Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008, International Year of Languages

The new year, 2008 has been designated the International Year of Languages by UNESCO. Countries and organisations are invited to participate, and I think that what we do in our projects qualifies us as participants. Our projects are relevant for many languages, we welcome new languages and we provide help and infrastructure to make it a success. Our communities are knowledge societies in which everyone can participate and benefit. We promote universal access to information and ensure in this way the use of an increasing number of languages.

Siebrand wrote an overview of the localisation of MediaWiki. Real support is provided to some 170 languages but only 47 have a minimal localisation. In a way it mirrors our projects; our projects do great in some languages while at the other end language versions are closed because there is not enough of a community that supports them.

The Wikimedia Foundation is becoming more mature; we aim to ensure that all our projects do well. Barriers to entry have been in place for new languages and it has led to improved localisation of MediaWiki. When new projects are finally approved, they are already of a size both in articles and participants that there is less need for anxiety for their future.

When we are to participate in the Year of Languages and continue to do what we do well and improve where we are weak, our projects will prove to be credible participants in this Year of Languages. Participating will give our Wiki way more credibility and it will give us access to people and organisations that can help us in fulfilling our goal; sharing the sum of all knowledge with every single human being.


1 comment:

Don said...

Hi Gerard, This posting re the International Year of Languages just came up on a Google alert. Turns out I already have it on a list of links to blogs that mention the IYL. The IYL formally ends on Feb. 21 - International Mother Language Day.