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Language Categorization

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The following page describes the process of working with language categories and editing the category hierarchy. See Categorization for an introduction and Category Creation and Removal for how to create them.


General Rules

Any category can exist in multiple languages. A fundamental style rule on WikiTree is to "use their conventions instead of ours," i.e. we should attempt to use the name that the person themselves would have known and used. For regional categorization, this means using the place name in the language and time in which the person lived instead of what is known now in English (e.g., Category:Deutschland instead of Category:Germany). However, since categories exist for our own organizational and navigational purposes, this requirement would make it harder for:

  • members to organize ongoing research,
  • those with a special interest find profiles they may want to investigate or collaborate on, and
  • help historians or genealogists researching a particular topic or location.

To combat this issue, WikiTree uses a process called Category Mirroring in which profiles attached to one category can be displayed in a language equivalent category. This process is performed through the use of Template:Aka.

For example, we can have Category:Germany (in the English category structure) and Category:Deutschland (in the German / Deutsch category structure).

To do this, You need to add the Aka template at the beginning of all categories representing the same category. The template has 2 unnamed parameters.

  • First one is the name of the base category. That is usually the English one, but can be also any other. Just make sure you use the same base category on all languages. Also try to be consistent in base language in related categories.
  • Second one is the two letter (ISO 639-1) language code of the category.

Example for English Category:Austria and German Category:Österreich categories:

  • On Austria category, you add in first line {{Aka|Austria|en}}
  • On Österreich you must add {{Aka|Austria|de}}

As you can see, only the language code changes.

Category Structure

Category:Categories is the top of the English language category hierarchy. In other languages, the top of the language category hierarchy will be Category:XXX, where XXX is whatever "Categories" is in that language (e.g., Category:Catégories in French or Category:Categorieën in Dutch). Using these top level language category as a starting point, you can browse through the subcategories, or search for a specific category.

Top- and Mid-level Language categories should always be linked to the correct language category parents. For instance, the English Category:New Brunswick would have a parent of the English Category:Canada, but not the French Category:Canada (fr).

The only exception to this rule is for landing-level categories of the same name in multiple languages. As an example, Category:Arras Memorial, Arras, Pas-de-Calais is named the same in both English and French. Instead of creating specific language categories to hold profiles (i.e., 'Arras Memorial, Arras, Pas-de-Calais (en)' and 'Arras Memorial, Arras, Pas-de-Calais (fr)'), this landing-level category can be linked to both English and French mid-level language parents, Category:Pas-de-Calais, Cimetières and Category:Pas-de-Calais, Cemeteries.

Languages with the same spelling

When a Category has the same spelling in more than one language, the category names should be followed by the two letter (ISO 639-1) language code in parenthesis. If there isn't a two letter code, use the three letter (ISO 639-2) language code. As an example:
Danish Dutch English French German Italian Spanish Swedish
Europa (da) Europa (nl) Europe (en) Europe (fr) Europa (de) Europa (it) Europa (es) Europa (sv)

Linking language categories

When a category exists in multiple languages, they should be linked to each other with the Aka template so that people can easily find the other available languages for a particular category. For example, Category:Categories has links at the top of the page to the same page in other languages:
Parallel category hierarchies in other languages (en): da | de | en | fr | nl|
The format for the Aka template is {{Aka|<base category name>|<language code>}}.
  1. <base category name> is typically the base category name in English; however, other languages can be used. If another language is used as the base category name, it will need to be consistent across all languages of that page, and consist across the related categories.
  2. <language code> is the the two letter ISO 639-1 code used to identify the language page you are on.
As an example, all language pages linking to Category:Categories use the English version as the base category, where:

Category Mirroring

When two categories are linked through the Aka template, profiles and pages connected one language category will automatically be displayed in the other language categories. As an example, see Category:Architects, which is linked with language categories in French (Category:Architectes) and Swedish (Category:Arkitekter) with the Aka Template. Any profile that is attached to one of these categories will now also be visible in the other language categories.

If you have questions, ask the Categorization Project by posting in G2G using the tag categorization.

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