Localization Unconference: The First 10 Years

Localization Unconference Logo
Localization Unconference logo

Localization Unconference (#LocUnconf) is 10 years old tomorrow!

The first Localization Unconference was hosted March 14, 2008 in Silicon Valley at Saleforce’s San Mateo location.

The original and first localization unconference logo from 2008
The original and first localization unconference logo from 2008

Unconference Strong

I am delighted to say that the event is still going strong and is now worldwide; organized by and attended by people interested in localization and related areas of our industry who want to meet and make connections by discussing hot topics or things that normally don’t get on the regular conference circuit agenda.

I can see from the Localization Unconference website now, for example, that there are already events planned for Toronto and Berlin in 2018. There have been many other events all over the world since 2008.

And, of course, the event is now part and parcel of the regular Localization World agenda. All thanks to an awesome team of passionate organizers driving it forward.

Guinness: Inspiration for the Unconference

I was inspired initially to reach out to others from a localization-related unconference section of Mashup Camp when it was held in Dublin’s Guinness Brewery in 2007. I blogged about my thoughts on MultiLingual’s blog (or Blogos as it was known then) and put the idea out there. The original blog is still there!

I’m indebted especially to Shawna Wolverton of Salesforce who also saw this opportunity to innovate a little bit in the localization meetup space and drove these sparks of ideas forward into the first event. That was a success but the event also later spread worldwide, mostly organized by locally-based, different volunteers.

Incidentally, I still have the 2007 Apple MacBook Pro 2.2 GHz 15-inch Core 2 Duo that I used at Mashup Camp (and shown in the blog post) and at the first Localization Unconference. Go different badges but they wear them just the same, as Aztec Camera would say.

Apple MacBook Pro from Mashup Camp and Localization Unconference still working!
My 2007 Apple MacBook Pro from Mashup Camp and Localization Unconference is still working! Those laptop stickers are upgraded regularly!

I also still have the original lunch voucher from the Salesforce-hosted event. I guess I didn’t eat at the event (I brought donuts from Chuck’s in Belmont, San Mateo if I recall correctly) with all the excitement.

Original Localization Unconference Lunch Voucher from Salesforce
Original Localization Unconference lunch voucher from Salesforce

I wonder is that voucher is still good for one lunch?

Whatever. The Localization Unconference is good for a lot more than one!

The next 10 years

So, here’s to more Localization Unconferences. And here’s to the power of the localization community, its volunteers, participants and the idea of self-enablement.

Stay tuned to the Localization Unconference website for more information and to MultiLingual Insights for reports on happenings, past and present.


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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