Half a Million Articles Translated With Content Translation

Book-covered walls (Unsplash).jpg
File:Book-covered_walls_(Unsplash).jpg () by Eugenio Mazzone eugi1492, CC-Zero.
English: Province of Pesaro and Urbino, Italy

Content Translation achieved a new milestone, supporting already the creation of 500,000 Wikipedia articles. The Language team has been working during the last year to make the tool more solid, and has plans to expand the use of translation to help more communities to grow.

Wikipedia users can learn about many topics. However, the exact number of topics they can access is very different depending on the language they speak. While English speaking users can access more than 5 million articles, Bengali speakers have access to 75 thousand articles.

Translating articles into new languages is a practice that can help content to propagate more fluently across languages, and reduce this language gap. To facilitate this process, we here at the Wikimedia Foundation developed a content translation tool that helps Wikipedia editors to easily translate articles. Content Translation simplifies translating Wikipedia articles into different languages by automating many of the boring steps of the manual translation process.

In early August, Content Translation reached a new milestone: more than half a million articles were created since the tool was released four years ago, making this a good time to reflect on the impact of the tool and discuss future plans.

A more reliable tool

During the past year, the Language team worked on a new version of the tool. Based on user research and feedback, the plan was to create a more solid version of Content Translation to increase the tool adoption and use.

For the new version we replaced the default editing surface provided by the browser with Visual Editor, which supports rich wiki content in a way that is much more reliable. This required a rewrite most of the translation tools, and we wanted to take this opportunity to review them and provide better guidance for newcomers.

As the new version became more complete it was gradually exposed more prominently during the year, and finally replaced the previous version completely without major regressions. During the year more than 149.000 translations were created, a 23% increase compared to the previous year.

We started conversations with different communities to identify the main blockers before the tool could be provided by default and exposed to more users.

Better collaboration between humans and machines

In addition to the number of articles created, we focused on the quality of the content. The new version improved the guidance provided to newcomers. In particular, a new system was created to encourage users to review and edit the initial machine translation, and approaches based on Artificial Intelligence were explored to improve some automatic steps.

Content Translation provides machine translation as initial content for editors to review and improve. The machine translation is provided as a starting point, and translators are highly encouraged to rewrite the content, in order to eliminate errors and make the translation sound more natural. 

The new version incorporates new quality control mechanisms for machine translation. Now the tool encourages translators to review the initial automatic translations on a paragraph basis, keeps in a tracking category those translations published with unmodified content for editors to review, and prevents publishing those which exceed the limits defined. The limits to prevent publishing become more strict for users with previous deleted translations, users ignoring the warnings, and cases where several paragraphs contain unmodified contents. In this way, the limits adapt to reduce potential recurrent misuse of the tool.

This system can be customized to address the particular needs of each community, and proved to be useful to help the Indonesian Wikipedia editors to reduce the creation of low quality translations.

In general, our measurements suggest that translations are less likely to be deleted than the articles started from scratch. The survival rate for translations even when those are created by newcomers seems quite good. A recent study shows that a significant percentage of the translations created with the tool survive the community review. Although the survival rate is better for experienced users, it is still very good for newcomers (users that created their account during the last 6 months). For example, only 7.5% of translations created by newcomers in last june were deleted after a month.

In addition, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more present in the tool to make the initial translations better:

We believe that automation with adequate quality control mechanisms makes it easy for translators to create higher quality translations more easily.

Future plans

Translation has helped already many communities to create new content. However, there are still communities with potential to grow by using translation that have not been using the tool as much.

Content Translation’s Boost initiative is aimed at expanding the use of translation to help more communities grow. By enabling new and more visible ways to contribute by using translation, we expect communities to attract new editors, and expand the knowledge available in their languages.

We identified potential for expanding its use to more contexts that can benefit from translation:

  • Translation can be used by more wikis. The adoption of Content Translation varies significantly from wiki to wiki, and there are wikis with potential to benefit from using translation more.
  • Translation can be used in more ways. Currently, Content Translation focuses on creating new articles on desktop. Supporting new kinds of contribution such as expanding existing articles with new sections, or mobile translation enable more opportunities to contribute.

During the next months we will focus on wikis with potential to grow by translation. As a representative set of those wikis we have initially selected Malayalam, Bengali, Tagalog, Javanese, and Mongolian. We’ll be contacting these communities to gauge the interest in the project, and learn about their particular needs to support them better. We expect these and similar communities to benefit as a result.
Our specific plans will be heavily influenced by research in the selected communities and their feedback. Please, provide any feedback about this initiative in the discussion page. We are interested in hearing your ideas on how to help communities grow by using translation.


Editing News #1—July 2019

Read this in another language • Get this delivered to you on wiki

Welcome to the first Editing newsletter in the Wikimedia Space blog. 

Since the last newsletter, the team has released two new features for the mobile visual editor and has started developing three more. All of this work is part of the team’s goal to make editing on mobile web simpler.

