Wikimedia the parent company of Wikipedia says it will be looking to provide editors with resources and insights to create articles across ten languages in Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Mexico, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The company announced on Tuesday at the ongoing World Economic Forum that it has secured a $3.1 million funding from Google. $1.1 million goes to Wikimedia Foundation to help strengthen and support Wikipedia and its mission for generations to come while $2 million goes to the Wikimedia Endowment. The endowment provides dedicated funding to realise the power and promise of Wikipedia and its sister projects.
The two companies – Wikimedia and Google – will also collaborate on a set of initiatives to support a shared commitment of making information more accessible to more people around the world.
Both companies have been in a similar partnership in 2017 when Project Tiger was launched, an initiative to support editors in expanding and improving articles in underrepresented languages on Wikipedia. That partnership saw Google providing Chromebooks and internet access to support volunteer editors with content creation as well as insights into popular search topics on Google for which no or limited local language content exists on Wikipedia.
Wikimedia’s Chief Advancement Officer, Lisa Gruwell disclosed that following positive feedbacks, Project Tiger will now be rebranded into what it calls GLOW program, from Growing Local Language Content on Wikipedia. To create the ten new languages, the company will work with Wikimedia affiliates and volunteers in India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Nigeria.
Ben Gomes, Google’s SVP of Search, News and Assistant, and Jacqueline Fuller, President of Google.org revealed that much of the funding was contributed by Google employees.
“As the next billion people come online, it’s critical that the content on the web reflect the diversity of its users,” Gomes and Fuller wrote in a blog post, “Currently, he web is lacking content in many local languages and thus restricts the information that people can access.”
By collaborating on programs such as GLOW, the Google employees said they hope to bridge the gap and empower local editors to serve their communities with relevant content in their native languages.
Earlier in January, Wikimedia unveiled an update to Wikipedia’s content translation tool which has been used to translate more than 400,000 articles across different language versions of Wikipedia. Gruwell explained that the tool uses automated translation to produce an initial translation of Wikipedia article editors can then review, edit, and improve in another language.
“Now, the tool offers Google Translate as one of the machine translation options,” Gruwell said. “Integrating Google Translate into the content translation tool on Wikipedia has been long-requested by volunteer editor communities.”