Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bounties for the localisation of MediaWiki

The "Stichting Open Progress" is happy to announce that it has received a grant from Hivos, to improve the localisation of MediaWiki. Open Progress is going to offer a bounty of up to 200 EURO for the full localisation for a language. Given the activity of Hivos, a Dutch NGO, a bounty will only be available for languages in Asia, Africa and Latin America that have a sizable number of speakers.

With this project we hope to achieve that MediaWiki can indeed claim to be one of the best Open Source projects that provides great localisation for many many languages out of the box. It will improve the usability not only for the WMF projects in that language but also for projects like Wikimedia Commons, Wikieducator, Wikihow, OmegaWiki .. the list goes on ..

The budget we have is substantial but limited. We will be sadly happy when we have to announce that we have ran out of money. Sad because we want to localise more languages, happy because so many languages will have been improved.

For the precise details of the project I refer to the details on Betawiki.

NB The amounts are inclusive of the money transfer costs and as these can be substantial, we offer some alternatives. In the past I have proposed a scheme called "Donations, putting your money where your mouth is". In this scheme you choose to get paid or donate the money for one of the projects that we advertise under this scheme. Another way of getting the money paid is when people in a country agree to work together and have us pay the money together as well. This could for instance work in the case of Wikimedia India...



Danny G said...

This is a great thing, but the sum isn't significant enough.

Given the amount of work it takes to fully localize a language (hundreds of hours), 200 Euros is really just a cute prize, not a payment.

In other words, this remains volunteer work, not paid work.

You can't have it both ways: Either localization is fully paid and supported work, in which case you can make it a requirement for a wiki, or it is volunteer work, in which case it should be done the wiki-way, and not obstruct the creation of the wiki.

The Omegawiki people feel that this should be required, paid work, and that is fine, but it means that they still have some serious fundraising to do.

GerardM said...

It is a bounty, it is not a wage. With this bounty we stimulate the localisation of MediaWiki and aim to get languages in MediaWiki to a level where they are properly supported. This is currently for most languagess not the case. It is important to the communities for a language that their localisation is done well and it is their responsibility.

Awareness of this issue is key. Even Jimmy Wales was not aware how badly most languages are supported. You have to realise that the benefit of localisation goes to the readers and writers of wikis in that language. It is an essential part in convincing people that MediaWiki or a Wikimedia project is to be taken seriously. It is for this reason that the language commission of the WMF made localisation a required part for any new project.

When OpenProgress has a project for a specific language, the localisation will be part of it. This is not a language specific project. Awareness and a much improved localisation for many languages is what we aim to achieve. Given that there are over 7000 languages the amount of fund raising and the cost of organising this is prohibitively expensive. Money can be invested more effectively in other ways.