Managing multiple projects in WeSay

Our team is preparing to host a word collection workshop where we will have three language groups working simultaneously. The initial word collection will take place on paper, but at the end we will have two people working per language to type up the words and glosses collected.

As a person advising the project, I would like to check in on their progress. Is there an easy way to switch between projects in WeSay? Currently, as I’m testing, I can only open the first project.

Will there be any problem having two workers typing their wordlists on the same day and send-receiving changes daily? My plan is to have them work with lists from different semantic domains, so there should be no repeated words between the lists. If this method will cause tons of errors, then I would like to avoid that.

Side note: our original plan was to capture the digital version of the wordlist in a spreadsheet, but we thought WeSay might be a bit more user friendly to our teammates. However, we are finding it a bit more complicated to set up as administrators, since we are working in three languages at once. Our goal is to eventually move all the data to FLEx, so the export features from WeSay are a bonus.

WeSay wasn’t designed to be used for multiple projects on the same computer, so there isn’t an easy way to switch between the projects as you noticed. You have to use the config tool to open a different project each time you want to switch.

Have you considered using the Combine for a word collection workshop instead? It’s purpose built for this type of activity. See The Combine - SIL Language Technology - SIL Language Technology

Thanks for the input. Yes, Combine is next on my list to investigate!

Unfortunately for our context in Papua New Guinea, Combine is going to be less efficient for the structure of our workshop. Our typists will not be using the English semantic domains as the basis for data entry. Perhaps there is a way to add entries without a domain? A second issue we will run into is that each person typing will need a login to use the web app. So, I think we would have to set up emails for each of the 6 typists.

I think it’s an interesting app but it will probably need some localization of semantic domains to be used outside of an English-speaking context, as well as the challenge of having unique users without having to create email addresses (which admittedly is probably not an issue anywhere else but the deep bush of PNG).

We recently tried to use WeSay for teams to do remote word collection…and it was A MESS and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. The dead versions of WeSay fail to round-trip sync internally and create various other structural issues once you try to get the data out. If TheCombine isn’t for you, FLEx is your best option.

  • You can add entries manually if you don’t need prompts.
  • You could import an SFM wordlist with empty lexeme fields as a starting point.
    • \lx
      \ge cow
  • If you have custom SD prompts, you could probably create them alongside or in place of the existing semantic domains.

Lastly, you don’t need to have multiple users for TheCombine. I had 10 users across 5 projects share a single account with user access to their projects. I had a separate admin account for myself and each trainer.
I did the same for LanguageDepot.

Thanks for the feedback, Matthew! We are considering sticking to WeSay by using USB send-receive only, since we are also having trouble getting send-receive to set up properly using the internet server (LanguageDepot). You are right that we could totally just set up a text document with the SFM markers. My only thought in sticking to WeSay is that it potentially reduces the risk of one of the typists accidentally deleting the whole list with a bad keystroke or two.

Whatever we end up using, we want them to be able to do it once in a supervised environment, and then repeat it another time on their own later in the year.


How many users would you anticipate doing USB send/receive on the same project? USB send/receive doesn’t scale well as you add users. It requires coordination to intentionally sync each person with each other and conflicts can and do occur.