explain xkcd:Translation

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Translations are a thing that are going to happen, as a fair portion of the world does not speak English as a first language. This project page aims to organize efforts surrounding the localization of the wiki. From pure traffic statistics, our first translations are likely going to be in German and French. We won't officially start translating until we've purged all the incomplete articles from the wiki, so that volunteer translators will at least have a base to work from if they don't get any of the comics.


Here's a few scope issues we need to agree on.

  • What should the URLs be?
www.de.explainxkcd.com and de.explainxkcd.com for Germany, www.fr.explainxkcd.com and fr.explainxkcd.com for France, other countries could be easy covered by this subdomain.
Sounds good. I've never seen a site in the form www.de.explainxkcd.com though. Wouldn't de be the domain? Wouldn't that be expensive?
When someone does own "explainxkcd.com" a domain like "whatever.explainxkcd.com" should be a simple task.
Yeah, de would be a subdomain of explainxkcd.com That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 18:54, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I can totally do that. I'm not sure www.de.explainxkcd.com is how domain names work though.
IMHO, we should use something like de.explainxkcd.com, with optional redirects from www.de.explainxkcd.com to the domain without www. --SlashMe (talk) 10:39, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Image translation
Manipulating an image is a heavy task, a translated transcript would be a better solution. The (weak English reader) can see the original image but also the translation.
Workload is little issue, we can use surplus ad money to pay for translations if we need to, and we can recruit existing translation projects to join us. I'm not *really* doing translations for people who already speak English, I'm shooting for translations so that people who don't know English can access xkcd as well.
  • Template translation
No need. I'am hating translations like "From - To" to "Von - Bis" (From - Until) like IBM does. Templates should work in the same manner without no translation.
That would mean that templates like template:incomplete, template:unsigned and MediaWiki:Talkpagetext would remain in English though. Izzat good? I think I put this point up mainly because there's two ways we could go about this; we could recreate the templates in each translation wiki, or we could move them to a pool wiki to be shared by all the wikis. Probably should have mentioned that earlier. This applies to images as well.
  • Should we keep the original English comic data around on our translation wikis?
That's my point, showing just a translation, not a new comic. Most people understand English but they just do not understand the details. That has to be translated.
I doubt the wisdom of that logic. If that were the case, our current visitor count from non-English speaking countries should be much larger, but it stands at maybe a bit more than a quarter of our viewership right now. I'm pretty sure that America/UK/Australia are not 70% of the world's population. A good portion of other countries clearly isn't touching xkcd or explainxkcd, for whatever reason, and I think it's probably safe to say that language plays a major part in that.
Most German people know English, but not in that detail.
Looking up Wikipedia, that would be ~64% of Germany. That's not counting Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, two of which appear to have lower rates of useful English knowledge than Germany. Also, I wouldn't assume that people want to learn or know English when they access our translated offerings.
Volunteering Turkish translator for some comics. Erkinalp (talk) 10:43, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
I think an interwiki link between the languages should be enough. --SlashMe (talk) 10:39, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Local admins - currently, we have no visible candidates to manage the French wiki, and two eligible Germans. Identifying viable candidates will be difficult for current admins, as I do not believe any of us actually speak French.
  • Shared data - I'm only planning on sharing login data between the translation wikis, because pretty much everything will need translating. That means contribution history and existing pages will not be carried over, and templates will need to be manually carried over.

Feel free to edit this page and its talk page to bring up anything else I may have. Given the projected starting trigger of full article completion, we'll probably start opening the translation wikis up for public editing in about 58 days. In the meantime, we'll work on getting the parallel wikis set up and making sure that they aren't broken.

Some thoughts
  • "www.de.explainxkcd.com" and also "de.explainxkcd.com" are valid domain names. I can provide help on this DNS config.
  • That names require a "Virtual Host" at the Web-Server itself. Just some configurations, not a big job.
  • Right now I think a fully independent wiki instance would be the best solution. Means: Translating all templates and 42 and more...
  • The translated page should look similar to the original explainxkcd page, but if a translated image is shown a link to to the original image must be available.
Welp, I actually did some research and you appear to be right on domain names. So, seperate images as well? I can do that. We should also start mocking up the translated comic template now to see what works from a UI standpoint. There's another thing to go on my list for things to do during Thanksgiving.
For the images both versions should be be available, if exist. Like "File:new_study.png" and "File:new_study_de.png". If DE exists it should be the default, otherwise the original. In this case the user should be able to switch between the original and translated image. I will do some tests at my local wiki and I will present some ideas at a Sandbox at my user page here. But nevertheless this is a project for 2014.
I think we can setup up MediaWiki to use images from another wiki (see Wikipedia:MW:Manual:Image administration#Foreign Repositories). This way, we can upload images to the localized wiki, but still use images from the English version. --SlashMe (talk) 10:39, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • One time (a few years ago, before I created my account—I'm not sure exactly how it happened, too long ago) while reading explain xkcd on another browser (I think it was google chrome?) the page I was viewing was automatically translated into the language of my region, and it was surprisingly good, with only some grammatical problems. Could we like load the wiki that way and then edit the grammar, or would it be a bad idea? Herobrine (talk) 09:41, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

