One further case, some of the translations we did into Swahili had funding
associated with them. Few people in the country have easy access to a
computer and cellphones are not as suitable for translation work. Basically
TWB has a brick and mortar translation center in Nairobi with computers.
They have staff that keep an eye on the center. People were recruited,
provided instruction, provided access to the computers, and provided cell
phone credits for their involvement. What they worked on helped them
develop a CV.


On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 6:30 AM, James Heilman <> wrote:

> Meant to write "more than 5 million words translated". Apologies.
> James
> On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 6:26 AM, James Heilman <> wrote:
>> We learned a few things during the medical translation project which
>> started back in 2011:
>> 1) You must start with high quality content and thus all articles are
>> extensively improved before being proposed for translation.
>> 2) A lot of languages want "less" content than is present on EN WP. Thus
>> we moved to just improving and suggesting for translation the leads of the
>> English articles.
>> 3) The "Content Translation" tool developed by the WMF made efforts more
>> efficient than handing around word documents. Would love to see that tool
>> improved further such as having it support specific lists of articles that
>> are deemed ready for translation by certain groups. Would also love the
>> tool to have tracking metrics for these types of projects.
>> 4) We used volunteer translators mostly associated with our partner
>> Translators Without Borders. One issue we found was that languages in which
>> their are lots of translators such as French, Spanish, and Italian there is
>> often already at least some content on many of the topics in question. The
>> issue than becomes integration which needs an expert Wikipedia. And for
>> languages in which we have little content there are often few avaliable
>> volunteers.
>> 5) With respect to "paying per word" the problem is this would require
>> significant checks and balances to make sure people are taking the work
>> seriously and not simple using Google translate for the 70 or so languages
>> in which it claims to work. We often had translations undergo a second
>> review and the volunteers at TWB have to pass certain tests to be accepted.
>> 6) I hired a coordinator for the translation project for a couple of
>> years. The translators at TWB did not want to become Wikipedians or learn
>> how to use our systems. The coordinator created account like TransSW001
>> (one for each volunteer) and preloaded the article to be translated into
>> Content Translation. They than gave the volunteer translator the user name
>> and password to the account.
>> 7) Were are we at now? There are currently just over 1,000 leads of
>> articles that have been improved and are ready for translation. This
>> includes articles on the 440 medications that are on the WHO Essential
>> List. We have worked a bit in some 100 languages. The efforts have resulted
>> in more than 5 million works translated and integrated into different
>> Wikipedias. The coordinator has unfortunately moved on to his real job of
>> teaching high school students.
>> 8) The project continues but at a slower pace than before. The Wikipedian
>> and retired orthopedic surgeon Subas Chandra Rout has basically single
>> handedly translated nearly all 1,000 leads into Odia a language spoken by
>> 40 million people in Eastern India. The amazing thing is that for many of
>> these topics this is the first and only information online about it. Google
>> translate does not even claim to work in this language. Our partnerships
>> with WMTW and medical school in Taipai continue to translate into Chinese.
>> There the students translate and than their translations are reviewed by
>> their profs before being posted. They translate in groups using hackpad to
>> make it more social.
>> I am currently working to re invigorate the project :-)
>> James
>> On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 5:51 AM, John Erling Blad <>
>> wrote:
>>> This discussion is going to be fun! =D
>>> A little more than seventy Wikipedia-projects has more than 65k articles,
>>> the remaining two hundred or so are pretty small.
>>> What if a base set of articles were opened for paid translators? There
>>> are
>>> several lists of such base sets. We have both the thousand articles from
>>> "List of articles every Wikipedia should have"[1] and and the ten
>>> thousand
>>> articles from the expanded list[2].
>>> Lets say verified good translators was paid about $0.01 per word (about
>>> $1
>>> for a 1k-article) for translating one of those articles into another
>>> language, with perhaps a higher pay for contributors in high-cost
>>> countries. The pay would also have to be higher for languages that lacks
>>> good translation tools.
>>> I believe this would be an _enabling_ activity for the communities, as
>>> without a base set of articles it won't be possible to build a community
>>> at
>>> all. By not paying for new articles, and only translating well-referenced
>>> articles, some of the disputes in the communities could be avoided.
>>> Perhaps
>>> we should also identify good source articles, that would be a help.
>>> Translated articles should be above some minimum size, but they does not
>>> have to be full translations of the source article.
>>> A real problem is that our existing lists of good articles other projects
>>> should have is pretty much biased towards Western World, so they need a
>>> lot
>>> of adjustments. Perhaps such a project would identify our inherit bias?
>>> [1]
>>> edia_should_have
>>> [2]
>>> edia_should_have/Expanded
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>> --
>> James Heilman
>> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
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