Not every traveller speaks and understands English, and those that do may still be better served by a travel guide in their native language. We try to support all travellers with Wikitravel versions in many human languages.
The goal of this policy is to make Wikitravel guides in multiple languages. To do so, we borrow some of the format from Wikimedia's projects, and some principles that are homegrown.
- There is one MediaWiki instance per language, with a separate user database, article database, front page, interfaces, etc.
- Each instance has a root at http://wikitravel.org/code/, where code is the ISO 639-2 2- or 3-letter code for the language.
- Language versions are international, serving speakers of the target language in all countries. For example, Portuguese-language Wikitravel supports travellers from Portugal as well as Brazil.
- Each language version has a goal of world-wide coverage.
- All language versions are important to the success of Wikitravel.
By pooling our information, time and resources, Wikitravellers can make great travel guides together. This is true within language communities and across language barriers; the more people work on Wikitravel in whatever language, the better all the guides become.
- Ideas, information, problem reports and technical requests must flow across language barriers. Although many Wikitravellers who speak multiple languages help moving information across language lines, special volunteers called liaisons take responsibility for making sure this happens. There is one liaison per language version.
- Updates about a language version are available in the logbook so that visitors can stay current with developments there.
- All Wikitravel language versions have the same license to make copying and translating information between versions as easy as possible.
- A central wiki, Wikitravel Shared, is used to store shared images and increasingly to coordinate site-wide activity.
Our technical infrastructure policy is intended to support all Wikitravel contributors and readers to get the best possible use from the Wikitravel Web site. Each bug report and technical request is important, no matter which language version the bug affects.
Starting a new language version
A Wikitravel language version is more than just a MediaWiki wiki. It's a community, a platform for editors to collaborate, and an integral part of Wikitravel as a whole. When launching a new version, we try to get the language version ready for all those roles.
New language versions start as Language Expeditions on Wikitravel Shared, so that participants can get organized before the new language version starts.
Gathering a team
In order to have a new Wikitravel server set up, the Expedition must have the following things:
- Signups from three potential contributors saying they'll contribute to the new language version.
- A chosen liaison between English-language Wikitravel and the new language version. This person should show that they understand and agree with our goals, our policies, and our style guidelines. They can be nominated the same way as we nominate administrators, with at least 2 of the people signed up voting for them, and no votes against them. (For some languages, a volunteer has just stepped forward for the job.)
- A translation of the Language file in MediaWiki to the new language.
After all these criteria are met, we'll set up a place on the Wikitravel servers to run the new language site, and make it possible to do interlanguage links and the like.
The first month
After one month, the new language version should have at least a significant portion of these sections of Wikitravel done:
- Main Page
- Wikitravel:policies and guidelines
- Wikitravel:manual of style
- Wikitravel:welcome, newcomers
They don't have to be identical to the ones on Wikitravel in English, but they should be there. The goal here is to be ready to accept new contributors -- these are the pages people need to get started.
If these pages aren't at least partially done after a month, and there's no movement to get them done, the language version will be considered inactive (see below).
The chosen liaison must make a monthly report of at least a few lines in the Wikitravel logbook on the English site, covering developments on that language version. In addition, they must make a report on the language version's logbook, covering developments on the English-language site.
If for some reason the liaison chooses to not participate in Wikitravel any more, the Wikitravellers using the language version have to choose another liaison. All the same criteria for becoming a liaison apply as when the version started.
If there's no liaison for the language version, the language version is considered inactive (see below).
See also: Wikitravel:liaison reports
If activity on a language version drops to practically none, that language version is inactive. Unless the Wikitravellers on the language version are willing to get it re-started, the inactive language version will be shut down.
Database dumps and other data needed to get the language version started on another server will be made available. People are welcome to use that data to start their own projects on another server, of course, as long as they conform with the copyleft that was used to create the data in the first place.
Goal or policy changes
Different language versions will have different communities, and they will evolve different ideas about the goals and policies of that language version. The liaison should keep English-language Wikitravel well-informed about any major changes to the goals or policies.
If for some reason the goals and policies of the language version diverge so far from the English-language version's goals and policies that they're no longer compatible, it may make sense to separate. As with an inactive language version, the database dumps and other data needed to start a new site will be made available.
See also: Language versions of Wikitravel