Contextualizing Localization in the Time of Austerity 2013

I spoke at Localization World in London last week on the subject of Context of Use in User Experience and Use of Context in Localization. There are great synergies between the two  areas and given UX trends it’s clear that context is what makes for a great user experience and for a great translation too. Translation technology needs to provide for contextual translation without compromising source content. A rubbish translation won’t help the world’s best app design, and a simplified source string designed to facilitate 100% matching in all cases won’t help UX in any language either. You get the idea?

It was great to be back at this conference, and my, but how it has grown in size, quality and reputation since I was first involved nearly 10 years ago! The full program reveals just how rich the agenda has become.

For those of you who didn’t get to my session, I’ve included it in Slideshare format (you need to have the benefit of my delivery for it to come to life, so do come along to the next conference and hear it live). A list of useful resources is included on the last slide if you want to read more. And no, it’s not all about Silicon Valley! The presentation is here:

Making a great, modern, and compelling user experience is all about context. In any language.
Making a great, modern, and compelling user experience is all about context. In any language.

I has honored to also host a great presentation on what’s New in International Components for Unicode by Anubhav Jain of Adobe and Jana Vorechovska of Google who explained how smart open source technology dealing with gender, plurals, day formats, and so on enables great contextual localized experiences in the social media world (Google+ in this case). I also attended some of the Localization Unconference @ Localization World sessions which were as lively and candid as ever, and included probably the best vendor pitch I’ve seen for a long time.

Also loved the MicroTalks format; so very Pecha Kucha in intent. I would loved to have seen and heard more about video content and localization at the conference itself, but there’s always the next conference for that!

I would like to see reach out of these Localization Unconference and guerilla-style Pecha Kuchas happen around “big” localization events, especially as the cost of attending major (or any) conferences is high. Many key countries and regions that have a lot of value-add and insight to contribute the industry based on their experience – countries such as Spain and Ireland (there are others) – but are hurting bad economically. Spending money these days on travel and registration isn’t easy (even if you do have a job). And, let’s see how we can get younger folks involved from those countries too. They’re not the future generation of localization, but the present. Perhaps these “micro”, more ad hoc, events can even be held away from the main event location and happen in eh, more convivial surroundings just like the Dublin <Pub> Standards event (hint, this is nothing to do with publishing standards, really).

On that subject, I am told that Localization World is coming to Dublin in June 2014. There’s your cue…

Thank you to the conference organizers for putting up with me and putting on such a great show! Again.

Ultan Ó Broin
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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