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English prefixes for namespaces work in other languages, but not the other way around. Ex: "File:Image.jpg" vs "Bild:image.jpg"
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MediaWiki has inherent bias toward English in the use of English namespaces in non-English wikis. It does not support non-English naming in English wikis.

If I am on a non-English wiki and use the following syntax to insert media, it works as expected.

If I am on an English wiki and use the following syntax to insert media, it does not work. It gives a redlink.

MediaWiki should be agnostic on what namespaces it accepts. [[Bild:image.jpg]] should resolve an image just as [[File:image.jpg]] would.

This furthers the mission of knowledge equity, particularly around knowledge creation. Changing the behavior of Mediawiki would help non-English language communities to reduce their reliance on English wikitext bits.

Perhaps there should be a setting to limit what languages are acceptable. For argument: If for some reason a Welsh wiki didn't want to use the English "File:" namespace they could discourage it's use by defining a restriction for English (and/or other languages).

Event Timeline

To avoid practical complications (e.g., the RecentChanges patrollers are confused because |thumb appears in dozens of languages and they can't know which ones will work and which ones are nonsense/typos), I wonder whether the namespaces/wikitext codes could be autotransformed upon save, so that you can type [[Bild:Image.jpg]] into enwiki, but it would still save as [[File:Image.jpg]].

Hmm, during our discussion about this, I was thinking of it more as "teaching/reminding/encouraging language communities about how to utilize the various existing localization features".

However, I do not think MediaWiki should accept all translations at all wikis. It would be very confusing to have 300+ ways of writing the same syntax, all potentially in use at a single wiki.
But I do like Whatamidoing's suggestion about autotransform, though am not sure how difficult that would be to implement vs benefit. Perhaps this task could be re-purposed to that, or similar?

No opinion on whether this is a good idea. But I must note that it is impossible, because some of the translations conflict. I checked this using some silly regexes, so this may be incomplete, but at least:

  • The namespace name 'Stampa' means:
    • 'Template' in languages 'aln', 'sq'
    • 'File' in language 'mt'
  • The namespace name 'Datoteka' means:
    • 'File' in languages 'bs', 'hr', 'sh', 'sr-el'
    • 'Media' in language 'sl'

So you'd have to change these translations first (probably also convince the relevant communities that it's a good idea), then fix the existing content.


Nearly all namespaces of zh.* projects are using English namespace names, except Module: and Module_talk: (which are unfairly localized as mainland "模块:" and "模块讨论:", T165593), per T199577#4424881, translations are defined and shown as aliases by InitialiseSettings.php separately.
The reason why Japanese Wikipedia don't translate their namespaces, IMHO, is interesting, as other Japanese projects are really using localized namespaces.