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Wikitravel talk:Language version policy

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Revision as of 14:25, 21 May 2004 by Ronline (Talk | contribs)

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This policy is still a work in progress. Fixes, clarifications, or modifications are especially welcome. --Evan 13:05, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

What's special about English? I think the rule about go-betweens should be: For every two languages, there should be a go-between between them, or a third language which has a go-between to each of them.

Well, the main reason English is special is that there's already an English Wikitravel.
Once there's a French Wikitravel, and an Arabic Wikitravel, what if some Wikitravellers want to start a Berber Wikitravel? They might find a go-between to French and Arabic, but none to English. -phma
OK, so, that makes some sense. I think the main point here is that we'd like to make sure someone who groks our goals, policy and style is carrying that over to the language version, and vice versa. When French or Arabic Wikitravel is well-established, it'd make sense to allow go-betweens to go-between to those communities, too. Probably in the future when we have a formal organization, the real reporting will be to the non-profit that's running Wikitravel. --Evan 14:47, 21 Dec 2003 (PST)

We'll need phrasebooks for the other languages. Inverting a phrasebook is trivial, except for the pronunciation. Writing English pronunciation in French is as difficult as the reverse. Here's a 3-D minimal set: sin, thin, tin, seen, teen, sing, thing. Can you write their sounds in French, or any language other than English, so that they are all distinct?

No. I can't! I can't I can't I can't! I am completely helpless in the face of this daunting task. Don't even ask me how to do pseudo-phonetic pronunciation guides for Cantonese, because I will be at a 100% loss.
I can'tonese either :) Try Bopomofo. I could do one in Greek, but it wouldn't be as elegant as the Greek pronunciation guide in English will be once UTF-8 is up. -phma 17:55, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

Also someone will have to translate additions to one language into others. That way, if a Pelonian visits Bertcad and writes about the zoo, the Almonians will know about the zoo, too. -phma 16:08, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

Yes. I think that'd be more of a decentralized task, though. --Evan 16:50, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

Romanian Wikitravel Expedition

As Romanian is the most advanced in progress of becoming a foreign-language Wikipedia, there is already a Wikitravel:Romanian Wikitravel Expedition. Hope to see more languages soon! Ronline 04:18, 20 Dec 2003 (PST)


Moved from travellers' pub by Evan

Perchè falar immer american ????

As far as I can tell, this is written in 3-4 languages (Italian, Portuguese, German and English?) and kinda means "Why speak in American?"
There's two answers to that: one is that we started as an English-language travel guide, and we're targeted to English-speaking travellers. We've talked about setting up different international guides -- the Romanian Wikitravel has gone the farthest, but still isn't operating -- and I think it's a good solution.
Second, for why we specifically use American English, see Spelling. --Evan 14:23, 12 Dec 2003 (PST)
So, I've started a page on how we can have multiple language versions of Wikitravel. It's at Language version policy. It'd help if people take a look, make sure that it's fair, and change anything that should be changed. --Evan 12:44, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)
Frankly, I am not comfortable with this privilege given to English... Quite unreasonable if you want to make it international project (of course, quite reasonable if you mean to creat a English-mainly project with other langauges as subordinate). I am willing to see a wikitravel in Chinese anyway. I am not against English being the privilege version, I myself work on English wikipedia too, but I think we should at least give the equal status to all of the languages (at least on the surface), the wording in this policy sounds quite overbearing. (Just like, it's okay if you are black, but you have to first do some makeup to make yourself whiter :P) BTW, is this the sister project of Wikipedia? ;) --yacht(Talk) 18:09, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)
No, we're not a part of Wikimedia, but we're friendly with Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
I don't think there's any hostility to anyone starting a travel Wiki in another language; personally, I think it's a great idea, and I think there's opportunities for partnership.
But if someone wants to use the Wikitravel name, Wikitravel servers, and Wikitravel sysadmin labor, I think it's pretty fair to expect that they share most or all of our principles, goals and values.
The real requirements here are: we don't want dead Wikitravels, and we want to be at least somewhat interconnected. Is that really so overbearing? --Evan 18:29, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)
Sorry, I don't want to be offensive, I apology for it if there is any. I am not a native English speaker (maybe "overbearing" is inappropriate). It just reminds me again that English is a privilege language in the world, just like what I have to do now. I never said there's any hostility to anyone starting a travel Wiki in another language, I just said I am not comfortable with .... We have no choice but to use English to discuss the whole policy of Wikitravel, which makes non-English speakers a little sensitive over this language issue. I am just oversensitive. :( I totally agree with what you said.
About this "What if there are copyright violations or other illegal content? What if the guide's goals evolve to something much different than ours? How will we know?", I don't think that's a big problem, 'cause we can just do what wikipedia is doing now to make sure there is no copy violation. Sysops of native language speakers will help to watch the articles in that language. Wikipedia hasn't experienced serious copyright problem, has it? --yacht(Talk) 20:04, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)

