Interlanguage links are links from any page (most notably articles) in one Wikipedia language to the same subject in another Wikipedia language, between language versions of Wiktionary, and the same within Wikisource, Wikiquote, and Wikibooks.
The interlanguage link feature works also on Commons, and produces links to the Wikipedias. This is not reciprocal: a link from a Wikipedia to Commons is an in-page link.
They appear at one or two edges of the webpage (in Monobook on the left, in Classic at the top and bottom) after Other languages:, and show the names of languages for which a link is available. Interlanguage links look like external links (or different, depending on CSS), but the syntax is more like internal links. They are a form of interwiki links. See m:Meta:Interlanguage links for details on linking different languages on Meta.
The 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 article on Plankton, which is available on a lot of other wikis, the interlanguage links would look like this:
- [[de:Plankton]] [[en:Plankton]] [[et:Plankton]] [[es:Plancton]] [[fr:Plancton]] [[nl:Plankton]] [[ja:プランクトン]] [[pl:Plankton]] [[ru:Планктон]] [[simple:Plankton]] [[zh:浮游生物界]]
These links are treated specially, and don't show up in the body of the text, but in a special sidebar section "in other languages" listed by language name. They used to be placed at the top; however, this was somewhat problematic — it added excess whitespace to the top, was confusing for newbie editors, and the links often showed up in search results where one would have preferred to see body text. For this reason, it is required to put the language links in a sidebar. They can go anywhere in the article source; placement does not alter the visual appearance of the links on the rendered page except for the order.
(You should not include the link to the language you're writing in.)
To create an inline link (a clickable link within the text), see the section Inline interlanguage links below.
In the past the Chinese Wikipedia had two versions of many articles written in Simplified and Traditional script. Nowadays the conversion between the scripts is made automatically, so there is no need for linking script-specific versions of articles. Please take a few moments to read Wikipedia:Chinese interlanguage links to avoid unnecessary extra work.
For a few other Wikipedia languages, there are lists of pages where links may be needed. For example, the English article may have a Spanish link, but the corresponding Spanish article might be missing a link to English. Lists to work on include:
- Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/Dutch
- Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/Esperanto
- Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/French
- Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/German
- Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/Polish
- Wikipedia:Interlanguage links/Spanish
- If you also work on a Wikipedia in another language, you might want to keep track of new pages there and check for English articles on the same subjects, so you can add a link there from here.
- If you create a link to a Wikipedia that also has the interlanguage links available, please create a back-link in the other direction as well. It would also be good to copy any other interlanguage links on the two pages.
Ordinary interlanguage links are only suitable for linking to a corresponding page in another language. However, if a topic does not have its own page in the English Wikipedia, but has in another language version of Wikipedia, then linking to that is useful, from a page that mentions the topic, and/or covers a more general topic. For example, Movie theaters in the Netherlands links inline to nl:Tuschinski Theater, because there is no article Tuschinski Theater yet (it is currently a redirect). This stimulates and facilitates people to write or translate the article, after which the interlanguage link can be replaced by a link to the new article. However, this kind of linking should only be used when the topic is relevant to that language (i.e. do not link to a page about light bulbs when the article doesn't exist in English, but do link "Sigmund Freud" to the German language Wikipedia if the article didn't exist in English).
Also you may link for convenience from your userpage to a page you visit frequently or that like-minded visitors might want to go to.
You can create a clickable link that will be visible in the text by adding a colon before the language abbreviation:
- [[:fr:Littérature française au XVIIIe siècle]] or [[:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端]]
You can use the pipe to show only the title:
- [[:fr:Littérature française au XVIIIe siècle|]] or [[:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端|]]
- Interlanguage links in Talk pages and on Meta will appear inline in the text, like regular links, so you can cite other pages in discussion.
- In normal articles, an inline link can be made by prefixing an extra colon as explained above, which is the method that should be used for linking to an article in another language which is not the corresponding article.
- An inline link to a Wiktionary entry, normally [[wikt:Juice|]], can be directed to another language's Wiktionary like so: [[wikt:fr:Jus|]].
- Note that the syntax for interlanguage links differs slightly from that for linking to pages on other wikis, this concept being called InterWiki link.
- The full interwiki prefixes that can be used from many wikis are :en (Example: [[:en:InterWiki]] (formerly [[WikiPedia:InterWiki]]) to directly link to the English version and MetaWikiPedia (note the capitals!).
- Within Wikimedia you can also use "m" instead of MetaWikiPedia, and wiktionary and wikibooks (not wikiquote or wikisource).
Links to pages that do not exist
Links to pages on another wiki (including other Wikimedia Foundation sites) are coloured differently from links within the English Wikipedia. Unlike internal links, these links do not indicate whether the target page exists or not. If the target page does not exist, the link will take you to a blank page that has no content. This indicates that an article about the subject has not yet been written in the language concerned.
If you find blank interlanguage links on the English Wikipedia, they may be deleted as having no content or you can comment them out. It is strongly recommended that you create at least a stub page before adding interlanguage links to it. Later, interested people can translate the rest of the page content from the original language to the new one for which the link was made.
Note: if the language prefix is wrong it is considered part of the name of a page on the same wiki. Such an error is clear from how the link looks: as an internal link to a page that does or does not exist.
New articles should be sorted alphabetically based on local language as described at m:Interwiki sorting order. The vast majority of articles are currently sorted this way. Sorting alphabetically according to the two-letter language abbreviations is also acceptable. There are numerous other sorting methods to sort interlanguage links, but consistency between articles in encouraged.
- Use the regular external link syntax (see Wikipedia:How to edit a page) in the following cases:
- linking from languages for which the feature is not yet available;
- if you want to specify a text in the link in addition to the language, for example if the subjects of the articles do not quite correspond.
- meta:Help:Interwiki linking
- Wikipedia:InterWikimedia links
- Wiktionary:Interlanguage links
- Help:Contents/Links has links to articles about all types of Wikimedia links.
- This very useful tool for doing interwikis
- The Interwiki-Link-Checker, semi-automatic addition of Interwiki links for articles with the same name
- Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects
- commons:Template talk:Siblinglinks