[HowTo] Preparing the Wiki for proper translation and translating homogeneously

Good day,

so translating the wiki is hard. And not just because of the obvious differences in areas like grammar, vocabulary, etc. What makes translating the wiki really hard is getting your head around the rather obscure “language extension”, kindly provided by mediawiki, which can be described as temperamental at best and painstakingly hard at worst, at least if you don’t know the ins and outs of the extension. That’s the reason, why I’ve written this small guideline, which both shows you, how to prepare a page for translation and gives some (at least in my eyes) clever and handy tips on how to properly translate the wiki.

Why should anyone bother? Most people already speak English, it’s the greatest language in the world after all. Sounds like a lot of work, for a few people to profit.

Well, you may believe this and for a lot a places, this might be true when it comes to the students which currently graduate. However, just look at how many people can speak proper English one generation ago. A lot of people, even in countries like Austria, France or Germany, only have rudimentary skills when it comes to English. Now, to properly and especially safely use something like Whonix (or any “privacy focused project” for that matter) understanding what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is at the utmost importance. That’s why I believe making a project like this accessible to as many people as possible in as many languages as possible definitely has legitimacy.

So, what if I’m still not interested in translating? Hell, I don’t even speak a language aside from good old English!

Well, that doesn’t mean you are incapable of helping with the translation. You see, translating the wiki is a hard process on its own, without having to modify each and every page by hand and wait for green light from someone who may verify a page for translation. So, to make it easier on those who are capable and willing to translate, it would be super nice of you, dear reader, if you could add the necessary tags for using the language extension next time you are editing something. It doesn’t cost a lot of time and will speed up the process of translating the forum by a huge amount.

OK, that’s an argument (although I suspect you’re mainly saying this, because you’re lazy and don’t want to take those ten seconds upon you).

Well, a bit yes, however, I really feel that, if every page is already ready for translation, it will be much easier (and more tempting) to quickly add a few lines for people who are maybe willing to help a little bit, yet don’t want a permanent commitment. This is, what, at least in my eyes, could really speed up the process, not just not having to add two lines.

So, about the “How To” part of this post…

Yes, yes, let’s start with the most basic of things:

[center]How to prepare a pre-existing page on the wiki for translation[/center]

1.) You click on the “Edit button” on the upper left hand side of the wiki article you would like to prepare for translation.

2.) Now, at the TOP of the wiki text, you simply add the following two tags:

<languages /> <translate>

You then scroll down to the end of the text and add the following tag:

If you want an example on how it should look in the end, here you go: https://www.whonix.org/w/index.php?title=Comparison_of_different_Whonix_variants&action=edit

3.) Safe it.

That’s it! No really, the page is now prepared for translation. So, you’re probably wondering what just happened:

The you’ve added is supposed to create a language selector with which (nomen est omen) you may select available languages. The … tags simply are there to tell the extension which areas should be translated. Now, the great thing here is, that the extension then automatically groups related text together, which is why this really only has to be added at the top and bottom, but more to that later.

What if I want to make a page “translatable”, which I’m currently creating?

Just add the tags in exactly the same manner as if it was a wiki entry, which already existed.

You’re a liar! I’ve done what you said but I can’t translated it. Something about marking for translation?!

Now, when this shows up, you’ve actually done everything correct. What this tells you is that, if you don’t have the permissions to do so yourself, someone else who has said permissions needs to mark this pages manually, in order to allow the creation of translations for this respective page.

But, but I have the permission. And I clicked on “Mark this page for translation” but now I get a bunch of text. What is this?

This is the extension doing its magic. Remember a few paragraphs ago, me mentioning that the extension automatically groups the text in small, manageable portions? Well, this are these. You can simply verify this, by scrolling down and clicking on “Mark this version for translation”. Now, the current version of the page can be translated. However, since a page may change from time to time and these verifications are only applied to one version, sometimes the page will tell you the following: “This page has changes since it was last marked for translation.” If that is the case, simply click on “marked for translation” and verify it again using the same process.

[center]How to translate the wiki[/center]

So now the page can be translated. Great. To do so, simply click on “Translate this page”. Here you get a very handy menu, which allows you to translate anything on the page. On the right side, you’ll find a sentence saying “Translate to English”. Of course, we don’t want to do that. So click on English and select which language you’d like to translate. Then, simply type your translations in the fields provided for it. The system is pretty straight forward here. Furthermore, you don’t have to safe manually. As long as your text turns white (after being yellow for a few seconds) it’s saved. If it stays yellow, click on it and look at the error message, it tells you directly where the mistake lies.

Now, if you have sufficient rights, your translation will go online immediately. If you don’t, then what you’ve tipped in should be saved for further evaluation.

[center]How to translate homogeneously[/center]

So, to keep the wiki more or less homogeneous over all languages, I have a few recommendations, which you may or may not apply yourself, as you see fit.

*) If you have a source on the wiki, which also exists in the language you’re translating to, then it might seem like a good idea to use it, right? Well only, if the translated source does also contain the respective information and is written in a way which faithfully depicts what the original expressed.
*) If something only exists in English or if the former doesn’t apply, it makes sense to translate the name of the link, however I recommend adding some sort of “warning” like for example (English) at the end of the Hyper-link.
*) Please check afterwards, whether everything (especially links) works.

Now, that should be everything. I hope everything was understandable and thank you for reading,


P.S.: By the way, certain parts of the page like the footer which includes links to the Impressum, etc. as well as the upper menus of course can’t be translated.

Good day,

today, Patrick kindly made me aware of a rather big mistake, which I’ve made when translating the wiki. The thing is, that, even though the word “Tor” derived from an acronym of the words “The Onion Routing”, today it is NOT written in capital letters, even when using a mostly compound based language (like German), where you can quite literally combine whichever words you’d like to combine. So, to put it simply:

If you are translating, please, always write “Tor” and NOT “TOR”, since the latter is in fact so incorrect, that the team behind “Tor” wrote the following:

In fact, we can usually spot people who haven't read any of our website (and have instead learned everything they know about Tor from news articles) by the fact that they spell it wrong.

Source: https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq#WhyCalledTor

Have a nice day,


A couple of things.

1) So does the translate mediawiki extension actually use auto translation e.g. Bing and others, so the human translator only has to do small edits to fix any “quirks” caused by the computer translation? (this is just out of interest, I’ve never used it).

I see Bing translator - which is usable with Tor Browser - does a pretty good job when I tested it with Chinese to English and German to English from already translated pages on whonix.org. That is, the English was 90% “normal”.

2) Regarding adding the “language” (x1) and “translate” (x2) tags to prepare pages for translation, is this mostly done throughout the main Whonix documentation wiki entries?

If not, I can easily go through everything on the main wiki table of contents page and add those tags as a mini-project.

Shouldn’t take more than a few hours surely, since it’s only two tags at the top and one right down at the bottom of the wiki text.

Regarding “translations at the core”, I could (?) repeat this procedure for all relevant templates used on the wiki, unless there is some technical reason not to.

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Good day,

No, that functionality is not offered sadly.

Thanks, but has already been done for most pages at a previous date. Just went through the wiki myself to check whether all pages have the tags and to add them in case they weren’t there.

Have a nice day,


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