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When I first did read this idea I thought this would be a massive project. But more and more users sign in here so maybe it could be possible. So here my first thoughts (I don't want to edit the project page):

  • URL: www.tld.explainxkcd.com and tld.explainxkcd.com should be possible on the domain explainxkcd.com. An other idea is www.explainxkcd.com/tldwiki. So this would be www.explainxkcd.com/dewiki for Germany.
  • Direct translations are often not easy or just impossible. The pages should show the original content and explain the original text without a simple translation. Jokes not common to non US citizen must be be explained in more detail than in English.
  • It's a project for 2014, not this year.
  • I will do some attempts for the German language, The Doctor has to be explained, what the hell is Firefly, what is NSFW, ... Most Germans need an explanation for this, they just don't know. So I will focus on some more complex comics, but not now.
  • The comic itself should be the original because it helps people with a smaller knowledge on the English language.

Nice idea, but still a hard job.--Dgbrt (talk) 23:17, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

It's totally fine to edit the page, it's still a work in progress and I hadn't fully fleshed out exactly what the parameters of the project would be when I wrote it. I was planning on discussing it with other editors until we reached consensus on how we were going to handle everything. The only thing that I had set-in-stone decided was that I would only make the alternate language wikis live after we had completed every English explanation, so that translators would have a correct base to work from. I'm inclined to go for the subdomain solution, because less typing. If we could figure out automagic region redirects from explainxkcd.com, that would be sweet. I was already intending to nominate you and Slashme for adminship on the German wiki, and our German audience is sizeable enough that I think we should be fine on edit volume. I was actually thinking about doing translation on the comics and transcripts, because I figured that's what we're here to do; make the comics as accessible to visitors as possible. If we gave them xkcd in their native language, all the better. I also started this thing because I wanted to reach people who didn't know any English at all. The image translation would be a colossal effort though, and I was thinking of contacting and inviting guys like [1], [2] and [3] to come help us for that. I wasn't expecting translating the entire wiki into a different language to be an easy task at all, but it's going to be completely worth it. I'm considering Chinese next, just for the massive audience boost. Davidy²²[talk] 02:48, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I am a little worried about French though. They're our third biggest language, but there's no real viable French candidate for adminship currently. It'll be fine for the next year or so when we're working on German, but we'll need a French speaking admin eventually. I don't know how we're gonna look for that. Davidy²²[talk] 05:38, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Because of this new page the main page should be changed from "PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13" to "PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-14".--Dgbrt (talk) 22:11, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Huh. I don't see the category on this page, but the main page counter seems to back you up. Fix'd. Davidy²²[talk] 23:11, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Ohh, sometimes my eagle eyes struggle about something, and the next time I do not recognize other errors here. Are we humans or bots? I am a humaan, and my BOT('s) are instructed by me, NOT vice versa. --Dgbrt (talk) 01:03, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

I volunteer towards Spanish translation! I am a Puerto Rican who translates stuff out of fun. Also, there is a (partial) Spanish xkcd... Greyson (talk) 13:38, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

I got this: "If you see this page, the nginx web server is successfully installed and working. Further configuration is required." A Spanish translation would be great, but a 404 message did happen to me. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:51, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Is there really a need for translations? This is an English comic, so I doubt many who speak other languages primarily will even read nonetheless want to understand the comic or even find this wiki. It just doesn't sound like it's worth all the effort.-- 01:48, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Expanded audience is good stuff. I doubt the subject matter would be wholly unappealing to foreign engineers, and the language barrier is probably the only limiting factor to further reach. Davidy²²[talk] 06:22, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Hey! Anything happening? -- Nk22 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Not yet, incomplete articles need to be cleared out, and I need to set things up on my end to make parallel wikis for other languages. It'll happen eventually though. Davidy²²[talk] 19:51, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Would be able to translate into Spanish whenever this gets off the ground.Untothebreach (talk) 07:01, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Have you thought of Extension:Translate? Links will be not like de.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/975 but rather explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/975/de, afaik. One can get used to it :) --Ата (talk) 16:40, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

There are xkcd fans in many countries. There is even a Chinese (traditional) version where someone changed all the words into Chinese (only for the simpler comics). Herobrine (talk) 09:34, 8 April 2018 (UTC)