Wikidata:Requests for comment/Improved instructions for translation admin

An editor has requested the community to provide input on "Improved instructions for translation admin" via the Requests for comment (RFC) process. This is the discussion page regarding the issue.

If you have an opinion regarding this issue, feel free to comment below. Thank you!

It has been mentioned before, I'd still like it to be discussed again. After reading up on things I realize that this may not be a Wikidata problem only, but partly a Meta-system.

When editing "some pages" the page view is annotated with a message: This page contains changes. Please contact a translation admin to mark them for translation.

What does it really mean to "mark for translation" and how should I react to this message? First question is "when to do this"? Next question is "how to do this"? Final question is "can the instructions be made more clear"? I'm writing this summary based on my inexperienced guesses, so please feel free to correct me when I'm wrong!


  • Changed text within translation markup. Should be reviewed and then translated.
  • Changed non-text or parts of a page that does not need translation. Should be reviewed to confirm non-translation and silently used as context for current translations.
  • Added text but didn't properly add translation markup. Should be reviewed, markup added and then translated.
  • New page that is meant for international audience, but currently no translation and probably no markup. Should be reviewed, markup added, flag the page in the translation system and then translated.


  • reviewed: Any edit to "important pages" should be on admin watch lists, I assume. Is "patrolling" and "vandalism warnings" properly managing the "sanity check" part of review?
    • For the pages that are already in the translation loop, there is a Special:PageTranslation list to watch. Is any further notification needed?
  • translated: From what I'm guessing, the "source page" edit does not go live in any language until "translated". That's why "mark for translation" is somewhat "urgent".
    • For the actual translation there is a separate system where translators are notified in due time. Actually source text is used as fallback when no translation exist, so "flag for translation" can be regarded as "translated".
    • Flagging seems to be done in a separate system and only translation admin can do so. Given the Special:PageTranslation list, a more specific notification should not be needed.
    • It may be a series of edits that should be translated in bulk, but with a normal reaction time of translators the intermediate versions should not be a problem.
  • confirm non-translation: For some pages, most edits are not affecting text that is within translation markup. These still require "flagging" to go live.
    • There seems to be bot support[1] to handle non-translation changes efficiently.
    • Could the bot also "flag" non-translation changes (on properly patrolled pages) without involving the translation admin?
  • markup added: The average editor may not understand any of the translation markup, so translation admins have a role there.
  • flag the page: A special case is new pages that should be translated. Since a new page is not flagged as a translation item it will however not raise the "mark for translation" warning.
    • Markup is the only part needed to make the page appear as a translation item in Special:PageTranslation.
    • Is there a process for identifying the pages where translation is crucial for the community?


I'd like to suggest changes to the current warning text

This page contains changes. Please contact a translation admin to mark them for translation.

  • page contains changes -> page has pending changes
    • Any page has a history, but "pending changes" is something else. Saying "unreleased changes" or "suggested changes" may be even more clear.
  • contact a translation admin -> post a request at Wikidata:Translators' noticeboard
    • If this text needs to be stable across projects, the Wikidata link is problematic, but it seems to be WD-link already.
    • Another option is to modify Wikidata:Translation_administrators to make procedure more clear.
  • mark them for translation -> mark them for translation and use
    • Translation may not be interesting to everyone, but highlighting that the edits didn't go live is more a general warning.
  • . -> (if urgent or changed more than a day ago).
    • When met by a "please" when visiting a page, it seems that there is something to do, but really the change is already listed on a todo-list. Should nagging be only a fall-back option?


  1.   Leaning support There is already all the necessary support (follow the links on MW), but I am also of the opinion that each project could contain help pages. IMHO, is the problem in many aspects of life: just like people do not read the instructions for use of their coffee machine or vacuum cleaner, people don't read help pages by asking questions directly. Wikidata'dially. —Eihel (talk) 12:46, 1 April 2020 (UTC)


Noticeboard commentsEdit

I think you may want to start an RfC or a debate on the project chat. --Matěj Suchánek (talk) 12:48, 28 July 2019 (UTC)

@Matěj Suchánek:Thanks for the hint, since this page is for "all matters regarding translation" I'd like to ask here first and learn more before going to RfC. If I get support from translator admins first, I can know if this topic is worth bringing to a bigger audience. Do you know where the "Please contact" text is defined? Can it be changed on Wikidata or is it a MediaWiki change? My first effort should probably be to suggest additional text for the currently used landing page: translation admin.
So far I've learned this:
* The source language is normally live even when not marked for translation. This is probably a major reason why some users don't ask for translation: They assume that everyone sees what they see. The exception to this is transclusion (mainly used for Templates), where the /en variant is served and thus needs to be "translated" before use.
* The "review" part is probably lacking. Wikidata community is most interested in items themselves and not as much in smaller Project pages. Translation admin may assume that if there is not enough interest to actively ask for translation, the page can be safely ignored.
* The translation extension is old and complicated. There is plenty of knowledge needed both for experienced users creating a page suitable for translation and for the editor who never before saw translation markup. Limiting the pages translated to those critical to introduce the Wikidata concept is probably a good idea. Jagulin (talk) 11:16, 29 July 2019 (UTC)


User:ZI Jony decided to create this RfC for me, from a discussion I started at Wikidata:Translators'_noticeboard. Sorry if it's more unclear than a normal RfC. -- Jagulin (talk) 11:41, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

My $0.02
  • Its defined at MediaWiki:Translate-tag-hasnew
  • The source language is always live even when not marked for translation
  • As someone who is very familiar with the extension, I'd be happy to answer questions / create such a help page if desired.
--DannyS712 (talk) 10:36, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
@DannyS712: Thanks for joining the discussion. So do you see this as a "help page" problem only? What do you think of my suggested wording under "Instructions" above? It may partly be a changed "way of working" for translation admins, so those parts may need separate agreement.
MediaWiki:Translate-tag-hasnew would be hard to find, thank you for the link. Even though it's named MediaWiki it seems to be local to WD. That helps!
About "The source language is always live even when not marked for translation" I've read that there is a translation for "en" as well, so even if there is a "source language" version updated, the en-variant is not. Specifically I understood that for template-translclusion it's alwasy the "translated" variant that is used. So Templates would be an exception from always. Nevertheless, for pages that has been judged important enough for translation, it shouldn't be relevant whether source language is up to date if translations are not. -- Jagulin (talk) 11:41, 18 August 2019 (UTC)