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...


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.