Forums: Index > Watercooler > This Wikia is now multilingual

We started with English. Then User:tasc in Argentina got us into Spanish. Now User:Baronnet in Paris has added a third language of European origin.

It is probably time to ask Central Wikia for help in getting internal interwiki links organised so that we can gradually translate the main help pages and anything else we feel like doing.

Robin Patterson 12:44, 20 May 2007 (UTC)


Considerable progress since then, including three dozen articles in French and some Norwegian and Dutch. With the occasional sight of Portuguese and Russian. Not to mention some policy pages etc. See also Category:Articles by language. Good! — Robin Patterson (Talk) 09:22, 29 March 2009 (UTC)


NOTE: This section is largely redundant since the replacement with SMW, but its principles may apply to the "showfacts" templates.

Another request to do things in Dutch. I had a look at "Template:Showinfo children". The French version is "Template:Showinfo children (fr)". I can make "Template:Showinfo children (nl)" but would it not be more logical to make "Template:Tooninfo kinderen"? rtol 11:25, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Speed and logic support it. But coding? Phlox probably knows; I don't know; it might mess up some template that creates a link to it. You could check which templates link to the French and English ones. If in doubt, create the "nl" one; it can just be moved if the expert says that's OK. (And that way, Anglophones who might be helping, on occasions, can use the English-language one if they prefer.) — Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:03, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
I'll build "Template:Showinfo children (nl)" to do the work, and "Template:Tooninfo kinderen" as an alias.
By the way, one can apparently see the Dutch parts of this wiki when logged in, but not when not. rtol 13:04, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, no "Preferences" when not logged in. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 04:39, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

There are now Dutch versions of {{Showinfo person}} and {{Showinfo children}}. See Richard S.J. Tol (1969-). rtol 08:02, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Responding to the arrival of SMW[]

I see that our good supporter Fred is now very sportingly redirecting articles to English names, e.g.:

Karel II der Franken 823-877‎ (diff; hist) . . (+40) . . Bergsmit (Talk | contribs | block) (Redirected page to Charles the Bald (823-877)).

I had been wondering about them, particularly in relation to Project Charlemagne, where the only things apparently missing from the instructions are about article naming and/or how to check that you are not creating a duplicate by adding a child to someone. If a contributor had been working their way down and found someone with a child named Charles the Bald, they might have created a new article not realising that Karel II der Franken was the same chap. Now we have the original as a redirect, so that any search for either should find at least one of them. But the next step for Karel II der Franken could be to create a "/en" page tied to his page that carries the actual redirect to the English then to rewrite Karel II der Franken in the appropriate Continental language as described in Familypedia:Multilingual articles.

However, what do our SMW gurus have to say about that? — Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:01, 1 June 2009 (UTC)


It has occurred to me that you experts just might learn something from the JewAge site, which exists happily in three languages, before ploughing too far ahead into any changes to the current system.

Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:01, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Through use of stuff like hooks and custom code, the wikmedia software is dramatically customizable in the fashion you see at this site. I'd love for us to do it the way they are, but look at how they do articles. All navigation is through "Special:" pages eg Special:JPersonProfile (probably custom php scripts). All edits are in special popup windows. Articles presented are actually composites. If you can persuade wikia to allow this level of intrusion into the site software, then great- we can do this stuff. However, I already have inquired at Wikia central if there were a way just to do the basics- to have logged out users have the UI be in alternate languages as JewAge is doing. There were responses, but no solution. You are welcome to pursue it by giving them pointers to the JewAge site, and asking what customizations we are permitted to do that have an effect equivalent to the feature you are interested in.
Many of the other features that probably are wowing you are generic nice to have things for any wikia. What is the family tree thing anyway? It is an image file with hotspots and controls for scaling and panning. Lots of wikia sites could use something like that. Maybe there is an extension already on the mediawiki site that wikia should be considering. How about that popup window for editing and forms? Lots of wikia could use that too. Multilingual capability is necessary for language instruction and travel type wikia. So as for the UI flashy stuff, I say great- but should spend all its development resources on features that are generic for all wikia?
SMW has freed us from many of the constraints of the prior multilingual approach. People can do things as I described in the multilingual article and that will continue to work and be eventually converted over by bot to the new mechanism. SMW allows us to look up the base article now so we need not use subpages and lots of otherwise unnecessary redirects from subpages to tie articles together. The Hague / Den Haag (.nl) demonstrates this. The neat thing is that it is much easier to set these up (click to edit with form on The Hague article), and add the Russian version of the Hague article. As with the top tier support I described in the multilingual article, logged out users will be able to arrive at an article in their language and read it. The UI will be in english, but we can put a banner note on these articles that explains that if they create an account they will be able to have menus and buttons in their native language. If you click on the nederlands button from Hague article, you will see that I can change the wikia UI for one article. As soon as the vistor moves away from that article though, the UI goes back to english.
The JewAge site has interesting UI elements, and some good structural elements. The are also releasing information under GFDL, so they are being cool about content. More importantly in terms of fundamentals though, I note they are asking for input from users, but not asking for sources. That is stunning from a genealogy standards perspective. They have a sources field in their property list, but it is not exposed in the UI when entering dates or what not. See for yourself. Go to any person article, edit personal details. Fancy popup window, nice parchment like edge. But dang. You can enter all these dates but they don't ask you why you believe any of it is anything but shear fantasy, or hearsay from the failing memory of an elderly relative. So none of the information the user is entering is independently verifiable. Take a look at their property lists. It tells a different story about their level of database sophistication. And as far as content goes, they are a little thin. Sure they have several hundred articles. Look at the content. Aside from the handful of articles on famous figures, it's the Gedcom shovel at work again, and pretty thin at that.
Let's drill down on a subject. Here, we learn that the "birth place" was "г. Володарск-Волынский Житомирская обл.". Hey I thought the site was multilingual! What the heck with this unintelligible place name. Well, maybe "Volodarsk-Volynsky" is actually Volodymyr-Volynskyi ,Zhytomyr. Maybe it is not the same, because Voldomyr-Volynskyi is similar but not the same name and is in Volyn, not Zhytomyr Oblast. But OTOH maybe since they say "region" that Volyn is considered the Zhytomyr region. Who knows - they didn't capture those semantics from the user- nor does the UI offer such lists so that the user who might have known could have straightened this out when they entered it. Now the contributor may be gone and so it is left as another task for someone else to clean up and probably never will- just like Commons' ever mounting list of sparcely documented images . Nor does Jewage even have a mechanism to disambiguate place names, let alone display the name in an alternate language as they do for person names. I could go on but frankly I would rather be working on our smw support so I think I will. They have a good site and I do not intend to be dismissive. I just have limited time to survey what everyone else is doing. Sincerely though, if there is something specific that another site is doing well that folks think we should do, let's take a look at it.
I did see they were using soundex. This is nice but not central- a nice to have thing that can be added on later by running a bot on all the names- run them through a soundex algorithm and save the name as a soundex string. Voila, you have the ability to fuzzy match on phonetically similar names.
Anyway, let's not lose sight of the fundamentals and make sure that when we use something that has the name semantics in it that we are actually capturing semantics that matter to genealogy. -~ Phlox 18:05, 1 June 2009 (UTC)


See Familypedia:Language policy. -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 23:28, December 25, 2013 (UTC)

Now as some of our pages on this subject still contain some pre-SMW material, i.e. stuff that is over 8 years out of date, I would like to see our major contributors - particularly those who are familiar with languages other than English - discussing and/or correcting those pages, with a view to clarifying our policies. For a recent example of invocation of the stated naming standards, please see ---- Robin Patterson (Talk) 06:19, May 10, 2018 (UTC)

Italian-language surname articles and maybe categories[]

Several "contributors" - who may actually be one contributor using different aliases - have in recent months created interesting articles, all in Italian, about Italian surnames, complete with distribution maps covering Italy. In the last week or two I added " (.it)" to several before deciding that they might be better with "surname" replaced by "cognome". See Boni (cognome) (.it). Then I created an Italian version of the template doc page so as to give contributors premade headings and a link to the Italian Wikipedia instead of the clearly less useful English WP. See {{SurnameArticle (.it)}} and {{SurnameArticle/doc (.it)}} (which displays below it - and might be better with the last two elements of its name reversed). Those articles can easily link to the English-language surname category, but there is no obvious way to link from the English-language category to the Italian article. So I proposed an Italian-language category (a subcat of the English) that could link to the matching article. Our most prolific contributor wasn't keen on that idea. I have partly reverted the linkages but I feel that this area is one where we can make exceptions to the "rule" that all category names should be in English. There is not likely to be a flood of different-language versions of any particular surname article: in our 13 years we seem to have had only the one variant language in this area. Any thoughts, anyone? -- Robin Patterson (Talk) 12:43, May 20, 2018 (UTC)