Thank you James for this detailed feedback. It is very interesting.


On Sat, Feb 24, 2018 at 8:27 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]
> >
> > Wikipedia_should_have
> > [2]
> >
> > Wikipedia_should_have/Expanded
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> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
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