[Wikipedia-l] Languages

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Wed Aug 27 12:33:31 UTC 2003

Merritt, I think one problem is that you haven't been around long and
haven't really grasped that we're an international community, as
opposed to a single organization that 'decides' things like this in a
centralized manner.

Merritt L. Perkins wrote:
> What languages? All languages! Do you mean that you want to include
> Encyclopedia articles on all languages.

Yes, I mean exactly that.

> There are so many obscure languages that you cannot expect to
> include them all.

Well, I suppose that there are living languages that are spoken by so
few people that the creation of a Wikipedia in that language will not
be practical.  But if several hundred thousand people speak a
language, then there is no reason for us not to support them.  Indeed,
if only a few hundred people speak a language, and if someone wants to
write in that language, then we should support that.

> What languages should the Encyclopedia be translated into?

The different languages are not mere translations of each other.
Translation is but one tool for the creation of content, and I think
that in practice it is not the easiest nor most often used.

> I think that you should choose languages that would have many
> readers.

I think it's the wrong way to think about it to suppose that we should
'choose' based on 'readers'.  The right way to look at it is that
writers may choose to write whatever they want to write, in whatever
language Wikipedia they want to write about.

For some background, please look at:


and of course there are many other fine examples.


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