Forums: Index > Watercooler > Multilingual site, or separated: eg: de.genealogy.wikia

(Previous reference at Forum:This Wikia is now multilingual)

Just curious how folks see this evolving. Commons chose multilingual. It was natural for the WPs to choose separate, but in our case a date is a date.

Of course with information stored in info pages, it would be possible to keep the different language genealogy wikias in synch, through use of the shared unique identifiers. Mirroring of info pages would be performed by a bot.

Separate doesn't make a whole lot of sense in many respects though. Think of it- all the images would have to be replicated unless wikia changes current practice. ~ Phlox 18:47, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Info pages and Multilingual Genealogy site[]

Note that info pages make "fill in the blank" minimalist articles very easy. For example, Adela of Normandy (c1062) has a huge amount of information, but the article is a TOTAL boilerplate. This has implications for Skinning a new language.

{{tabs person}}
{{Showinfo person}}
'''{{get|key=Full name}}'''

==Name variations==
{{get|key=Alternative names}}


((get|key=Short description}}
{{showinfo interwikis}}
{{showinfo children|{{get|key=Father}}}}

{{showinfo children|{{get|key=Spouse}}}}

{{get references}}

{{Info categories}}

You see what this means? If you translate just the table column titles and headings, you can re-use all the data we inputed for an English language article and produce an usable version in all the major languages.

Ce n'est pas mal. Es verdad. Honto, ne. ~ Phlox 03:02, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

A French skin has been created for Info articles. This is how our interface would look for French viewers:Fille de Guillaume le Conquérant ~ Phlox 06:45, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Interwiki links[]

Portion of Robin response to my demo of interwiki links at William I, King of England (1027-1087)- Snipped and moved here since the discussion is germane to this topic:

Seriously, now, let's have this template, but let's not make it a Wiktionary - we don't need to read the actual page names the other WPs use.
Robin Patterson 07:59, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Think about it. What if someone searches for "Vilhelm Erövraren". No hits on Genealogy.wikia. [edit, June 2009: it now gets us on hits 13 and 14] Or 威廉一世 , or Вильгельм I Завоеватель. Even if we don't have a translated skin stating as with Adela of Normandy (c1062)/fr what the column values mean, it is still very intelligible to folks with little english. Robin obviously understands French (judging from his fix up of some of my odd french grammar and phrasing), but others can see what I mean by looking at Adela of Normandy (c1062)/fr. It's not hard to figure out which column means Birth, and which means death. So even if we had no skins, for an article, we should have the foreign language titles of the WP articles.

That is, unless our goal is to hide under a rock and be invisible to that small portion of the world that doesn't use English as a primary language. Sarcasm aside, we really have to think globally and push aside some of our Anglo-centrist viewpoints. Having translations of article names is not so offensive to English readers and is important to accessibility for those who don't use English as a primary language. They can't find us if we don't put out some search targets for them. We need to drawing more folks into our network of microhistory writing, and we have to start somewhere. Putting out the Bienvenue/환영/Boa vinda/Добро пожаловать/欢迎 sign is a first step. If we don't incorporate search targets in other languages, they will never find us. ~ Phlox 15:50, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Robin replies (having virtually repeated his comment in another forum a few minutes ago without realising it was here). I think I see the point; OK, have the actual name on our site and therefore searchable - but not prominent on the main page, please (because we don't want to send people away - not even to a friendly site such as WP - when they've just arrived). Needs a lot of discussion of detail, I expect; e.g. - when we have the said King William in several languages on this site, will there be multiple copies of the same interwiki list? How about dummy pages with the foreign name on them and a link to the origin? Or would those pages be so empty as to be ignored by the all-powerful Google? Robin Patterson 12:33, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

They won't be empty if we use the Adela of Normandy (c1062)/fr trick.~ Phlox 20:25, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Liaison with other-language genealogy Wikia sites[]

