Help:Interlanguage links

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Interlanguage links are links from a page in one Wikipedia language to an equivalent page in another language. These links can appear in two places:

  1. In the "Languages" list – a sidebar that appears on the left side (default position) of the current page.
  2. Inline, in the text of a page.

These two types of links are created and handled differently and are discussed in different sections below.

The list of links

Pages on Wikipedia can have a list of equivalent pages in other languages. For example, the Irish Wikipedia has a page on Ireland titled "Éire", so the English Wikipedia article on Ireland will link to the Irish one, and vice versa. For most people this list is shown on the left of the page, but this can be changed by changing the skin the site uses. This list is maintained in two places, Wikidata and the text of the page itself.


The link to edit the Wikidata page

Wikidata is a separate project to create a collaboratively edited knowledge base. Part of this project is to centralize the interlanguage links for all the Wikipedia projects. The Wikidata entry for a page contains (among other things) a list of links for that entry in different languages. This list of links is then used for the list shown on the page in Wikipedia.

Adding a new link

At the bottom of the Wikidata language list, notated 'Languages', there is a link labelled 'Edit links'. Clicking on this will reveal a new page:

  • scroll down to the box marked 'Wikipedia' and click on 'edit' at the top of that box
  • click on the greyed-out 'wiki' field, the final item on the list, and enter a language code – for example, for Irish use the code "ga"
  • click on the greyed-out 'page' field (now visible) and type in the name of the article as it appears in that language's Wikipedia
  • click on 'save' at the top of the box

If you get an error message like "Site link ... is already used by item Q....", this means that there is already an item in Wikidata pointing to the article you are trying to link to. Wikidata does not allow more than one item to point to a single article in a Wikipedia. There are then two cases:

  • either the two items really are the same, and should be merged: see d:Help:Merge, or
  • the scope of the two items is not in fact the same (typically, the article in one language is wider in scope than the article in the other language) and they should not be linked

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in Wikidata at present for linking articles that are related, but different in a scope – it is possible to do this with local links however.

Finding interlanguage links for an article

There are many ways Wikipedia articles of another language can be found. These include translating the article's title and its synonyms to other languages and searching for them on the respective language-versions of Wikipedia or on Google, Googling for articletitle (for non-English Wikipedia articles), checking the other language versions of related or superordinate articles and checking the other language versions of the article's categories.

Editing a link

To edit an entry on Wikidata, click on the edit link next to the entry you wish to edit. A textbox will appear allowing you to edit the entry. Click on save when you are done.

Removing a link

You can remove a page from the list of Wikidata's links. To do so click edit, then click on the remove link.

Local links

Before Wikidata, interlanguage links had to be recorded in the text of the page itself. The problem with this approach was that each language had to maintain its own separate lists. So for example, if the name of a page on the English Wikipedia changed, then each language that linked to that page would have to separately notice this fact and then change their own links.

For most pages, these links are no longer needed and can be safely removed, but you should verify that the local list and the Wikidata lists match before doing so. There is an automated tool to help with that.

The local links do however still serve some purposes:

  • They override the information that comes from Wikidata.
  • They are required if more than one article (or redirect) in one language should point to a target article in another language.
  • They are required in order to explicitly link to or from redirects. This can be used to level semantical or organizational differences between articles in different Wikipedias so that the links can go to the exact equivalent term in another language rather than to an article with a somewhat different scope or only related topic.
  • They are required in order to link to sections of articles. For example, corresponding to the English article Spot welding, in Italian there is only a section rather than a full article, so Spot welding includes the local link [[it:Saldatura#Saldatura a punti]].
  • They are required for pages that are not allowed on Wikidata, such as your userpage.


The local interlanguage links take the following form:

[[language code:Title]]

where the language code is the two-letter code as per ISO 639-1. (See Complete list of language Wikipedias available. English is "en", German is "de", etc.) So for example in the English language article on Plankton, which is available on many other wikis, the interlanguage links might look like this:


NOTE: These links are treated specially, and don't show up in the body of the text, but in a special sidebar section "Languages" listed by language name. They can go anywhere in the article source as their placement does not alter the visual appearance of the links on the rendered page except for the order. However, the convention is to put them at the bottom of the page. Remember, you only need these type links if you are overriding the information from Wikidata, otherwise you should edit the links on the Wikidata entry.

Featured articles and good articles

Featured or good articles are represented via Wikidata.

