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Process of adding new languages to wikiprojects without having to go through Wikipedia, translating the UI, etc.
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Description

Right now, adding in new languages is not user-friendly if they do not have their own Wikipedia, even in the incubator, or if they haven't start translating the UI. This is one issue preventing under-resourced language communities from being able to participate in projects like Wikidata and Commons, which are not as work-intensive for these communities to create and maintain and many language communities will, in reality, never have a Wikipedia of their own. This does not mean that they do not have knowledge to share and they shouldn't be prevented from sharing it.

For example, the possibility of adding labels and descriptions to items without having to have the UI translated is, AFAIK, not possible, yet this would let these communities share their knowledge with the resources they do have.

So I would like to gather thoughts related to how to do this without needing an up-and-running Wikipedia and I will divide it into subtasks.

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Event Timeline

Yupik created this task.May 17 2019, 8:44 PM
Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptMay 17 2019, 8:44 PM
Yupik updated the task description. (Show Details)May 17 2019, 8:51 PM
Yupik added a comment.May 17 2019, 9:01 PM

This is not the same as T165585 (Make creating a new Language project easier) or T158730 (Automate WMF wiki creation), because the process should not require a Wikipedia project to be created or the UI of any project to be translated before languages can be used in labels and descriptions in Wikidata, captions and summary boxes in Commons, etc.

I believe there should be a simple and streamlined way of adding in new languages in these cases and until then, we should have precise, concise information on what needs to be done to add them in.

Yupik updated the task description. (Show Details)May 17 2019, 9:02 PM
Yupik renamed this task from WMHack19: Process of adding new languages to wikiprojects to WMHack19: Process of adding new languages to wikiprojects without having to go through Wikipedia, translating the UI, etc..May 17 2019, 10:13 PM
Yupik updated the task description. (Show Details)
Yupik moved this task from Incoming to In progress on the WMFI board.
Yupik renamed this task from WMHack19: Process of adding new languages to wikiprojects without having to go through Wikipedia, translating the UI, etc. to Process of adding new languages to wikiprojects without having to go through Wikipedia, translating the UI, etc..May 19 2019, 2:33 PM
Yupik removed a project: Wikimedia-Hackathon-2019.
Nikki added a subscriber: Nikki.May 22 2019, 11:22 AM
Yupik added a subscriber: Trondtr.Jul 4 2019, 10:56 AM

This is not the same as T165585 (Make creating a new Language project easier) or T158730 (Automate WMF wiki creation), because the process should not require a Wikipedia project to be created or the UI of any project to be translated

It's not a technical requirement. It's a process requirement by the Language committee. So this particular thing doesn't require any technical work, but a policy change.

If anyone cares about my opinion, I am not opposed to this. For example, this may help resolve the problems with Sami and Australian languages. However, there really should be a wider discussion about this in the Wikimedia community.

before languages can be used in labels and descriptions in Wikidata, captions and summary boxes in Commons, etc.

If we talk about Wikidata, which is one of the central issues here, then there is a bit of a problem: As far as I know, each project family (Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikibooks, etc.) must be added separately to Wikidata. So to be added to Wikidata, a project family is supposed to exist first, and this is a separate issue.

I agree that it should be easy to just create a new test wiki, and that it's OK if it doesn't belong to any project family, but if it doesn't belong to a project family, I'm not sure what does it mean that it's connected to Wikidata.

Nikki added a comment.Jul 23 2019, 2:03 PM

This is not the same as T165585 (Make creating a new Language project easier) or T158730 (Automate WMF wiki creation), because the process should not require a Wikipedia project to be created or the UI of any project to be translated

It's not a technical requirement. It's a process requirement by the Language committee. So this particular thing doesn't require any technical work, but a policy change.

Isn't it a bit of both? It's already possible to add a language for labels to Wikidata without a UI translation, but the lack of a UI translation means they can't really be used unless you manually add ?uselang= to every page (e.g. this will display Skolt Sami labels for the linked items even though you can't select it as a UI language), they don't have any fallback languages other than English, they are not always correctly marked as RTL (e.g. T204460) when necessary, etc.

For Wikidata, since labels form part of the UI, I think it would make sense for languages that can be used for labels to be selectable as the UI language, but there needs to be a way to set the fallback languages. Ideally it would be combined with the existing UI language list, so that Wikidata doesn't have to maintain a separate list of additional label languages (something I know you dislike :)). For example, I could imagine there being a per-wiki setting which says whether to use the standard (= current) set of UI languages or the extended (= suitable for Wikidata and Commons) list.

Yupik added a comment.Jul 23 2019, 3:47 PM

For Wikidata, since labels form part of the UI,

How would we go about translating the UI for dead languages in order to use them as label languages? We have plenty of data for these types of languages that we can't use because of the UI requirement.

Yupik added a comment.Jul 23 2019, 3:59 PM

It's not a technical requirement. It's a process requirement by the Language committee. So this particular thing doesn't require any technical work, but a policy change.

I'm up for changing the policy.

If anyone cares about my opinion, I am not opposed to this.

Your opinion matters a lot, particularly since it signals to the rest of us that there's hope the policy might change.

For example, this may help resolve the problems with Sami and Australian languages. However, there really should be a wider discussion about this in the Wikimedia community.

This is where I get a bit pessimistic. It's hard enough trying to explain why we need to be able to use these languages disconnected from the UI to people who know what we're talking about; I'm not really confident that we could get the point across to the general Wikimedia community since we're talking about languages that the great majority have never heard of.

Nikki added a comment.Jul 23 2019, 4:09 PM

For Wikidata, since labels form part of the UI,

How would we go about translating the UI for dead languages in order to use them as label languages? We have plenty of data for these types of languages that we can't use because of the UI requirement.

UI translations are done at Translatewiki.net. There's some information at https://translatewiki.net/wiki/FAQ#How_to_add_a_new_language but I'm not sure exactly which languages they allow.

But did you perhaps misunderstand what I wrote? I'm trying to say that it should be made possible to select these languages as UI languages on Wikidata even when the UI hasn't been translated, so that people can add labels in them.

Yupik added a comment.EditedJul 23 2019, 4:22 PM

UI translations are done at Translatewiki.net. There's some information at https://translatewiki.net/wiki/FAQ#How_to_add_a_new_language but I'm not sure exactly which languages they allow.

My point was that the UI will never be translated into dead languages. Or even a lot of living languages for that matter since not every language community has the resources to do so, but they might have the resources to add labels or descriptions in their own language anyway. To translate the UI, they would likely have to come up with new terms, but the labels for many Wikidata items are likely to already exist in their own language.

(EDIT: Perhaps I should have put the above under this task's subtask ''Precise and concise documentation on adding a new language to Wikidata'')

But did you perhaps misunderstand what I wrote? I'm trying to say that it should be made possible to select these languages as UI languages on Wikidata even when the UI hasn't been translated, so that people can add labels in them.

I did misunderstand you, thank you!

Ebe123 added a subscriber: Ebe123.Jul 23 2019, 6:05 PM