link={{{imglink}}} This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. This is a draft proposal. It is unofficial, and it is unknown whether it is widely accepted by Wiktionary editors.
Policies – Entries: CFI - EL - NORM - NPOV - QUOTE - REDIR - DELETE. Languages: LT - AXX. Others: BLOCK - BOTS - VOTES.

This describes how to handle foreign translations of English words in the English Wiktionary. It is an extension of Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • If you are uncertain about a translation, replace {{t|...}} with {{t-check|...}} or {{t+|...}} with {{t+check|...}}, so that a native speaker or expert translator can check the translation.
  • Never rely on automatic translation software to generate translations into a language you don’t speak. Translation software rarely gives accurate results.
  • Do not copy from translating dictionaries (bilingual or multilingual) as this may constitute copyright violation. This applies to dictionaries both in print form and online. Dictionaries that are out of copyright may be used.
  • Similarly, do not blindly copy from Wikipedia (e.g. by checking the page-names on foreign-language Wikipedias). Some Wikipedia articles may provide the only “attestation” of a certain term in a given language, and Wikipedia is not a valid source of attestations for Wiktionary. This sometimes yields especially egregious and anachronistic results with Wikipedias in dead languages such as Old English, Latin or Gothic, for which neologisms have been invented by Wikipedians eager to find words to describe modern concepts. Such terms generally do not meet our attestation policy, clashing with the fact that words added to translation tables are subject to attestation requirements as well.

Project scope

Translation tables are to be given for English words only. In entries for foreign (i.e. non-English-language) words, an English translation is given instead of a definition. Translation between two foreign languages is handled on the Wiktionaries in those languages. For example, a reader who wants to translate a Hindi word to Japanese should have some command of either language and look in the Hindi or Japanese Wiktionary.

English inflected forms will not have translations. For example, paints will not, as it is the plural and third-person singular of paint. In such entries as have additional meanings, these additional meanings should have translations. For example, the noun building should have translations, but the present participle of build will not.


Each “Translations” section is nested within a part of speech header. For example, in a ===Noun=== section, the translations section begins with the heading ====Translations====.

The translations are separated into divisions for each sense of the English headword. {{trans-top}} creates a collapsible navigation box whose heading shows a summary of the translated sense (if not provided, only shows “translations” by default). For entries with only a single sense, adding a translation heading is of little use. For entries with multiple senses, including topical labels in the heading (in plain text, not by using {{lb}}) besides the glosses can greatly increase navigability and is thus advised.

Within each box for a translated sense, the languages for which translations exist are listed in two columns by their English names in alphabetical order. {{trans-mid}} is used halfway down. When the columns are uneven, they can be rebalanced using WT:EDIT or by bot.

{{trans-bottom}} is used on the line after the last translation.

You can copy and paste the next code in the entry:

{{trans-top|translation gloss}}

Here’s an example for a word with a noun and a verb definition. Other sections may be included. The order of these sections is explained in Wiktionary:Entry layout and Wiktionary:English entry guidelines. The order of the translation boxes should correspond to the order of the senses.



# [[first|First]] [[definition]].
# Second definition.

{{trans-top|first definition}}
* Abkhaz: {{t|ab|example 1}}
* Afar: {{t|aa|example 2}}

{{trans-top|second definition}}


# Third definition.

{{trans-top|third definition}}


Reducing the number of redundant translation boxes is strongly recommended. In the case of perfect synonyms like capital and capital city, the template {{trans-see}} shall be used without exception. For close synonyms, it should be decided on a case-by-case basis whether {{trans-see}} or {{trans-top-also}} is more appropriate; see for instance vapor.

In cases where both an English term and its abbreviation exist as standalone articles on Wiktionary (as is the case for for instance artificial intelligence and AI), abbreviations of the translations of the unabbreviated English term are not eligible as translations of the unabbreviated English term and vice versa; as an example, German KI (initialism of künstliche Intelligenz (artificial intelligence)) belongs in the translation box of AI and is not allowed as a translation of artificial intelligence.

Which translations to add

Only lemma forms are eligible as translations because including all inflected forms in the translation table would render them almost unnavigable. Consequently, adjectives typically shouldn't be labeled with their grammatical gender even in languages that decline adjectives. Possible exceptions to the first rule are proper nouns that cannot be attested in their lemmatized form and phrases that grammatically don't allow lemmatization. In a similar vein, instead of inventing unattestable protologisms, the template {{no equivalent translation}} or {{not used}} should be employed. If there are multiple paraphrases in the target language for an English term but no direct translations, one such paraphrase may be provided after {{no equivalent translation}}. However, if there is only one idiomatic way to express the idea that is conveyed by the English term even be it a paraphrase, it may be added directly without the use of this template.

Many translation boxes have a header that summarizes the key points of the corresponding sense's definition. However, it is usually not sufficiently precise to base one's translation solely on it, instead the whole sense definition has to be yielded consideration, especially the sense's labels. A good test in general is to (in one's mind) translate an English sentence where the word occurs in the right sense and see which target language terms best correspond to it.

The aim of translation boxes is to provide as precise as possible translations and not as many as possible. If a term already has a perfectly fitting translation in a target language, then adding more terms that are merely semantically related but not synonymous in the target language is heavily discouraged, especially if the English term with a parallel semantic relation already has its own entry.

