Wiki:Babel templates

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This page provides the framework for displaying the language ability of users on their user page. It helps users communicate by listing the languages the user can understand and their proficiency.

Census in Babel

Not every user of OpenStreetMap speaks the same language. To help with communication, users can categorize themselves into different language categories on their user page. Example language groups are: en for English, de for German, and so on. Additionally, users can specify their level of proficiency in the language.

  • "0" may be used to indicate the absence of knowledge, i.e. the impossibility to contribute directly in that language, and no understanding when reading, without using tools to get some approximative translation.
  • "1" stands for basic knowledge, i.e. the ability to understand and answer simple questions in the language, possibly with help of dictionaries for some terms.
  • "2" stands for intermediate knowledge, i.e. a level comparable to children speaking their native language and understand most questions and express opinions. Lexical knowledge may be limited in advanced or foreign concepts, and ambiguities may subsist.
  • "3" stands for advanced or fluent knowledge, i.e. the ability to correct many spelling and grammar errors in the language, not necessarily with the best lexical knowledge for advanced terms but reasonably understood by native and non-native speakers, even if written texts may still be improved. This level is enough to contribute to documentations and provide help to others speaking the language, including to native speakers. There may still be uncorrected grammatical errors or approximations.
  • "4" stands for near-native knowledge, i.e. the ability to read and write as an alternate language frequently used, with good understanding and few minor corrections needed. This is a level for a foreign language learnt at school and with qualifications, but with limited live practice in daily life except in some specialized domains. There may be some lexical confusions caused by another native language more often used, and limited knowledge of the semantic scope of terms (e.g. no knowledge of popular vernacular terms, or unawareness to some slang usages).
  • Category without number stands for most 1st language speakers (so-called mother tongue), using a simple popular vernacular style (ability to initiate and follow most discussions and give opinions) but possibly a style not understood by all speakers of the language (e.g. when this includes regionalisms) or written text may require some contextual disambiguation. May still require corrections, but usually no confusion on the intended meaning. you may also indicate "N" which stands for "native" knowledge. It is still not necessarily the best professional style.
  • "5" stands for professional knowledge, i.e. ability to publish reliable texts with almost no errors and lexical accuracy, avoiding ambiguities and in a clear style with little corrections necessary (this is a more advanced level than native knowledge, and may include the knowledge of specific terms in some technical domains, and mastering grammatical rules and best linguistic recommendations, including the capability of adapting the language to remote locutors). This level may require having some basic knowledge of other foreign languages to explain things to adapt the terminology, and the capability of summarizing concepts and reexplain them differently with a rich vocabulary and advanced grammatical constructs, including with subtle or abstract meanings, and to find stylistic alternatives for their own speech within some constraints. Very few users have this level of expertise.

For example, de-1 refers to a user with basic skills in German, and en-3 refers to a user with advanced skills in English. The two-letter language code is the two-letter code as described in ISO 639. (See List of Wikipedias).

Here is a sample of template usage:

Babel user information
hu-N Ennek a szerkesztőnek magyar az anyanyelve.
en-3 This user has advanced knowledge of English.
Users by language

To draw the box above you write as the below:


You can use one or more languages, up to 10 (if you need more, well well).

Using language skill boxes offers another advantage; in case you have an advanced or native language skill level in at least two different languages, you will be sorted into a category combining these two languages. Thus, it is easier to find out if there are users with skills in a specific language combination. (see also: Multilingual_users)

How to add your language level to your user page

  • 1:Select your language(s) and level, e.g. you speak English fluently (en-3) and basic Spanish (es-1)
  • 2:Add the matching templates {{user en-3}} and {{user es-1}} to the end of your user page.

Your user page is now listed in the Category:user en-3 and Category:user en for English, Category:user es-1 and Category:user es for Spanish, all of which are subcategories of Category:Users.

Language codes

af an ar ast ay bg bn br ca crh cs cy da de dsb el en eo es et fa fi fr fur fy grc he hi hr hsb id is it ja ko la lb lv mi ms nan nl no oc pl pt qu ro ru scn sk sl sq sr sv th tr uk vi yue zh zh-hans zh-hant

Categories and templates

Here a sample list of categories and templates needed. The order of creation is important:

  1. Create the main category without any level suffix. Then for each language level:
  2. Create the template for your language level. If you want to create the level 0 knowledge, you may display the message in English rather than the target language.
  3. Create the associated subcategory for that level.

(Add your language here if it isn't in the following list)