I really want Translate

My main language is not English, Spanish, or Germany. OSM is not well-used in my country, so that the contents in my language on OSM wiki are commonly outdated.

Currently, as there is no Translate extension, It is hard to distinguish an outdated section from others. So always I should read the English pages, and opportunity to improve the local page is rarer.

I’ve seen the RfC for Translate extension was accepted a year ago. Is there another people to help this happen?


Mind you, localized wiki pages not always just translate the English page. They also mention local preferences, place emphasis on peculiarities that the local community cares deeply about and that are not reflected in the English documentation and perhaps more.

No idea how the translate extensions works, but if it would replace localized pages, that will incur information loss.


The extension retains the option to write something completely different from the source message or source document, as long as you’re OK with a lack of synchronization.

This was hashed out ad nauseam in the various threads that resulted in the “approved” proposal. “Approved” in quotation marks, because, as we can plainly see, the tag approval process is ineffective for proposing a software change. It did however demonstrate significant user support for the extension.

At the time, I don’t think folks fully appreciated that the Translate extension comes from a project with a culture very different from our own. The Wikimedia movement maximizes translation in order to eliminate language as a barrier to knowledge sharing. The general sentiment is that anything worth writing in one language is probably worth reading in another language too, no matter the subject matter, no matter the reader’s identity. One reason this works well for Wikimedia is that the community consists largely of writers (and armchair linguists).

Even among Wikimedia sites, you’ll notice that only some of the wikis have the Translate extension installed. Sites like Wikipedia shun this extension, because they need maximum flexibility in deciding how to cover a topic, especially a subjective one. Consistency across languages is a very low priority. By contrast, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata are primarily repositories of language-neutral content (multimedia and empirical facts, respectively), while MediaWiki.org maintains documentation about language-neutral software. To the extent that these sites contain anything translatable, it really shouldn’t matter which language the reader speaks.

The classic OSM ethos didn’t require as much multilingualism, at least in the early days. Perfecting the map in my own backyard doesn’t necessarily require me to educate someone half a world away about every quirk of my hometown, even if they speak my language. But if I’m writing documentation about something of a global nature, I would like to collaborate on it with other mappers around the world, regardless of their language. My hometown quirks can always go on a different page that no one else cares about. Besides, many of the cross-language discrepancies on our tagging pages are symptoms of problematic tagging decisions more than anything inherent to language.

People who speak underresourced languages would like to benefit from the effort being put into the documentation in more privileged languages. I’m not sure that the Translate extension by itself will fully meet this need, but it would help us educate mappers about the basics in each language.