Tag: Excel

Advertisement
SDL Tados 2021

Localization Unconference Silicon Valley 2013: Video is the New Document for L10n

Language Industry News and Events

Attended the Localization Unconference last week at the Salesforce offices in San Mateo, California. What a blast! About 120 attendees in all, a wide range of topics, and much style and flair in evidence made it a great day. I’ve been absent from the Silicon Valley event for a while, and it was a thrill to be back in person, meeting new people and seeing some older, more familiar faces too. No selling, no PowerPoint, and some very thorough and fair facilitation kept the energy and participation rocking throughout the day.

Much organization, style and glamour brought the Localization Unconference to life at the Salesforce offices. Thank you.

Much organization, style, and glamour brought the Localization Unconference to life at the Salesforce offices. Thank you. (Teresa Marshall of Salesforce and Scott Schwalbach of VistaTEC pictured).

Event feedback was positive and indeed, many attendees expressed the view that, based on all the love shared,  maybe all localization conferences should be run this way.

A screenshot of the main whiteboard with the topics up for discussion gives you an idea of what’s on Localization Unconference goers’ minds these days:

Localization Unconference topics: Video localization was up there.

Localization Unconference topics: Video localization was up there. So hot it was there twice.

Key takeaways for me from the day were:

  • Video localization is really up a hot topic. Lack of L10n-enabled tools is an issue, and it appears localizing these formats can be a very expensive business, especially when marketing material is involved (thankfully people nobody said “transcreation”). This stuff ain’t cheap to localize, and the process can be painful, but then so is localizing millions or words of unread documentation. At least the video format has traction with real users in today’s YouTubed learning world. Plus, community video plays its role too. “Video is the new document for localization” became almost a new industry meme on the day. Indeed.
  • There was a willingness to discuss the more eh, political dimensions of L10n, such as how the function gets disconnected from the rest of the business and how the function itself doesn’t always communicate well within itself across organization. Political dynamics, office politics, leadership, communications breakdown, “not invented here” syndrome, it was all going on. Perhaps it was me, but I detected an edgier view of our world, one that is a welcome counterbalance to the usual PowerPoint deck-driven PR puffery.
Worst cases? Disconnects? Surviving localization? What is this new realism that is upon us?

Worst cases? Disconnects? Surviving localization? What is this new realism that is upon us? Are we getting old?

  • The unconference community has tired of machine translation as a topic. Perhaps everyone has implemented their automated solutions beautifully, and it’s all a done deal. Or maybe, it’s all been heard before. Or, maybe it’s still mind-numbingly boring stuff best left to managers at paid-up posh translation automation events. YMMV as to which theory best applies here. Anyway, it wasn’t up for discussion. Using Microsoft Excel in localization would be a more realistic and relevant topic, I heard.
  • Pink is definitely the color to wear at these events. Pretty much, pink shirts are becoming the #LocUnConf  wellies equivalent seen at outdoor rock events in Europe. And rightly so.

At the end of the event donations collected in lieu of paying for the super lunch provided were taken. The Salesforce Foundation matched the amount and so, some 1,000 USD should be winging its way to Translators Without Borders soon.

Many thanks to the team of Salesforce, VistaTec, and anyothers who made this  event happen. And so, on to Localization World, London, 2013. See you there. At another Localization Unconference.

Keep it in pink, people.

Tags:, , , , , , ,
+ 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.

Advertisement

Related News:

Advertisement

Programming and Programmer Languages: Beyond "Hello World"?

Language in Business, Language in the News

Interesting discussion (of old) on the StackExchange blog podcast about coding in other natural languages.

Other than English, that is.

So,should programming languages should be localized or not? The podcast mentions the case of Microsoft Excel’s Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language, which was localized from US English (the source/target paradigm framing the discussion is revealing in itself). The practice was not continued. I should disclose I was a Microsoft employee at the time. I should also disclose that I have no clue as to why the decision was made and then reversed. Perhaps someone can enlighten us? It is not the only language that Microsoft localized by the way. WordBasic, the Word for Windows forerunner to VBA was also localized into a number of major languages. Pretty much all trace of these localization initiatives appear to have been scrubbed from memory and Internet alike.

german_wordbasic

German localization of Microsoft WordBasic: Whatever were they thinking? (Source)

Given the expense, effort and care we see in localizing UIs and documentation, I do wonder though why some programming or scripting language functions and names are not localized, particularly the visual ones used in language-sensitive countries, regions or markets, or by particular types of end users of software.

A matter of user experience I expect, though from a technical and business perspective it is easy to see how English language-based programming facilitates open source, open standards and global development efforts. What a pain it would be to have to learn say, French as well as the Java language!

Wikipedia has a list of Non-English-based programming languages, by the way.

As for the thought that all programmers need to speak English (and American English at that), or at least English to some level, there is a lot of energy from within the development community itself on the subject (all of it in favor of English, no surprise). Check out this somewhat unappealing titled Ugly American Programmer piece on the Coding Horror blog for a start.

Some think developers themselves are part of the problem, perpetrating a myth about not speaking English well. Others say it’s essential for developers have functional English to be a “hacker”, others say English is mandatory because programming languages aren’t localized, and others posit that a lack of English betrays a lack of passion and interest in technology generally. Some have even turned developers grappling with English into an whole comedy act on Twitter (@devops_borat).

Read into it. Make up your own mind. But consider this: English is clearly the lingua franca of programming. But what about all that information around the language itself: The documentation, the community forums, the support organizations, the development conferences, and the customers for developed applications? And, does not speaking or reading English play so well with the stakeholders and ecosystem that surrounds software development?

How often have we, as localization professionals, heard the claim that “Oh, we’re not localizing that UI/demo/developmentguide because developers/administrators/technicians all speak English anyway”?

But, do we even have the research to back up the argument either way?

Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , ,
+ 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.

Related News: