Cross Lingual Wiki Engine Project Proposal

One-liner summary: We're going to develop and evaluate processes and tools for collaborative translation that can be used with any wiki engine. We're looking for partners!


Massively collaborative environments like Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr and Second Life are revolutionizing the way in which content is produced and consumed world wide. These new technologies and paradigm will also significantly impact the way that content is translated. Indeed the traditional top-down, command-and-control translation paradigms commonly used today are simply not appropriate in a context where content is grown organically from the grassroots.

The Cross Lingual Wiki Engine project aims at designing, developing and testing lightweight wiki tools that can be used to translate content in this new frontier.

The following demo provides an overview of the type of tools we are thinking about:

A more detailed analysis of the issues can be found in the following research paper:

  • Désilets, A., Gonzalez, L., Paquet, S., Stojanovic, M. Translation the Wiki Way. In: Proceedings of the WikiSym 2006 - The Conference Wiki of the 2006 International Symposium. Odense, Denmark. August 21-23, 2006.

We are actively looking for partners who can provide in-kind and/or monetary resources to help advance this highly relevant project. We are especially short on programming resources.

All code produced in the course of this project will be distributed as Open Source software.

Project Participants and Resources

During a meeting at the WikiSym 2007 conference, the following people pledged resources to the project.

Name and AffiliationAmount pledgedType of resource
Alain Désilets, National Research Council of Canada0.5 day per week for 12 monthsRequirements Gathering, Programming, Testing and Evaluation
Louis-Philippe Huberdeau, École de technologie supérieure1 day per weekProgramming
Marc Laporte, TikiWiki $2000 Money, Requirements Gathering, Testing and Evaluation
Nelson Ko, Carleton U 0.5 day per week for 6 months Requirements Gathering, Testing and Evaluation
Sebastien Paquet, UQAM 0.5 day per week for 6 months Reqs, Evaluation, Writeups
Colas Nahaboo, ILOGTBD (possibility of a full time intern for a few months)Requirements Gathering, Programming

We are currently looking for financial support for a full-time programmer for one year.

Project Plan

The project will take an agile, incremental and user-centered approach to developing the tools. We will start by implementing the "Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work", and quickly deploy it for use on our own site (, and possibly other more corporate sites (ex: ILOG, the Mozilla support site). We will then enter a longer phase where we will iteratively refine and expand these minimal features based on user feedback.

Our aim is to develop and evaluate processes and tools that can be used with any wiki engine. However, we will use TikiWiki as our initial development platform. Once we have figured out how to enable translation the wiki-way inside of TikiWiki, other wiki engines will be able to follow suit by emulating what we have done.

In order to facilitate this type of emulation, the project team will strive to continuously document their own experience on a lessons learned page:

as well as developer blogs and project discussion forums.

The running code for the cross-lingual version of TikiWiki, and the list of lessons learned, will be the two main outputs of the project.

Below is an approximate timeline with milestones. Note that those are just indicative of what we are aiming for. Given the highly distributed, mostly volunteer nature of this project, we have no way of guaranteeing that specific outputs will be produced by specific dates.

Nov-Dec 2007 Requirements Gathering, User-Centered Design.User Personaes, Usage scenario, Prioritized list of features
Jan-Feb 2008Initial developmentFirst release of running software, First set of lessons learned.
Feb 2008Testing and validation of first prototypeRe-prioritized list of features
March-Nov 2008Incremental expansion and refinementIncreasingly powerful versions of TikiWiki translation features, increasingly detailed list of lessons learned

Upcoming Events

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