Possibility for content from other languages

I do a pretty fair job of reading and translating from the following languages to English (though not the other way around); is there some way I can make myself available to people who could contribute far more easily in one of these languages than in English, and I could translate to English?

  • Spanish - close to fluent
  • Romanian - read well, but not a fluent writer
  • French - read decently, although with some limitations
  • Catalan - read decently, although with some limitations
  • Italian - read decently, although with some limitations
  • German - read decently with the aid of a dictionary

I suspect I'm not the only one who could do this. Even if we are still using only English and Romanian as full-fledged projects, why not line up a few other translators and accept content in other languages for the specific purpose of translation into English (and Romanian)? 01:01, 3 Jan 2004 (EST)

Content for the first month

So, I'm concerned that the requirements for the first month are kind of demanding. I'd like to hear what people working on the Romanian Wikitravel think about them. Would 2 months be more reasonable? I still think that getting a Wikitravel ready for contributions is the most important first task. Is that fair? --Evan 15:48, 9 Jan 2004 (EST)

Looking at Romanian Wikitravel's progress until now, I think the one-month deadline is pretty fair and generous - I mean, surely if a team of contributors is committed then they will be able to translate all of the Wikitravel namespace articles (help, etc) and the front page, and write at least about 100 articles, as well as make go-between contributions and whatever else is in the Language version policy. However, I think making this a rigid part of the policy is not all that good, as it does discourage people from forming multilingual versions of Wikitravel. I think that the requirements are not too demanding (at Romanian Wikitravel we will meet them probably ahead of time), but they shouldn't be something that every Wikitravel must abide by.
I see that there's been a proposal for German and French Wikitravels, and they would be great, but the progress is somewhat stagnant - and I think the problem mainly lies in the five contributors rule. At Romanian Wikitravel, we've had 5 contributors sign-up, of which two seemed to drop-out when the project started. After that, we had one more user come from Wikipedia to do some light editing. It's really only been me and User:Danutz as well as User:Jmabel who've done the bulk of the articles, yet there's still been some good progress (we have two phrasebooks, nearly 70 articles, etc). So, I think as long as we have 2-3 or even 1 committed contributor to a language version, the version should be launched - it's more important, for example, to have 1 user who is very committed and who contributes heaps to the Wikitravel in English (and, judging by this, could basically conduct a multilingual version of Wikitravel by himself in its formative stages) than have 5 users which are just light editors.
In final, Romanian Wikitravel, just like Romanian Wikipedia, has had great success, so the rules aren't too tough to meet, but maybe they just are a little too rigid (again, they haven't been a problem for us, but they could potentially be a problem for other Wikitravellers seeking to form language versions). Cheers, Ronline 03:04, 10 Jan 2004 (EST)
Well, I've been looking over the Romanian version, and I have to say I'm worried about the help, style, and about pages. There are some done, but most don't yet exist. And we hit the one month date in a couple of days. --Evan 18:10, 25 Jan 2004 (EST)
Yes, I understand your point. I've realised too that the main Wikitravel: namespace articles are not there yet. The very important ones are done (like creating a user account, making a new page, etc), but the rest aren't. On the other hand, the Romanian Wikitravel does have some valuable articles. So, I'll try as hard as possible to translate these help articles - it's just that they're hard to do because they have to be translated very precisely or otherwise the meaning will differ (whereas with travel articles, you can be a bit more liberal on structure and meaning). Ronline 19:58, 25 Jan 2004 (EST)
Don't kill yourself overdoing it. The main thing is that the help, about, & style pages are the main ways to make sure that readers can become constructive contributors. I'm glad you're working on them, though. --Evan 22:13, 25 Jan 2004 (EST)

Different names for different language versions

So, there's a discussion going on on the nascent Wikitravel francophone about using a different name for that language version. The idea generally being that "Wikivoyage" would be more understandable and recognizable for French speakers than "Wikitravel".

