Help:Translation

This is a help page that describes how to copy and translate text from a Wikipedia foreign language article into English. The text may be for a completely new article (see Help:New article), or to expand an existing English Wikipedia article. If text is copied over from another Wiki then appropriate attribution must be placed in the edit history of the article (see the guide line Copying within Wikipedia §Translating from other language Wikimedia projects)

This help page does not currently cover how to translate from English Wikipedia to a foreign language. For help with that see Wikipedia:Translate us.

License requirementsEdit

A translation is a derivative work. Wikipedia articles are under a copyleft license that requires attribution to the original source and authors in all derivative works. How to do this is described on Translating from other language Wikimedia projects.

The new, translated article must credit the source article:

  • (a) Provide in the first edit summary of the target article a statement of your translation, together with an interlanguage link to the source (translated-from) article. Example: Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Exact name of French article]]; see its history for attribution.

Additionally you may:

  • (b) Place the template {{Translated page}} for example {{Translated page|fr|Exact name of the French article}} on the target article's talk page ({{Translated page}} also takes some additional optional parameters).

You are not required to import the revision history, but if you wish to do so, ask at Wikipedia:Requests for page importation for the page to either be imported into your userspace or over your translated version of the article. (See also Wikipedia:Copying within Wikipedia, and its section at WP:RIA if you find a translation that failed to provide mandatory copyright attribution.)

How to translateEdit

Articles on a given subject in different languages are typically edited independently, and need not correspond closely in form, style or content. If portions of an article appear to be low-quality or unverifiable, use your judgment and do not translate those portions. Once you have finished translating, you may ask a proofreader to check the translation.

The English text should be understandable to a wide audience, so – other things being equal – use everyday English expressions rather than jargon or foreign expressions. It may be necessary to add material explaining terms or cultural concepts unfamiliar to English-speaking readers.

Avoid being overly influenced by the style of the original. With the exception of quotations, use normal English encyclopedic style, as appropriate for the topic.

The acceptable style for section headings may vary between articles in different languages, as may the layout of the appendix sections.

On English Wikipedia the style of section headings is described in the Manual of Style (MOS) guideline. For example section headers should normally not start with "A", "An", or "The", and the heading ought to be presented in sentence case (Funding of UNESCO projects in developing countries), not title case (Funding of UNESCO Projects in Developing Countries)—see the MOS sections: Section headings and indirectly Article titles for guidance.

Although the ordering of information in the main body of an article is not described in detail in the MOS—for example whether the family of a subject of a biography is mentioned in passing in the chronological order of the subject's life, or is placed in a separate section, is left to the discretion of the editors. However there is guidance in the MOS on the appendices of an article. These include section header names, the ordering of the sections and content (see the MOS guideline Layout § Standard appendices and footers). For example the section "See also", if included, ought to contain a bulleted list of internal links to related Wikipedia articles and be placed before the notes and references sections.

English Wikipedia policy requirementsEdit

All English Wikipedia articles must meet the requirements of the three core content policies no original research, neutral point of view and verifiability. This is particularly true for biographies of living people. In addition articles must also comply with the copyright policy. Articles translated from other languages are expected to meet English Wikipedia's notability guidelines; simply having an article on another Wikipedia project does not establish notability by itself.

Verifiability: Include citationsEdit

Include the same sources that the original article used, if they are appropriate. For example, if you're not translating some text in the original article because you think it's irrelevant, then omit the related citations, or find other text in the article that they support. (Sources are valuable.)

Do check to see if an English-language citation is available that is the equivalent of the foreign-language citation (for example an authorized translation), since that's easier for readers to verify. If you do find one, you don't need to include the foreign-language citation. If you use a translated edition of a book, make sure to adjust the page numbers to those in the translation.

If you translate just the beginning of an article, and the foreign language lead is unsourced because the references supporting it are in the body, you ought to import those body references, inserting them into the translated lead at the appropriate locations to meet verifiability requirements.

Many foreign language articles do not meet the levels of verifiability that is expected in English Wikipedia articles. If an article has sections with no citations then follow the guidance in UNSOURCED and either provide additional inline sources, or add appropriate citation needed templates as described in UNSOURCED.

Content Translation ToolEdit

Screencast showing how to use Content Translation

The Content Translation tool may be used to facilitate the translation process. This tool is currently limited to extended confirmed editors (those with 30 days tenure and at least 500 edits). The community is actively developing a process whereby trusted editors will be able to gain access to this tool. Please see more information at Wikipedia:Content translation tool.

Avoid machine translationsEdit

Translation takes work. Machine translation almost always produces very low-quality results. Machine translation can have difficulty with individual words or expressions for many reasons, including false friends, false cognates, literal translation, neologisms, slang, idiomatic expressions and other unrecognized compounds, words with multiple meanings, words with specialized meanings in certain knowledge domains different from a common meaning of a word in a more general context, unwarranted translation of proper names, and other reasons. Wikipedia consensus is that an unedited machine translation, left as a Wikipedia article, is worse than nothing. (This is partly because translation templates automatically carry links to machine translations, so readers can easily access machine translations anyway‍—‌pasting a machine translation into an "article" really achieves nothing).