Making Wikimania 2021 inclusive and accessible: Our language and timezone approach

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Update: Since writing this post the Core Organizing team has updated the language approach for Wikimania 2021.

With Wikimania 2021 being a global virtual event we have a great opportunity to deeply consider the language and timezones of participants. With in-person events we’re limited to accommodating a single time-zone (and the jetlag that comes with it) and generally a very small number of languages. This year we will have sessions that are both live and pre-recorded and available with interpretation or translation. Read on to learn about the approach we are taking and how the submissions will be supported.


In the past, Wikimania catered to an English speaking audience only. However, we want to enable more people from our movement to be able to access Wikimania in a language they feel comfortable in and we are experimenting with new approaches. We recognize that we will not be able to accommodate every single person and community, and have learned from the Movement Strategy events how important language accessibility is. 

So for all sessions delivered live in English, the Wikimedia Foundation will provide live translation into Arabic, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Mandarin to enable a bigger audience to join and participate freely. We will also provide closed captioning in English for all pre-recorded sessions.


In order for all session reviewers to be able to read through submissions, and accurately be able to review, we ask for all submissions to be in English. Refer to the below for how you are able to present your session. 

Live sessions – We will offer simultaneous interpretation and closed captioning if you are presenting in English to the following languages: German, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin. We will be sharing more details closer to the event. If you would like to present in a language other than English, it can be done through a pre-recorded session.

Pre-recorded sessions –  can be presented in any language you would like. Please note, however, that you will have to provide a transcription to English if your session is in any other language than English. This will enable us to add closed captions in English to your session so that a wider audience can access it.

Please refer to the table below for a visualization of our approach.

Live in EnglishPre-recorded in EnglishPre-recorded in other language
We (i.e. the organisers) provide:
Live audio translation to:
– Arabic
– French
– German
– Mandarin
– Russian
– Spanish
YESYESNot Available
We (i.e. the organisers) provide:
Closed captioning in English
You (i.e. the presenter) provide:
Transcription in English

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