Inline links


Links between English Wikipedia pages and corresponding pages in the Wikipedias of other languages are handled via Wikidata; they are displayed in the "Languages" bar to the left of the article. To include, in some article, a link to a topic that is not covered by an article on the English Wikipedia but that does have a page in another language version of Wikipedia, there are three possible approaches:

  1. Use a red link pointing to a possible future article on the English Wikipedia;
  2. Use an interlanguage link pointing to the existing article on the other Wikipedia, as described in the next section;
  3. Use {{ill}} to show both a redlink and an interlanguage link that will be hidden should the redlink turn blue.

The advantage of the first approach is that the red link informs readers that the page does not exist locally, thus inviting its creation, and avoiding directing readers to a page that many of them will not understand. The disadvantage is that it conceals the existence of the foreign-language page, which might in itself be of interest to some readers, and may also be valuable to anyone wishing to create a corresponding English Wikipedia article.

It is sometimes possible to combine the two approaches, giving a local red link in addition to an interlanguage link explicitly marked as such. For example: "...the plans were drawn up by German architect Hans Knoblauch (de)..." is coded as [[Hans Knoblauch]] ([[:de:Hans Knoblauch|de]]) The template {{ill}} was designed to assist this combined approach.

If a red link is not appropriate locally for whatever reason, such as because the subject does not appear to be notable, then linking a page in another language may be useful.

Interlanguage links may also be useful outside of the mainspace for convenience, such as from one's userpage to a page frequently visited or that like-minded visitors might want to go to.


You can create a clickable link that will be visible in your text by adding a colon before and after the language abbreviation:

[[:fr:Jeux olympiques]] or [[:ja:東京都]]

These links look like this: fr:Jeux olympiques or ja:東京都. The language abbreviation is displayed, so the reader knows that they are links to the French article on the Olympic Games and the Japanese article on Tokyo.

But if you wish you can use the pipe to show only the title:

[[:fr:Jeux olympiques|Jeux olympiques]] or [[:ja:東京都|東京都]]

Which would look like this in your text: Jeux olympiques or 東京都

You can also use the pipe trick to simplify this to: [[:fr:Jeux olympiques|]].
This gives the same result: a link to Jeux olympiques on the French Wikipedia.

To link to a namespace other than the main article namespace, add the namespace after the language abbreviation. For example, the page for general discussions on the Japanese Wikipedia is located in the Wikipedia namespace. You can link to it as follows:

[[:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端]] or [[:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端|Wikipedia:井戸端]]
  • On Talk pages and on Meta, you can omit the leading colon. An interlanguage link like [[fr:Jeux olympiques]] will appear inline in the text, like a regular link.
  • An inline link to a Wiktionary entry, such as [[wikt:model|]], can be directed to another language's Wiktionary like so: [[wikt:fr:modèle|]].

Links to pages that do not exist

On the English Wikipedia, links to pages that do not exist are displayed in a different color (usually red). But this check is not performed for links to pages on another wiki (including other Wikimedia Foundation sites). Unlike internal links, these links do not indicate whether the target page exists or not.[1] If the target page does not exist, the link leads a message on the target wiki informing you that the page does not exist and inviting you to create it.

If you find interlanguage links to non-existent pages on the English Wikipedia, they may be deleted as having no content. Alternatively, you can create at least a stub page on the target wiki before adding an interlanguage link to it. Later, interested people can complete the rest of the page.

Note: if the language prefix is wrong, it is considered to be part of the name of a page on the English Wikipedia. This page will probably not exist, so the link will be displayed in red.

Linking with external links

You can also link to Wikipedia pages in other languages by using external links, in the same way as linking to other sites on the Internet. This method should not be used in the body of an article, but it may be useful on User pages or Talk pages. For example, this method can be used to link to diff pages that show the editing history of a page on another Wikipedia.

The following code:

Tokyo 2020 was added to the French page on the Olympics in [// this diff].

renders as:

Tokyo 2020 was added to the French page on the Olympics in this diff.

Templates {{Cross-wiki language diff}} and {{Cross-wiki language free diff}} are also available to construct diffs for other languages and projects, as is the special-page term :Diff/: [[:fr:Special:Diff/96480208]] will show the same diff as above.

See also


  1. ^ Bug 11

External links

  • meta:Help:Interwiki linking
  • meta:Interlanguage links for details on linking different languages on Meta.
  • Wiktionary:Interlanguage links
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