other wikis. I personally hope that this tool can help us with both tasks.

I recommend that you try the ContentTranslation tool with an open mind and spend some time with it. Translate a few articles and if you find any bugs, please report them. When we say Wikipedia is a global project, we mean that it is multilingual, and this tool really helps us reach our shared vision to help every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

Alex Hinojo, Amical Wikimedia community member