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Tag: Emoji

Bridget Jones’s Burkini: Emojis and Digital Diversity

Localization Culture, Personalization and Design, Travel and Culture

Emojis have been called the world’s fastest growing language.

Unsurprisingly, how societal diversity is represented by emojis is to the fore. Icons for gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, skin colour, and lots of other dimensions of the richness of human identity have been appearing in each emoji release.

It is only right this happens.

The Guardian has a great story about Rayouf Alhumedhi, a 15 year-old Saudi student in Germany, who noticed that the currently available emoji set did not include one for a muslim woman in a headscarf. Rayouf has worn a hijab since she was 13 years-old.

Rayouf decided to do something about this emoji omission by making a proposal to the Unicode Consortium, including draft designs for icons that include how male and female wearers might be represented.

Proposed headscarves emoji icons. Male and female wearers are represented.

Proposed headscarves emoji icons. Male and female wearers are represented. (Image via Guardian)

The BBC also reports on the support for the proposal (the personal Bitmoji already includes an image of a woman in a hijab, by the way) and how debate about it covers such areas as religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions, fears of terrorism, and multiculturalism generally.

Although this proposal for inclusion and to be recognized by the tech world is based on religious and identity grounds, it is clear, as Rayouf acknowledges, that you don’t have to be a muslim female to wear a headscarf.

A bit like a burkini, really.

A final version of the proposal is planned for presentation to the Unicode Consortium in November 2016.

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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:

Global Branding and those “Minority” Languages: Business Benefits

Language in Business

Superb article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper about the business benefits of branding using what are often snottily referred to as “minority” languages: Basque, Cornish, Irish, Welsh, and so on.

Read it here: Let languages shout out your business benefits.

Make no mistake, such languages offer a competitive edge for domestic and global brands. Using Irish (Gaeilge) for example drives a multi-million Euro market. Interestingly, these languages are particularly valuable to business when used in the food industry (the localization angle of which, along with sport, we do not hear about often enough).

Tayto Crisps: Irish Branding Gets Emoji. There's Irish-language Tayto Crisps too.

Ireland’s famous Tayto Crisps go emoji. There are Irish-language Tayto Crisps too. They don’t taste any the worse for Unicode! (Image: Ultan Ó Broin)

Of course, using language to engage consumers does not require sellers or buyers to be even remotely fluent in it, contrary to what Willie Brandt claimed.

Not that claims of minority language usage don’t come without their own problems.

 

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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.

The Advent of Finnish Emojis: Happy Holidays, Headbangers

Language in the News, Personalization and Design, Travel and Culture

The Finnish government has released its own set of emojis (絵文字) that capture just what it means to be so Finnish. Reflecting the season that’s in it, you can view these emojis advent-calendar style on the web.

The emojis’ release was covered by National Public Radio’s (NPR) All Tech Considered radio program from the U.S. It’s worth listening to.

Headbanger emoji

Headbanger emoji: “In Finland, heavy metal is mainstream. There are more heavy metal bands in Finland per capita than anywhere else.” (Source: xmas.finland.fi)

These emojis capture a wide range of Finnish cultural nuances and emotional states across a spectrum of subjects: headbanging (there are more heavy metal bands in Finland per capita than anywhere else, apparently), saunas, woolly socks, legendary Nokia mobile phones, how Finnish people behave at the bus stop and that Finnish kids know not to lick metal things in the cold, it’s all there. And more.

Check out those Finnish emojis. What a great way to be at the forefront of technology and educating the world about culture at the same time. Let’s see more of this approach!

So, it remains for me to wish you all the happiest of seasonal greetings, where ever, and whatever, you are.

Here’s to 2016.

Suomi Mainittu!

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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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