Translation the Wiki Way

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Translation the Wiki way is a 2006 conference paper written in English by Alain Désilets, Lucas Gonzalez, Sébastien Paquet, Marta Stojanovic and published in WikiSym.

[edit] Abstract

This paper discusses the design and implementation of processes and tools to support the collaborative creation and maintenance of multilingual wiki content. A wiki is a website where a large number of participants are allowed to create and modify content using their Web browser. This simple concept has revolutionized collaborative authoring on the web, enabling among others, the creation of Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopedia. On many of the largest and highest profile wiki sites, content needs to be provided in more than one language. Yet, current wiki engines do not support the efficient creation and maintenance of such content. Consequently, most wiki sites deal with the issue of multilingualism by spawning a separate and independent site for each language. This approach leads to much wasted effort since the same content must be researched, tracked and written from scratch for every language. In this paper, we investigate what features could be implemented in wiki engines in order to deal more effectively with multilingual content. We look at how multilingual content is currently managed in more traditional industrial contexts, and show how this approach is not appropriate in a wiki world. We then describe the results of a User-Centered Design exercise performed to explore what a multilingual wiki engine should look like from the point of view of its various end users. We describe a partial implementation of those requirements in our own wiki engine (LizzyWiki), to deal with the special case of bilingual sites. We also discuss how this simple implementation could be extended to provide even more sophisticated features, and in particular, to support the general case of a site with more than two languages. Finally, even though the paper focuses primarily on multilingual content in a wiki context, we argue that translating in this "Wiki Way", may also be useful in some traditional industrial settings, as a way of dealing better with the fast and ever-changing nature of our modern internet world.

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