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Language Industry News and Events

IUC44

My Wishlist for Language Industry Conversation in 2012

Language in Business, Language in the News, Language Industry News and Events

Here’s what I would like to see as the key conversation topics in 2012:

Even the coffee is gamified. Acknowledgement @noelruane. Check out the Guardian article Dublin's Frothing with Tech Fever: www.guardian.co.uk

Even the coffee is gamified. Acknowledgement @noelruane. Check out the Guardian article Dublin's Frothing with Tech Fever: www.guardian.co.uk


In general, I would like to see language–and language technology, especially–move towards realistic end user and economic considerations, be they understanding motivation, usage, or interacting with individuals to part with their time or cash. Anything I can do to help make that happen, I will.

Don’t mind where–or how–these topics are discussed, provided the conversation reaches new ears. How disappointing to see how the energy around language issues (however broadly or narrowly you define it) continues to be mostly clustered around a relatively small set of conferences and publications (industry and academic) with basically the same highfalutin audience. Let’s see some traction at places such as SxSWi, Next Berlin, CHI, the Gamification Summit, and so on.

You may know of others outlets or opportunities for engagement, or have your own wishes. Find the comments.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

IUC44

Standards, Interoperability, Popcorn

Language Industry News and Events, Translation Technology

These standards initiative thingies are like buses. You wait for ages and then two of them come along together.

Following the er, demise of LISA (the LOCALIZATION Industry Standards Association), we have just seen an announcement by the Translation Automation User Society (TAUS) calling for community guidance on a proposal for that body to become an interoperability watchdog for the industry. This was followed shortly afterwards by an announcement by the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) that they will fund a standards initiative for the entire industry. Of course, the TAUS and GALA positions are not mutually exclusive and I think they complement each other. I’ll get that popcorn…

The interoperability issue for example, costs the industry a fortune (to the tune of millions of dollars for some). The following presentation called XLIFF: Theory and Reality from Micah Bly of Medtronic, delivered at last year’ XLIFF Symposium in Ireland, has some great examples of the issues involved (hat tip: @ctatwork).

Bottom Line: Interoperability Saves Consumers Money

And sure, who wants to admit to using their own, er, flavor of XLIFF, or using it in some special way (the next time you hear somebody talking about XLIFF just throw in the phrase ‘inline markup’ and see the reaction). It’s always somebody else breaking the standard or not meeting yours isn’t it?

Standards in file formats and tool ‘neutrality’ are notoriously difficult areas to negotiate, and the L10n industry isn’t unique in facing the challenge. The debate generates a lot of thought for sure. Personally, I think that given the costs involved, is it localization service buyers who will call the shots in driving the standards debate. On the other hand, maybe an organization outside the industry might be a better place to look for compliance.

One thing that I (given my role) am interested in understanding is why so many people feel the need to write proprietary extensions to seemingly open standards or to go about implementations in a quirky way. I think there is a link between interoperability issues and some pretty dismal information quality processes, an obsession with formatting over structure, and failure to automate at the source level too (if I see one more workaround to manually create context for translators—instead of deriving it—automatically I will go nuts). We need to be able to figure it out across the entire information lifecycle. For example, in the ERP space, only 23% of companies stick with the vanilla flavor of the application (i.e., what they get out of the box). The rest go off and customize (and that means translating it).

It’s very interesting debate to watch on Twitter (try the #galalisb hashtag while it lasts).

Your views? Find the comments…

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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Ireland's Centre for Next Generation Localisation Innovation Showcase

Language in Business, Language Industry News and Events, Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

I attended the Centre for Next Generation Localisation’s Innovation Showcase event, hosted by Microsoft in Dublin, Ireland. A very well organized and attended event, it was encouraging to see such a huge turnout of enthusiastic, engaged people from the localization and information industries mixing it up with their counterparts in academia and thought leaders in the innovation and research space, generally. And, of course, it was great to meet new people as well hook up again with some people I hadn’t seen for a few years! The networking opportunities afforded by these kind of occasions should never be overlooked.

