“What are your thoughts on multimedia?” I asked as we drove down the highway.
“Multimedia?” he queried. “What multimedia?”
“All of it,” I said.
“What isn’t multimedia?” he responded rhetorically, casting a furtive glance down at his smartphone.
And indeed, at this point in history, multimedia is virtually assumed — in every sense of the phrase. When I met one of our authors for this issue, Jeff Edwards, he was talking about Cherokee. And in talking about Cherokee, he was talking about the multimedia applications of it. Not by design, but because that’s the state of translation, even for endangered languages. When you talk about endangered languages, you talk about how they work on smartphones, on popular apps and websites; you share videos and images.
This is true, of course, with all languages. Unless there is some kind of seismic technological shift in the future, in order for any language to survive and thrive in a global world, it will need to be multimedia-ready. By extension, businesses that want to thrive will need to be multimedia-ready. Regardless of what continent they operate on, what population they serve, what their product or service is.
Brick-and-mortar secondhand shops now have Instagram accounts. Remote clinics use electronic record systems, complete with interactive anatomical drawings. Fledgling corporations attempt to put together international marketing videos as their first order of business — correctly or not, they assume this is what they need in order to find serious investors.
Because in this day and age, what isn’t multimedia?