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Subject: January Newsletter
From: Brendan Luecke
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 22:22:13 -0500

Hello, and welcome to the January edition of the TfP newsletter! The year is already off to an exciting start, and we have lots of new volunteer opportunities to use your translation skills! We’re fortunate this month to have an informative inside look at the myriad of translation undertakings at Wikipedia, courtesy of Sabine Cretella! Sabine introduces us to various projects such as translation of the week, translation requests on meta, translating articles for the Wikimedia newsletter “Quarto” or Wikibooks, and the opportunity to add words and meanings to the ever-evolving Ultimate Wiktionary! We hope to continue publishing Sabine’s articles as a series; the first is just an overview of the kinds of translation projects you can become involved in for Wikipedia, and details and specifics on the projects mentioned here will follow in subsequent newsletters. In this month’s edition we also profile Ashoka, a pioneer in supporting social entrepreneurs the world over. We hope you enjoy reading, and here’s to a wonderful 2006!


Ashoka: Blazing Trails in “Social Venture Capital”

Amanda Collins;

TfP Newsletter Editor

Established in 1980 by Bill Drayton, a former consultant at McKinsey & Co. and EPA administrator, Ashoka is a non-governmental organization that “identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs”. It is funded only through business entrepreneurs, corporations, individuals, and volunteer chapters. Ashoka’s mission is to advance social entrepreneurship globally and establish it as a valid profession.

When Bill introduced Ashoka in India in the early 1980’s, its budget was less than $50K. Now it spends over $17 million annually funding its Fellows in 60 countries around the world. The “Fellows” are individuals nominated for their innovative entrepreneurial ideas that have the best chance of reaching large-scale social impact. The Fellows undergo a highly selective election process, and if successful, are elected into the only worldwide network of top social entrepreneurs. The Fellows are typically funded for 3 years while they implement their ideas. Main focus areas for entrepreneurship are: learning/education; environment; health; human rights; economic development and civic participation.

A great example of the kind of sweeping social change Ashoka’s fellows can bring about is the case of Rodrigo Baggio. Rodrigo’s project, “Committee to Democratize Information Technology (CDI)”, has provided Internet and computer skills training to nearly one million at-risk kids in Brazil. Without the resources provided by Rodrigo’s project, these children likely would have turned to drug trafficking and violence. Rodrigo’s effort created job opportunities, the chance to learn valuable technical skills, and an overall improvement in the quality of life for these youths. Plans to expand the project into Japan, Columbia, Mexico and Uruguay are underway, with help from corporate partners like AOL, Microsoft, Starmedia and the InterAmerican Bank. This is just one example of the projects pioneered by the more than 1,700 Ashoka Fellows worldwide.

How you can help: Ashoka is seeking virtual volunteers for translation help, as well as on-site volunteers at their Washington DC headquarters. The volunteer opportunity page can be accessed here, Current translation opportunities include:

Ashoka is always looking for volunteers to translate Thai, Indonesian, French, Portuguese, Spanish and other languages. If interested, please contact Peggy Carr at volunteers @

Insights from a Wikipedia Translation Insider!

Sabine Cretella

Translation and Localization in Wikimedia projects

When you hear about translation or localization for Wikimedia projects you might immediately think that this means translating Wikipedia articles, but it is not as simple as that: there are several different areas where translations are needed and these can be very different in terms of needed experience.

User Interface

All Wikimedia projects are available in many languages – this means the User Interface (UI) needs localization for each of these languages and some adaptation to project specific needs. At this moment the UI is mainly translated directly using the "Allmessages" page where one can edit each single message as well as the layout. Of course also editing the .php file is possible. Additionally, the Ultimate Wiktionary, as a very specific project will need a very particular way of editing. For now it is not possible to use CAT-Tools like OmegaT for translation.


Anyone can create and edit articles – this also means that anyone can translate articles from any language to any other language. Each week there is the "Translation of the week" where an article is selected (by vote) to then be translated into as many languages as possible. These articles can already be translated with the help of a CAT-Tool, but there are specific tags that are not sorted out since for now there is no parser available.


On meta one can find a particular page with "translation requests" where anyone can find things to do. Often there are articles for the Wikimedia newsletter "Quarto" to be translated. Other translation requests may refer to Wikimania, notes to be shown on all Wikipedias etc. As for Wikipedia: it is possible to use a CAT-Tool like OmegaT with the same limitations.


Some people already started to translate and translated whole "Wikibooks" – these can be manuals, course books, or whatever. Even here: a CAT-Tool can be of much help in particular if you want to translate a book or manual and keep it updated adding new parts after some time. Limitations are the same as for Wikipedia.

Wiktionary/Ultimate Wiktionary

The actual Wiktionary and also the future Ultimate Wiktionary is/will be very particular projects. They are about lexicological data. This means: there you can add translations for single words, add meanings, synonyms, antonyms and much more. In a second stage Ultimate Wiktionary will be used for the translation glossary of OmegaT and this means when translating using it, you will get terminology proposals without having to search for them from Ultimate Wiktionary. So any added data serves for the localization of all other projects and not only one.

Who translates?

Anyone can translate – of course translators must know both languages well. Translators can benefit from translations for Wikimedia projects: they can concentrate on the subject they want to specialise in or do specialise in andgain expertise and exposure as translators. By contributing with the translation of articles and with the creation of specialized glossaries they can show their expertise.

The future of translations within Wikimedia projects

We are aware of the fact that better organization is needed since the Wiki way has not really considered translation and localization. People are working on different projects and they are trying to combine all these forces to ease work. A workflow management and the connection to OmegaT is one of the most important steps to take.

In future articles the single projects will be described together with their very specific needs. This article shall only give a first glance to show what is there and what is needed. If you have specific questions on how to contribute and translate for the Wikimedia projects, please don't hesitate to contact Sabine Cretella (

Relevant links

UI of the English Wikipedia:





Translation of the week:

Translation requests:


Sabine Cretella
26 December 2005

This article is available under Creative Commons license CC-NC-ND. If you want to use this article in a different way please contact s.cretella @ The chosen license only serves to know where the article is used and not to limit its distribution.