Standing room only for the intros in the morning, come the afternoon I was particularly impressed with the interaction around research demos about bulk localization workflow, personalized multilingual customer care, and social media. I came away with a couple of ideas I will follow up on as I’d love to explore further the practical promise they offer for the space I work in. That, for me, really is what these kind of initiatives are all about.

I encourage you all to check out the www.cngl.ie website and watch out for more events like this.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

IUC44

Localization Conference Tweeting: Any Tips?

Language in Business, Language in the News, Language Industry News and Events

Yes, tweeting from conferences has really taken off. The volume and quality of tweeted information and comment coming from the recent European Language Industry Association Networking Days in Dublin and Localization World in Seattle events was astounding.

ELIA Tweet Statistics

Perhaps, it is time we saw some short guidelines produced to maximize the impact of sharing information this way (of course, these are nothing to do with localization conferences per se). Here are a few tips based on my own experience:

  • Announce on the event website, in the brochure and at the opening address what the conference hashtag is. Keep it short, memorable, and include the year if you can (handy for searching and archiving).
  • When Tweeting, remember to leave extra space for those who want to retweet (or RT) your tweet. This means they can do so quickly without editing the original, and move on to the next one.
  • Finally, remember to archive the tweet stream when done. Very handy for research, future articles, and as a marketing tool for the next conference! Take a look at the archives for the ELIA event in Dublin and for Localization World in Seattle, by the way.

I am sure there are other tips you could share about tweeting from conference. Let’s hear them!

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

Related News:

Mobile Apps Localization, Irish Style, Apple Style

Language in the News, Language Industry News and Events

I always enjoy Lucy Kellaway’s articles in the Financial Times. She’s a smart writer, with a quick, sharp sense of irreverent humor combined with common sense,  making the coverage of the world of business eminently readable.  Her recent “Words to describe the glory of Apple” (podcast version for the registration-averse reader) addressed the issue of language in business, focusing on the style used by Apple in its App Store Review Guidelines (PDF version), aimed at developers of mobile applications.

These guidelines are insightful in themselves (as indeed are Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for the iPhone) for what they say about language quality. They place the emphasis on usability rather than professional linguistic quality, adherence to official terminology glossaries, style guidelines, and the rest. Language quality in its own right is not a  criterion for app acceptance. The market – the user – ultimately decides.  As far as I know, localized Apple apps are subject to an in-country review instead of a US one, but it doesn’t seem that professional linguistic acceptance checks for style and terminology come into play for those versions either.

This is important for the vast majority of mobile application developers, be they for Apple, Android or other platforms. Contrary to what you might hear, you simply do not need to engage with professional linguists and expensive, complicated, slow translation processes that center around complicated language quality assistance to get your localized app to market. What app developers do need is the means to quickly and easily connect with translators who are talented, motivated,  interested, mobile app savvy and who can use tools to turn around an effective translation that can get that app to the market place or app store as quickly as possible for international users.

Mobile app developers can look to the Irish technology company Tethras (offices in Dublin, Ireland and Silicon Valley) for such a service. This is a smart, cloud-based solution for global mobile app developers to get their development efforts to the international market easily. Sparkle Apps have already used Tethras for translating their Jigsaw Box iPad app and report that doing so clearly showed a spike in global sales, confirming other findings.

Remember that most app development isn’t a large-scale effort, undertaken by large teams in huge enterprises, but instead by interested, motivated entrepreneurs working remotely, often working alone. They have no clue about the difference between “localization”, “translation”, “transcreation” or the rest of the traditional GILT industry mechanics. And why should they? Who needs a language service provider to charge you for the creation of localized terms for “fart” anyway?

Watch out for more about Tethras and Irish mobile apps localization in a forthcoming article in Multilingual.

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+ posts

Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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