Post Editing: Out of Africa

It seems as if Africa has a special place in the hearts of localization professionals.  It arises often in our discussions of the future. Though we may not have made the case to ourselves that localizing for all of Africa will be an immediate reality, we are sure that the market will expand for a number of reasons, including economic development and the increasing involvement of many African prosumers that in the end will meet the needs of the long tail of language.
After all, as Afaf and Yasin Steiert point out in this issue’s focus, it’s the world’s final economic frontier. South Africa has emerged as the strongest of the continent’s economies, followed (in terms of gross domestic product and as of 2009) by Nigeria and Egypt.
Africa is also everyone’s favorite charity cause, and although this can be a bit misguided for a number of reasons, nonprofits such as Translators without Borders can help improve the job market and the region’s health care — in this case through training native translators and health care workers, as outlined in our second focus article.
The complexity of the African language situation also gives the continent a certain amount of intrigue for linguists, and David Filip and Jama Musse Jama have compiled the data for the top 29 languages and then taken Somali as a case study for commercial development, which will likely affect the localization market.
In our core focus, we go in a slightly different direction and look at some basics for localization management. Leona Frank outlines a few benefits of an in-house translation team, and then Anna Maya Tomala writes about localization vendor management. Jeremy Coombs gives general advice on global image and localization management and Benjamin B. Sargent explores translation management system pricing structures. Finally, Jason Arnsparger outlines the systems and requirements for measuring linguistic quality.
For commentary, Terena Bell has a column on women in business, and Lori Thicke’s Takeaway covers the founder’s dilemma, wherein the skills needed to found a company are not necessarily the same skills needed to manage a corporation in the long term.
Africa is the cradle of our humanity, and perhaps this is another reason we romanticize it — it is exotic in a way that only places that are very difficult to adapt to can be. But we will try nonetheless, because adaptation is our calling.