How to add translations

Using the "Add translation button"

In addition to the VisualEditor (which is accessed at “Preferences” under “Editing”), you can add translations in a visual way, employing the “Add translation table button” in the Translations section.

After clicking in the “show” element (generated by the {{trans-top}} template), you should see a line at the end of the table something like

  • Add translation         :                       Preview translation More
    ◻ masc. ◻ masc. pl. ◻ fem. ◻ fem. pl.
  • The first box is the ISO 639-1 or ISO 639-3 language code (for common languages, you can put in the language name, and it will give you the code).
  • The second box is the translation to add. This should normally be one word, if you attempt to add many separated by commas you will get a warning. If you want to request a translation set the word to {{t-needed}}.
  • The second line contains gender check boxes, normally only one should be ticked. Though occasionally more are needed. The gender tick-boxes are normally only needed for nouns, “common gender” tends to be used for languages where male and female have combined into one class, whereas “neuter” is a separate gender that is neither male or female.
  • Clicking “More” opens the extra options (really intended only for advanced users)
  • Clicking “Preview translation” will try to make the edit, and display the “Save changes”, “undo” and “redo” page buttons in the top left. You can click in the “Save changes” button to store the translation or click in the “X” to cancel.

Editing the source

In wikitext, for each translation into a foreign language, the language name is preceded by a bullet (generated by *) followed by a colon (:) and the translations into that language, each linked to the main entry for the foreign term in the English Wiktionary (blue link if entry already exists; red link if it doesn’t). Special language names such as those of regional languages, dialects and recognised artificial languages may be wikified (i.e. linked to the language definition page), but in general, language names are not to be wikified.

  • Use {{t+}} with an ISO 639-1 or ISO 639-3 language code to create a link to the English Wiktionary entry for the foreign word and a link to its entry in the Wiktionary of the target language:
    * Esperanto: {{t+|eo|vorto}}
  • If the foreign term uses a script other than the Latin (roman) alphabet, indicate the script with sc= and the Latin (Roman) transliteration with tr=, Japanese kanji may also have the reading indicated with hiragana:
    * Japanese: {{t+|ja|sc=Jpan|言葉|tr=ことば, kotoba}}
  • If the foreign term has a grammatical gender, specify it:
    * Latin: {{t+|la|verbum|n}}
  • To specify the pronunciation, detailed grammatical information, usage notes, or literal translations of idioms back into English, use the foreign term’s entry rather than the English term’s Translations section. For example, when translating bell bottoms into French, do not follow this with the literal translation back into English of “elephant’s feet”:
  • German translation of “none of your beeswax”:
  • If the translation there is more than one translation option, give a concise English explanation of the options with full translations for each rather than abbreviations. For example, for ankle, an abbreviation such as *(Fuß-) Knöchel is not recommended, as it is liable to be misunderstood. Rather:
  • If you are uncertain about a given translation, replace {{t|...}} by {{t-check|...}} or {{t+|...}} by {{t+check|...}} so a native speaker or expert translator can check the translation.
  • Where no idiomatic translation exists, a translation may be given as separate, square bracketed links instead of using the {{t+}} templates.
  • Nestling translations under other translations is achieved using the wikisyntax *:. Nestling is done for languages that are considered subclasses of another language, such as Old French and Middle French being listed under French.


Here is an example (a shortened version of the entry for orange) illustrating some of the conventions:


# The [[fruit]] of the [[orange tree]].
# The [[reddish]]-[[yellow]] [[colour]] of an orange.

{{trans-top|fruit of the orange tree}}
* French: {{t|fr|orange|f}}
* German: {{t|de|Orange|f}}
* Japanese: {{t|ja|オレンジ|tr=orenji}}
* Russian: {{t|ru|апельси́н|m}}
* Serbo-Croatian:
*: Cyrillic: {{t|sh|наранџа|f|sc=Cyrl}}, {{t|sh|поморанџа|f|sc=Cyrl}}
*: Latin: {{t|sh|narandža|f|sc=Latn}}, {{t|sh|pomorandža|f|sc=Latn}}

{{trans-top|colour of an orange}}
* German: {{t|de|Orange|n}}
* Hebrew: {{t|he|כתום|tr=katom|sc=Hebr}}
* Latvian: [[oranžs]]

That produces:


orange (plural oranges)

  1. The fruit of the orange tree.
  2. The reddish-yellow colour of an orange.

Translations to be checked

If it is not clear which sense applies to a given translation, create a “Translations to be checked” table with the set {{checktrans-top}}, {{trans-mid}} and {{trans-bottom}}:

<!--Remove this table once all of the translations below have been moved into the tables above.-->
* Spanish: {{t-check|es|palabra|f}}
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

The -mid template is not required, however it is useful for longer translation tables to divide the content into two columns

The header =====Translations to be checked===== is not needed, and should not be used, this table immediately follows the others in the Translations section.

Cut-‛n’-paste template


After creating the section or putting the trans templates, you can add translations using the “Add translation table button”:

  • Add translation         :                       Preview translation More
    ◻ masc. ◻ masc. pl. ◻ fem. ◻ fem. pl.

See also