Submissions/Hindi Wikipedia: Independent Existence v/s Dependence on English Wikipedia

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

After careful consideration, the programme committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2013 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this August.

Submission no.
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Hindi Wikipedia: Independent Existence v/s Dependence on English Wikipedia

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Independent Wikimedia Foundation Projects Contributor

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Send an email to Hindustanilanguage straightaway!

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This presentation highlights the editing culture of the Hindi Wikipedia.

Detailed proposal

Hindi Wikipedia: Independent Existence v/s Dependence on English Wikipedia

We have Wikipedia in umpteen number of languages in hopes of a world where people can have access to encyclopedic articles in the language of their choice. Yet, there is an inherent tendency of editors to first glance through the English Wikipedia and correspondingly design articles in their respective languages. That is to say that the new articles in the language Wikipedia will be the replica of English Wikipedia, citing the same sources, and probably copying the source code with the translated text replacing the original text. One such Wikipedia is the Hindi Wikipedia.

Table of Comparison of English and Hindi Wikipedia articles on Diagnosis of HIV
A comparison of the sections of Diagnosis of HIV article on the English Wikipedia v/s its translation on the Hindi Wikipedia on the date of this write-up. The "===" in red indicate missing inputs
Screenshots of the Printable Versions of the Dopler Effect Article on the English and Hindi Wikipedia
A comparison of the texts of Dopler Effect article on the English Wikipedia v/s its translation on the Hindi Wikipedia on the date of this write-up. While one is too large to be screen-captured, the other is still in a nascent stage.

The above two screen shots highlight the formative nature of the Hindi Wikipedia articles:

  • Hindi Wikipedia articles, especially on topics of Science and Technology, Medicine, Engineering, Politics, etc are mostly sourced as translated versions of the Wikipedia articles.
  • While translations are done once, it is not always possible to correspondingly update the Hindi Wikipedia with a similar update of the English Wikipedia.
  • Wikipedia contributors are not professional translators and hence are likely to err on technical terms.
  • Some of the content may be left out on the Hindi Wikipedia compared to English Wikipedia because of inability of the contributors as in the case of the Table of Comparison of English-Hindi Wikipedia articles on Diagnosis of HIV above.
  • Because of the difficulty of translating technical terms, while the English Wikipedia article might be too vast, the corresponding Hindi Wikipedia article might be too condensed as seen in the case of the screenshots of the printable versions of the Dopler Effect article on the English and Hindi Wikipedia above.
  • In many cases, the corresponding terms are missing in the Asian languages and hence the contributor is forced to use enlarged phrases to explain them.
  • Although there are online tools such as of Google Translation and HinKhoj Dictionary, contributors will find a built-in translation tool of Wikipedia quite useful for their activities.

This does not mean that there no independently developments on Hindi Wikipedia. A number of articles are have been developed and there have been discussions about the issues effecting the language and its general Wikipedia editing rules, which, if adhered to, will help in standardizing the language and the articles it showcases. These are, as discussed on the Hindi Wikipedia and two major points from the discussion are as follows:

  • Hindi wikipedia strongly recommends the users to write articles in everyday common Hindi in the खड़ीबोली dialect (Hindustani or Hindi-Urdu, i.e., बोलचाल वाली हिन्दी, which may include many loanwords from Persian and Arabic). The use of शुद्ध संस्कृतनिष्ठ हिन्दी is in general neither required nor recommended. E.g., use: वजह instead of कारण, ख़ास instead of विशेष, वगैरह instead of इत्यादि, लेकिन instead of परन्तु etc. However, for technical and specialized vocabulary, the use of शुद्ध संस्कृतनिष्ठ हिन्दी is recommended and usually mandatory. Thus: upper House of Parliament—संसद का उच्च सदन, but not Urdu—मजिलिस का ऐवान-ए-बाला ; Foreign Minister—विदेशमन्त्री, but not Urdu—वज़ीर-ए-ख़ारिजा ; knowledge/science—ज्ञान/विज्ञान, but not इल्म. Use spoken Hindi's ये and वो instead of यह and वह / वे. Do not use the title of respect जी after names, it is unencyclopedic. Thus: कृष्ण / श्री कृष्ण but not कृष्ण जी. Use the आप form and its corresponding 3rd person verbal conjugation for writing about respectable persons. Thus: श्री वाजपेयी मध्य प्रदेश में जन्मे थे. But not: वाजपेयी मध्य प्रदेश में जन्मा था. But do not use the pronoun "आप" itself in-text in biographies.
  • English should be used sparingly, only when required; i.e., if the corresponding शुद्ध हिन्दी word is too "difficult and not generally encountered", or if it is a proper name of non-Indian person/place/terminology/title, or if the user is highly unsure of the proper translation. It is recommended (but not required) for English-to-Hindi translation while writing articles, the Shabdkosh online dictionary should be used. For each English word, that alternative should be used which is generally encountered in everyday spoken Hindi, and also fits well into the context. Use of intelligent guesses for newly encountered words is also allowed, and so are translations encountered in Hindi-dubbed TV documentaries, Hollywood films, Hindi-translated books, etc. e.g., दमपिशाच for en:Dementor (used in dubbed HP films).

Yet in terms of impact, Gerard Meijssen sums the impact on his blog: "The most important issue I have is that India is equated with Hindi. It is not; it is not even the most read Wikipedia by Indians. When you watch the development of the Hindi Wikipedia, there are no localisers championing the Hindi localisation. There has been an influx of machine translated articles bigger then what could be absorbed by the editing community. Finally Hindi is spoken mostly in the North of India while the liveliest Wikimedia activity can be found in Southern India."

Be as it might - the northern part of India as the focal point of Hindi Wikipedia. Yet as the Research:WikiHistories fellowship/Hindi points out: "The biggest challenge facing Hindi Wikipedia is a combination of access and culture. Urban Indians have access to the internet but this access is dominated by roman lettered keyboards. Technology has made it easier for a computer user to type in Devanagari, but the default is still Roman. Culturally, English is the dominant language of education in urban areas. Rural Indians use Hindi or their local language more, but this knowledge is often passive literacy, in which the speakers understand and can read the language but cannot write in it." It is in this context there is a need to strengthen the Hindi Wikipedia with enriching encyclopedic articles by encouraging and welcoming editors of this language. Educational videos such as this, an advanced and helpful phonetic keyboard and an in-built Wikipedia translation tool and dictionary can be some of the major initiatives which Wikimedia Foundation undertake to help the contributors greatly in this direction.

  1. Cultural and Education Outreach
  2. Wikis in Asia
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk


Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Yes, if Scholarship is approved.

Slides or further information (optional)

The proposed presenter has conceived and authored over 53 articles on the Hindi Wikipedia including conceiving and developing the entire category of articles related to State AIDS Control Societies in India on the Wikipedia. He has also contributed to/ edited several hundreds of articles on the Hindi Wikipedia and the the English Wikipedia. He is also a filemover, images-uploader, templates-translator and files-categorizer on Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. അമിർ എ. അഹരൊനി (talk) 20:36, 5 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:36, 1 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  3. [1] Patelurology2 (talk) 04:50, 20 April 2013 (UTC) Auto/machine translate be the preferred mode for any and all except few articles adopted by meagre resourcees that we have; see English Wikipedia page and write up regarding this subject. in a nut shell, this applies across all languages for translation from one to any other.Language barrier[reply]
  4. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:58, 24 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. CT Cooper · talk 00:16, 29 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Anthonyhcole (talk) 02:46, 4 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]