Wikisource:Language policy

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Language domains[edit]

For information on the creation of language domains at Wikisource, please see:

General translations[edit]

Wikisource supports the outstanding goal of Wikimedia to make information freely and readily available to people in the languages that they speak, read, and write.

For this reason, Wikisource has from its very beginnings declared its willingness to host not only previously published editions of original texts, but also to encourage new wiki translations of those texts.

For most texts, and especially for modern texts that are primarily written for their informative content (i.e. with the possible exceptions of literature and poetry), a single basic translation of a text may be created in wiki fashion, as long as it is linked to the original source-text. With the advent of language domains, these links can easily be put in the sidebar of any Wikisource subdomain.

For instance, an English translation of a French source-text should include the "fr:" link at the bottom, followed by the French title. With a single click on the sidebar ("in other languages"), the reader of the translation can see the original source-text, or any other translation that exists at Wikisource.

Multiple published translations[edit]

Wikisource primarily hosts previously published source-texts, and this includes multiple published translations of source-texts. When there is more than one published translation, and more than one of them is uploaded to Wikisource, they should link to each other, as well as be linked to and from the original source-text (and to translations in other languages).

There is more than one way to accomplish this:

  • The simplest solution is to insert an interwiki language link to a page which lists all translations of the text available in that language.
  • If there are only a small number of translation (which will usually be the case!), simply provide a language link to one of them in the sidebar. The translation that is linked to (the primary translation) should provide links to other translations in that language.
  • If the passage is short, it is possible (and sometimes even beneficial) to include parallel translations of the same text on a single page.
  • It is possible to include more than one language link in the sidebar of the original source-text (e.g. "en:" twice!). This has a major disadvantage, however, in that when there are two links to "English" it is impossible to tell which translation each one of them links to.

There should be no single binding policy on how to create links to multiple versions. The best solution is to let each translation project find the method that best suites its own needs.

When Wikidata is implemented, it should provide many new options for classifying multiple translations! In general, Wikidata may also provide Wikisource with useful new tools for classifying smaller and larger units of source-texts.

Multiple wiki translations[edit]

For some texts, one new Wikisource translation may not be enough. This is especially true for poetry and literature, as well as texts from pre-modern times. Wikisource is committed to making texts available in as many usable formats as possible, if there are users willing to contribute them.

Some translations may be aimed at an audience of young readers, others may be written for adults. Some may be aimed at monolingual readers, others at students of the language of the source-text. Some may be "literary" translations, others may be rather technical. Some source-texts, expecially for ancient, classical, or medieval texts, may have a number of variant versions, with significant differences between them. Different translations may reflect different versions of the source-text.

In cases where a single translation does not meet all needs, more than one translation may be contributed to Wikisource. When this happens, the methodology, style and goals of each translation should be clearly spelled out and agreed upon by the wiki contributors who participate in that translation project.

It is important to emphasize that different kinds of translations are often truly different works. In such cases, parallel translations can develope separately while being linked for comparison.

For information on how to create links when there is more than one parallel translation, see above ("Multiple published translations").

More information on Wikisource languages[edit]

This page is reserved for a general summary of all aspects of language policy. For other informative pages about the languages at Wikisource, please see:

The language domain vote that established separate Wikisource language subdomains: