Supporting automatic translations of languages existing on wiki but not supported by google translate

This came to my mind when I saw @Iyumu wrote in Say hello!. What would be the feasible way to support languages that are on wiki - zh-min-nan for example but not supported by google translate? While interface translation can be solved following what @MPossoupe_WMF shared in How to translate the forum interface, what are the possible ways that can be incorporated going forward that community members can also leave comments in their own languages and still be understood by others?

Let’s collect which languages are these:




For context, here is the list of languages supported by Google Translate (109 languages).

  • You should be able to set a different translation language and Discourse interface language, in case your language is supported by Discourse (which is, in the end, self-serve) but not by Google, and there is some fallback language that’s helpful to you.
  • There should be an intelligible error message, or maybe the globe icon should be inactive, if your language is not supported.
  • The Discourse plugin should support multiple translation services. Some languages have better translators than Google (e.g. DeepL is better for the major languages). Maybe some languages don’t have Google but have something else.
  • Maybe there should be support for indirect language1 → English → language2 translation, when language 1 and language2 are provided by different services.

I had too much free time so I put together a support matrix for the existing translation APIs:


@Tgr wonderful matrix! Btw I want to mention that for Mandarin Chinese, to easily compare between different services, I would suggest to take out the general ZH column, and leave only ZH-Hans and ZH-Hant (Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese) - this should give us a good overview.

  • Deepl: only supports Chinese Simplified (ZH-Hans) when it is the target language. Therefore in reality I would consider it only supports ZH-Hans.

  • Google: it supports ZH-Hans and ZH-Hant essentially (despite it writes ZH-CN and ZH-TW).

  • Amazon: from the list I’ve also understood that it supports ZH-Hans and ZH-Hant as well (never use the translation from Amazon myself though).

  • Yandex: supports only ZH-Hans.


Note that besides the outage with the Google Translate API (which Google needs to fix), I would think that there is a bug in Discourse which doesn’t catch the 500 error and provide a more friendly and helpful error message.
I’ve reported that at Translation from Lugandan yields 500 error (in a different Discourse) - bug - Discourse Meta


I guess what would be especially helpful would be to have a plug that can connect to multiple APIs and thus combine the best of all translation engine worlds …

I might have said this already in another topic, but if this forum is consolidated and adding other translation engines is considered a priority, we could investigate the cost of adding this feature to the open-source Discourse plugin that we are using for automatic translation.


@AAkhmedova_WMF @Рөстәм_Нурыев Just to clarify. One thing is automatic translation support, and another is Forum interface support.

For the first, as of today, we rely on what Google offers and our influence on the list of languages supported is exactly zero. :person_shrugging: Here is the list of languages, and Bashkir is not supported. Having the Forum interface in Bashkir is perfectly possible following How to translate the forum interface.

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