Managing translations

Why translate?

Graphic: Greetings in different languages

In today's interconnected world, most wiki owners have to think about dealing with multiple language versions of their wiki. This is important for capturing the knowledge of workers with different language competencies. It also can help to improve wiki usage and acceptance of the wiki technology.

Mulitlingual wikis require some planning effort and should be planned and explained to stakeholders in writing. The workload for maintaining and monitoring multiple languages can grow fast as more and more content is added to the wiki.

Since these language versions, depending on the approach, are often linked manually with special tags in source code, you need to determine how this process works before deciding if and how to create different language versions.

Some questions you should ask yourself first:

  • What are the goals of creating content in different languages?
  • Which languages need to be maintained?
  • How many users depend on each language (both as readers and authors)?
  • Who is responsible for coordinating the translation efforts?
  • How much extra time will be spent on quality assurance for each language?


Maintaining separate wikis

Each language has its own wiki. Pages are connected manually by inserting a small code snippet at the end of each page.The user sees a language flag in the page header and can easily switch between multiple languages:

Screenshot: Language flags in wiki header

Read how to do this with the extension BlueSpiceInterWikiLinks.


Each page is translated into a subpage of the main language page. For example, and would create the German language version of the page BlueSpice as subpage BlueSpice/de. The language switch is placed at the top of each translated page:

Screenshot: subpage for translation

A simple link to the main language page is added to each page that has a translation. Example: {{Translate|BlueSpice}}

This switch uses the template Translate.

MediaWiki "Translate" extension

Another alternative is the MediaWiki Translate extension: Like the subpages solution above, translations are managed within one wiki instance. This extension has to be installed separately and is documented at