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This page explains the Wiktionary treatment of "Translingual" entries. These are entries that have identical definitions in many languages. This generally occurs for terms that are not inflected. For simplicity, these terms have a single entry with a "Translingual" language header, and use the
mul language code. There is some disagreement about the criteria for make certain terms Translingual, though some agreement has been found on a variety of terms.
The range of use varies a bit between types of current Translingual entries. Chemical formulae, for instance, are used identically in practically all languages, whereas Han characters are not used natively outside of Asia. There is disagreement over whether "Translingual" should be restricted to only those entries used in all languages, or whether it is sufficient to have very similar usage in a large number of different languages. For entries of the second type, often the common information is explained in the Translingual entry, with individual language differences detailed in separate language sections.
This document does not supersede the WT:Criteria for inclusion, and entries must be attested. However these attestations can be in any language that meets WT:CFI. The following types of terms have been accepted as being Translingual.
- Chemical formulae (category) such as H₂O.
- taxonomic names (category) such as Escherichia coli
- Characters (e.g. 'a' and '1' and 克) that have the same definition in multiple languages.
- Mathematical symbols such as operators (e.g. +) and functions (e.g. min)
- Common punctuation such as &. Note, however, that this is not universal. For instance, '¿' is used primarily in Spanish.
- Miscellaneous symbols such as © and ♣.
- Place names such as Malta and Paris, as uniting these under a Translingual header would mean the loss of grammatical information for the individual languages concerned, such as gender and pronunciation.
- Italianate music terms such as lento and adagio. Again, uniting these under a Translingual header would mean the loss of grammatical information for the individual languages concerned, such as gender and pronunciation.
The classification of the following types of terms is under discussion.
- Translation sections. Usually only English sections are allowed to have translations, however many Translingual terms are used in English, so it seems logical to allow translations in Translingual. See Wiktionary:Translations for more information.
Since pronunciation varies by language, Translingual entries should not generally have pronunciations. For a small class of entries such as single letters, a pronunciation section is acceptable, such as at A#Translingual.