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The English-speaking world tends to take Wikipedia for granted. The free internet encyclopedia, which is collaboratively edited in 287 languages and has more than 30 million articles. However, for speakers of more geographically limited languages, like Thai, Myanmar or Khmer, Wikipedia’s offerings are not as rich. While the Thai-language Wikipedia library’s 80,000-plus articles may sound like a lot, it dwarfs in comparison to the English site at 4.5 million articles.
As Thais go online at unprecedented rates, Wikipedia, as the go-to site for instant information, represents a key incentive to use the internet and offers a wealth of potential learning opportunities. But the relatively low volume of local-language articles may cause people to give up on searching for information, as topics are often unavailable in Thai.
dtac is changing this. In partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation and the Thai Wikimedia community, dtac is kick-starting a comprehensive translation campaign in order to boost the quality and quantity of information written in Thai on the World Wide Web, and on Wikipedia in particular. Under the ‘Internet For All’ vision, this campaign aims to enhance knowledge in the Thai society at large, while at the same time giving employees an opportunity to practice their English.
Reducing the gap
“The reason that we mainly focus on translations is because of the fact that there are more than 4 million English articles in Wikipedia while there are only 86,000 in Thai. This is a huge gap, and is the main reason why this project was launched,” explains Jon Eddy Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer in dtac.
“The more we increase the number of Thai articles, the more we can help the people of Thailand to expand their knowledge base. In addition, working in partnership with a renowned non-profit organization such as the Wikimedia Foundation is an excellent way to share knowledge, to combine resources and make a difference in the communities where we live and work,” Abdullah said.
The Wikipedia partnership is facilitated by Telenor Digital
“The collaboration between the local Wikimedia community and dtac is really exciting and inspiring. This is sentiment to our work pioneering partnerships with leading Internet companies. These initiatives really contribute to our ambition of empowering societies and providing Internet for all,” says Karianne Melleby, VP, Head of Global Partnerships, Telenor Digital.
dtac is activating a horde of content writers and translators, trained by the Thai Wikimedia community, believing that together, 5,000 employee volunteers can begin to make significant progress in building up the Thai-language Wikipedia’s base of articles.
“Volunteering is a great way for our employees to share their skills and expertise with worthwhile initiatives. Through this program, we anticipate that more than 500 employees will participate and contribute 10,000 hours in order to create more than 5,000 Thai articles. We’re aiming high, but we’re sure we’ll get there,” added Abdullah.