Wikipedia’s first edit was in January 2001. In its early days, Wikipedia only existed in English—but that didn’t last for long. By March, there was Japanese, Catalan, and German. By May, eleven more, including Hebrew, Arabic, and Hungarian. At the end of 2001, Wikipedia had 20,000 articles and 18 language versions.
Today, most Wikipedia articles are in languages other than English—87% to be exact. From Abkhaz to Zulu, along with 281 more. We strongly believe that language should not be a barrier to good information, and that knowledge should be available to all people in the language of their choice.
One effective way people contribute important information to Wikipedia is by translating content between languages. Using tools developed by the Wikimedia Language team, volunteers can quickly build articles by using existing pages in other languages as their guide. By July 2016, volunteer translators worked their way through 100,000 articles.
The Medical Translation Project is one effort that is successfully using the translation tool to expand its coverage of essential health content in many languages. Its volunteers have observed 17% improved productivity in the efforts taken to coordinate and complete translations, helping improve the distribution of critical medical information around the world.