Before talking about the team’s recent releases, we have a question for you: 

Are you willing to try a new way to add and change links?

If you are interested, we would value your input! You can try this new link tool in the mobile visual editor on a separate wiki. 

Follow these instructions and then share your experience:

📲 Try Edit Cards.

Recent releases

The mobile visual editor is a simpler editing tool, for smartphones and tablets using the mobile site. The Editing team has recently launched two new features to improve the mobile visual editor: 

  1. Section editing
    • The purpose is to help contributors focus on their edits.
    • The team studied this with an A/B test.  This test showed that contributors who could use section editing were 1% more likely to publish the edits they started than people with only full-page editing.
  2. Loading overlay
    • The purpose is to smooth the transition between reading and editing.

Section editing and the new loading overlay are now available to everyone using the mobile visual editor.

New and active projects

This is a list of our most active projects. Watch these pages to learn about project updates and to share your input on new designs, prototypes and research findings.

  • Edit cards: This is a clearer way to add and edit links, citations, images, templates, etc. in articles. You can try this feature now.  Go here to see how: 📲Try Edit Cards.
  • Mobile toolbar refresh: This project will learn if contributors are more successful when the editing tools are easier to recognize.
  • Mobile visual editor availability: This A/B test asks:  Are newer contributors more successful if they use the mobile visual editor? We are collaborating with 20 Wikipedias to answer this question.
  • Usability improvements: This project will make the mobile visual editor easier to use.  The goal is to let contributors stay focused on editing and to feel more confident in the editing tools.

Looking ahead

  • Wikimania: Several members of the Editing Team will be attending Wikimania in August 2019. They will lead a session about mobile editing in the Community Growth space. Talk to them about how editing can be improved.
  • Talk Pages: In the coming months, the Editing Team will begin improving talk pages and communication on the wikis.

Learning more

The VisualEditor on mobile project page is a good place to learn more about the projects we are working on. The team wants to talk with you about anything related to editing. If you have something to say or ask, please leave a message at Talk:VisualEditor on mobile.


New advanced mobile contribution features coming to mobile

Wikimedia Foundation Readers Web team brings contribution tools to mobile

Photographing Yosemite (Unsplash).jpg
File:Photographing_Yosemite_(Unsplash).jpg () by Luke Pamer luke_pamer, CC-Zero.
English: Yosemite National Park, United States

In early 2018 the trend was clear: more people were accessing Wikipedia from a mobile device than desktop. This helped our team recognize the importance of improving the mobile editing experience in order to provide access to necessary tools for editors – particularly for people where a mobile device is their only device. Seeing that the needs of new editors are different from those of existing editors we decided to break the work up by audience and focus on advanced editors – editors that were familiar with the tools and would benefit from easier access on the mobile web.

For the last year, the Readers web team has been focused on empowering existing editors to be able to do more on the mobile web version of Wikipedia. We began our work at the Wikimedia Hackathon 2018 in Barcelona and Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town, where we interviewed editors in order to learn what features would (and wouldn’t) be helpful for them on mobile. We then created a prototype of a mobile website with additional editor features and collected feedback on it via our MediaWiki project page.

We tested our prototype with more than 60 editors. The response to the design was overwhelmingly positive, and included some great suggestions as well as raising some valid concerns. We collected the feedback and integrated it into our final designs.

Based on initial research, past requests from communities, and this prototype feedback, the team decided to focus on the navigation of the site and access to special pages.

We began with introducing the Article/Discussion tabs at the top of the page.

Wikipedia and Alex Hollender – Licensed CC BY-SA 3.0

The feature was first released as an opt-in setting on Arabic, Indonesian, and Spanish Wikipedias due to their relatively large populations of existing mobile editors.

These links provide more visibility to the discussions that take place around article creation. Previously a link to the discussion page was a small link at the bottom of the article page.

You can see edits being made by contributors with this mode enabled by selecting the #Advanced mobile edit tag on Recent changes (Example from Spanish Wikipedia).

Recently the team released a second set of features and included additional Wikipedias for testing and feedback (Italian, Japanese, Persian, and Thai).

These new features include:

  • Article and Discuss tabs at the top of all pages.
  • An enhanced toolbar (at the top of article and user pages), with a link to page history, and a new menu that contains other useful actions and links such as page information, wikidata item, permalink, what links here, Special:Cite, and more.
  • An updated main menu with links to Special pages and the Community portal.
  • Fully featured history pages, formatted for mobile screens.
Wikipedia/Alex Hollender – Licensed CC BY-SA 3.0

There are more features to come, including a new user menu, an improved Recent changes page, and other small bug fixes.

We plan to release these features to all wikis in the near future. If you’re an editor on one of the seven listed Wikipedias, you can enable the Advanced mobile contribution setting and try the features out for yourself.

So far the feedback on these features has been positive. The opt-out rate has been very low. This means that the people who have tried it do like and use the improvements. We hope you’ll be one of them too! Try it out and please tell others about these features. If you have any questions you can find out more on the project page. Feedback is welcome.