Extra information: I think this needs to be translated to English, so all WLB members can read this too :3
Featured Wiki: WLB ElBosso, 2 May 2014
Ahoy, valued Wikians! This time on Featured Wiki, we venture into international waters! Not many of you surely know that Wikia exists in more than 100 languages. This is a big amount. There are also a lot of Wikians out there who love languages that have banded together here to form a small, voluntary group, whose goal is to promote internalization within Wikia communities: The Wikia Language Brigade (shortform: WLB, in German: the Wikia Language-brigade).
What is the Wikia Language Brigade? To learn more about the Wikia Language Brigade, I had talked to four Brigadiers (as the members of this group call themselves) online, and bombarded them with questions on the topic:
- Yatalu: Dutch speaking member who started WLB, founder of the wiki
- Ennocb: German speaking member since July 2013
- Vuh: Polish speaking member since July 2013
- KORNiUX: Russian speaking member since April 20th, 2014
The goal of the language brigade is both quickly summarized and greatly outreaching at the same time: to be able to translate Wikia-based text and though this work, foster connections between wikis of different languages on the same topic.
The WLB Wiki has a well-developed structure which allows translation requests to be put forward, which is taken care of by a brigadier as soon as (s)he has the time for it. In addition, they search for wikis of communities in different languages. All too often, larger wikis do not know there are smaller or equally big wikis on the same subject in one or more foreign languages. The WLB makes the communities noticed and promotes establishment of interlanguage links and cooperation.
And why do they do it? For a brigadier, there are several reasons as to why they invest their time in this project. First, there is the interesting community supporting it - for instance the one in the German Wikia-Room (assumed Skype), (simply) multilingual! Different people from different cultures with different interests, but with one thing in common: The love of language.
It happens often therefore, as in the interview I had with the WLB, that one is lost every now and then in amusing linguistic talk shop. An excerpt (freely translated):
- KORNiUX: In some translations it brings confusion in Russian, partly because "language" has another meaning: "tongue". So would the "Wikia Language Brigade" be known as the "Wikia Tongue Brigade".
- Vuh: I think, this is the case with many Slavic languages.
- Yatalu: In Latin and French too, if I'm not mistaken.
- Enno: In English in some cases, eg. "mother tongue"
- Yatalu: Oh, the wonderful world of European languages.
- Enno: Yay \ o /
Fun Fact: The \ o / emoticon is very, very commonly used in conversations with the WLB. Sometimes up to five times in succession.
Internalization (unclear) Or when it comes to French, the "hipsters" of language as they call it with a wink, still searching for the French word when all the other languages have agreed with the English terms. ;)
A more fundamental reason for motive for the participants is to be able to give others a hand. Some of them focus specifically on the translation of help pages, or documentation of complex templates et cetera. The Brigadiers are proud to help others and to know their achievements can help many others. I agree (with that)!
How did the Wikia Language Brigade come to be? The idea of developing the project came to Yatalu in early 2013. She talked to Thisismyrofl, an admin in the English Community Central, who wanted the English Wolfenstein Wiki in other languages, including German, some of these languages in which he could speak himself. At the same time Yatalu had a project that wanted to provide connections for multiple languages and she looked around Wikia for people who could help her with translations. Although it started off sluggishly (slowly?), the search for like-minded people began and they were organised first via the English Community Wiki, then to a home of their own, the WLB Wiki.
Since its founding on July 7, 2013, a lot has happened: There are around 150 brigadiers now, covering 40 languages, 25 of which are at native level.
How you could help the WLB! Of course, the Wikia Language Brigade is constantly looking for new, dedicated members and getting involved is easier than you think - but you aren't forced to speak another language perfectly because the WLB is also looking for native speakers who proofread text that has been translated once. Your language abilities can be showed to others easily using a special template, and depending on the request, sometimes short texts with a few words are needed, other times entire articles; that is, there is work for every language level.
To join the language brigade, learn it on this page. There is only one requirement: Do not use automatic translation programs. Not only does it fail horrendously (lit. quickly) (through faulty syntax, grammar or just oddly-chosen words), they also make a complete joke out of the translation. The Brigadiers want to promote manual translations by showing that they can be fun to do and let you learn a lot - especially among such a great, international community. Alternatively they also would be pleased to receive (lit. of) your translation requests!
If you would like to help out in translations, or train and expand your foreign language knowledge, or take a first glance into international cooperative work in different languages without prior experience to any of these, then get in touch with the Wikia Language Brigade! I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Ennocb, KORNiUX, Vuh and Yatalu for taking the time to answer my questions!
Image text: Micha (Elbosso) is a "Jack of all trades". A bit about him: He has studied History and German (language + literature), loves music, plays many instruments, likes fantasy such as sci-fi of (almost) all types, eating, baking, cooking and drinking, and wears his beard with pride and dignity. He also likes to try out new things - but shaving? Never!!