This is a pretty powerful argument, and it makes a lot of sense to me. However, before going forward, I wanted to make some devil's advocate arguments against it.

  • One of the key benefits of having language versions of Wikitravel is that we get strong "brand recognition" from people in other language communities. If all the language versions are called "Wikitravel", we get a lot more recognition than if they're called different things. "Wikitravel? Yeah, I've heard of that. Oh, there's a Japanese version? Neat!" The more established language versions lend some of their reputation to ones people haven't heard of.
  • Most of our language version policy is about pulling the different language versions together as close as possible -- hopefully closer than the different language versions of Wikipedia.
  • Web site names don't really have to make sense. Like, I'm sure "Yahoo!" and "Google" don't mean anything in French or Chinese, but people understand what they represent.
  • The domain name is "", so it kind of makes some sense to call the sites hosted there "Wikitravel".
  • When and if we decide to do trademark registration, it'll be easier (and cheaper!) to get an international trademark on one word rather than 100.

That said, I kind of support the idea of "Wikivoyage". However, I wonder if there'd be a way to get the best of both worlds by including Wikitravel in the subtitle. Like, maybe, "Wikivoyage, le Wikitravel francophone". --Evan 14:12, 12 Feb 2004 (EST)

Personally, Wikitravel suits me, but as I am fluent in English, I am biaised. Yann 15:06, 12 Feb 2004 (EST)
It would be a big mistake calling the French Wikitravel "Wikivoyage". The domain name is, that's how people know it, and Wikitravel in French is simply a French language version of the Wikitravel - it is not a separate travel guide. By making it Wikivoyage, it would seem like a separate travel guide and would need a separate domain name. It would be very confusing, since Wikivoyage also means something in English. Really, I'm taking this seriously because it would be bad for it to go on - even Wikivoyage, le Wikitravel francophone would not be too good. Why can't we stick with "Wikitravel en français" - then we would have "Wikitravel în română", "Wikitravel Eesti", "Wikitravel Latviesu", etc. Anyway, if you guys want to change it to Wikivoyage it's fine, but it is a very big move and we need to consider the consequences. Ronline 00:43, 13 Feb 2004 (EST)

"Wiki(something)" in another language

So, it came up before, but I'd like to discuss again the possibility of using another name for Wikitravel language versions. For example, the idea of using "Wikivoyage" for fr: was floated.

The upside is that the idea (wiki + travel) gets across quickly to native speakers. The downside is that there's less cohesion between language versions.

I'm leaning towards something like "Wikivoyage -- le Wikitravel francophone" or something along those lines. I think that it'd be appropriate for ro:, too, but I don't know the word for "travel" in Romanian.

We can start out with just changing the names at first, and look into registering the domains afterwards.

Any big feelings on this? --Evan 02:53, 21 May 2004 (EDT)

In the case of Romanian, I think we should stick with Wikitravel. Romania is an increasingly English-knowing country and one where English is common... in music, in products, in neologisms, etc. Therefore, I think people would understand Wikitravel and it isn't really worth changing to a Romanian name due to domain-name and all the other issues. Just by the way, the name would be Wikicălătorie in Romanian or perhaps Wikiturism. "Travel" is "călătorie" or "călătorii" in the plural. I think that "Wikiturism" (Wikitourism) is more understandable in the Romanian context, as Wikicălătorie sounds strange and would probably be more ambiguous in Romanian rather than less! I used to be quite against such changes (even in French, for example), but, thinking more about it, it could potentially be a beneficial change. I mean, yes, it would mean extra problems with registering and domain names, but it could form a better, more localized image for Wikitravel. "Wikiturism" would actually be quite nice in Romanian, and it's understandable in English too, so it wouldn't be too "painful" a change. What do others think? Ronline 10:21, 21 May 2004 (EDT)



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