I know the Norwegian one progressed practically nowhere in its first couple of years. But the Peize wiki is a genealogy site although confined to the people of one village. There may be others. If we get the package right, we may be able to combine, for everyone's benefit. (Have you checked how other multi-language Wikia sites actually work?) Robin Patterson 12:33, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I am strongly leaning towards multilingual as well. Have I checked? Yes. Commons is multilingual, and I have moved over some of the lang templates already. I have some example articles in Russian and English. The main problem is keeping the data in sync between the parallel articles. That's where the language "skinning" (Adela of Normandy (c1062)/fr idea comes in. Someone changes the married date in the English article and the French article gets the change automagically. Pretty cool, huh.
Minor issue is multilanguage on the same page. You might think it was a major issue, but it really isn't. There are places (fortunately not common) where the article has to speak all languages- eg Image pages. In this case, we use the commons technique with lang tags- eg Template:ru. If you don't do this, you have text in a cajillion languages on the page, and the user probably can handle at most two, so the users throw up their hands and leave since they are deluged with info useless to them. The tag puts span and div code around the text so that, among other things, it can be hidden by a setting in monobook.css. When user declares language preference, their css gets the hide. There was some talk about the wikimedia engine providing support for that switching automagically using the user's browser settings for language preference that is available to the site from the browser. I don't know if that code is in now, but we won't have that issue of clutter for several years yet anyway. As a stop gap we can instruct users about how to put the setting in monobook- btw- last I checked you had not blanked your monobook.css and .js. Aren't you tired of seeing double hide boxes? ~ Phlox 20:22, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Non-Latin language scripts[]

  • The matrix of time and space articles is being laid out- but now it has to be made multilingual. This is introducing some interesting problems. For example, Template:เซลล์กล่องข้อมูล. Yesterday, one of our newcomers entered a Thai language relative into our wikia. I've been moving in articles from WP for the time/space matrix, and decided to see what it would be like to add a Thai language article for the town where the relative was born. What I found was that the templates were in Thai too. It turns out, it is just a helper template for a simple Infobox Settlement template.
  • Our founder was from a non-Western culture, and I have entered a slew of Russian articles. Our biggest problems will be with such non-Latin scripts. I know a lot of folks don't have much of an opinion about internationalization, but if we are going to be global we have to have a way to get all the articles talking together. I am trying to just come up with an approach that will be the easiest for folks to use. We don't have to sweat too much over this because nothing gets set in stone even if 5000 articles get created with a form we later decide is totally dumb. If we make a mistake, it is not such a big deal, because, as we have seen, with Bots we can make mistakes that affect huge numbers of articles, and we can go back later and fix things. But if we have no system, then there will be no format to convert from. So we can't very well opt for no standard and get articles that are all over the map with whatever naming convention popped into the contributor's head.

Proposal: This proposal only affects names of pages. What goes inside the pages should be in the native languages. Since everyone in the world has access to ascii keyboards, and since we want everyone in the world to have equal opportunity to contribute to genealogy wikia, it is proposed that:

Template proposal[]

  • Original template names in non-Ascii scripts may be created. However, these should redirect to a template with an Ascii name.
  • All templates with actual template code use Ascii characters for the title of the page.
  • Language-specific templates add the suffix of the two-letter code language code in the form
| Wikipedia-th = ประวัติ

Article proposal[]

  • Non-ascii page names encouraged but are redirected to the ascii character spelling of the same. These Ascii spelled article names are made subpages using the same language code scheme. (Substitute a slash for the dash). This will allow templates to detect the existence of alternate language versions and to enable links to them from the top of the article. EG: article on the Thai village ประวัติ uses the latin character spelling of the name (corresponding to the English wikipedia article):
    • [[Phitsanulok/th] is the Thai version
    • Phitsanulok is the version from en:wikipedia.
    It could be noted that the English version should be Phitsanulok/en. However, some article has to be the Base page, and the default language for administration of the site is English. At some later date, if this incongruity is felt to be unfair, or there is another use of the BasePage article, then we can use a Bot to convert the site over to that standard.


For the lawyers in the group, I moved over the Commons article on language. Genealogy:Language policy The article name is labelled "Policy", but it is a starting point for discussion only, and folks should feel free to hack away at it. There is doubtless some stuff in there only relevant to Commons, but they are a huge multilingual wiki so we can bootstrap ourselves faster if we don't try and reinvent what they have already built up.

~ Phlox 17:24, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Note that by June 2009:

  • we have definitely moved towards multilingualism (therefore making the title of this forum less relevant)
  • the introduction of SMW will make some difference to some of the above, but much of it is still useful background.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 09:05, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

By July 2009, the subpage idea has been abandoned: instead of "/fr" we have " (.fr)". Regrettably, changing names automagically without actually moving them leaves a lot of red links because no redirect is created. Example Jacques Baudet. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 11:51, 30 July 2009 (UTC)