Tag: language

Advertisement

Swiss Supreme Court — Now in English?

Language

The Swiss Supreme Court may soon accept English as one of the languages it will draft in arbitrations, as part of the Swiss Parliament’s amendment to the Federal Supreme Court Act (FSCA). While the Federal Supreme Court has agreed upon the use of English in some cases historically, it required that the pleadings be filed in one of Switzerland’s official languages —French, German, Italian, or Romansh. The new legislation will lift the burden of translation costs for parties who wish to use English in their proceedings.

This change came as part of Swiss efforts for a revision on Chapter 12 of the Private International Law Act (PILA) on international arbitration, which the Swiss government drafted for public consultation in 2017. A decision that currently will only affect the supreme court, the amendment will allow counsels to minimize any risks of mistranslation as well as expedite the process of drafting memorials.

Even with the many benefits the move will provide, Parliament will have important considerations before fully accepting the bill. According to an analysis of the original 2017 bill by Sebastiano Nessi, a counsel with Swiss business law firm Schellenberg Wittmer, “The Swiss Supreme Court will continue to issue its decisions in one of Switzerland’s official languages. In other words, the parties (or one of them) will plead their case in English whereas the decision-maker will develop its reasoning in another language.”

He goes on to explain the possible implications of the new system, stating, “The Swiss Supreme Court may lose sight of some of the nuances developed by counsel in their pleadings.” Considering how the complexities of the English language already create conflict in the US, Swiss Parliament might develop a framework to deal with complications that may arise.

Despite some of the limitations of the bill, the decision will provide some insight into an internationalized approach to court proceedings. The court may consider further changes to the bill in coming months, but without a referendum placed by October 2020, it will pass and come into full effect in 2021.

 

Tags:, , ,
+ posts

MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

Advertisement

Related News:

Advertisement

Vive La French Tech! Chatbots, French Style

Language, Localization Technology, Personalization and Design

A Chat About Bots

Conversational UI, that natural interaction between human and technology, is a hot topic worldwide, and the localization requirements for creating a great contextual natural user experience are fascinating and challenging, none more so than in the case of chatbots.

La French Tech. See https://www.facebook.com/LaFrenchTechEN/ for more information!

La French Tech. See https://www.facebook.com/LaFrenchTechEN/ for more information on the French technology startup and investment community.

As Arle Lommel from CommonSense Advisory says: Chatbots pose challenges fundamentally different from what is seen with traditional content. The shift to conversational structures and the need to embrace “messy” terminology are among these. Click To Tweet

There are other challenges too. Plan ahead.

What’s Going On Globally?

Here’s a great example from France by way of an article featuring Amina Esselimani, a top French user experience design thinker, published on the Prototypr blog: Conversational interface for chatbot & voicebot: the French touch.

The article itself gives good insight into why chatbots should be used, and the methodologies involved. I was fascinated by the human-oriented design language used by Amina to describe her work, using phrases such as “happy path” and “repair conversations.”

Her comments about using the “Wizard of Oz” design requirements technique, engaging with conversational style content experts, and iterative testing with real users really resonated too. We've moved from user-centered design to human-centered design, and dealing with how humans actually communicate and simulating that kind of exchange can indeed be very messy in any language! Click To Tweet

I also checked out some of the chatbot solutions Amina worked on, such as the Oui.SNCF bot. I wondered if it had a French personality (personality is a critical design element in conversational UI) and what the tone would be my questions about the ongoing SNCF rolling strikes.

Hofstede's six dimensions of national culture. A useful starting point, but real users doing real jobs in real places are the best way to determine the appropriate bot personality for the job to be done.

Hofstede’s six dimensions of national culture, in this case comparing France with Ireland and the United States of America. Hofstede’s work is a useful starting point when developing a bot personalit, but real users doing real jobs in real places are the best way to determine the appropriate bot personality for the job to be done.

All utterances were handled very diplomatically, I must say, even making sense of my mangled French language utterances!

Out.SNCF chatbot available in multiple languages too.

Out.SNCF chatbot is available in multiple languages too. I stuck with French!

Alexa en Français

You might also like to read Wired’s fascinating, and sometimes humorous artlcle, Inside Amazon’s Painstaking Pursuit to Teach Alexa French in the run up to its launch in France.

Amazon Echo (Alexa) launch advertisement.

Amazon Echo voice assistant was launched in France in June 2018. Alexa was trained to be speak and act “French”.


Cultural differences create conversational landmines. And you just can’t be sure that everyone will like you. As it turns out, that as true for people as it is for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Click To Tweet

More information on globalization methods for conversational UIs and chatbots?

To understand more of the challenges presented by chatbot and conversational UI design and the cultural considerations involved, then check out my SF Globalization presentation and handy checklist on the subject of chatbot design for  global and local audiences: “Alexa, Tell Me About Global Chatbot Design and Localization!”

All images by Utan O’Broin

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
SDL Tados 2021

Related News:

Catch the Pidgin at the BBC: Digital Flight of Fancy?

Language, Localization Culture, Personalization and Design

Delighted to see that the BBC has started a Pidgin Digital service for West African audiences.

BBC introduces Pidgin for Digital Audiences in West Africa (Image source: BBC)

BBC introduces Pidgin for Digital Audiences in West Africa (Image source: BBC)

I’ve long been fascinated by the notion of pidgin (or a pidgin language). For some of course, it’s a betrayal of “pure” language learning and standards. Fundamentally, however, pidgin is a popular and simple way for people to communicate with each other when they don’t share a common language. What’s wrong with that? Pidgin is a lingua franca in its own right. The use case is nothing that Google isn’t trying to do with the Google Pixel Earbuds!Pidgin is a lingua franca in its own right. Click To Tweet

What’s Pidgin?

So what is pidgin, exactly? Well, the BBC describe it, in this context, as “a mix of English and local languages enabling people who do not share a common language to communicate”.

We might think of it as a kind of hybrid oral “gisting”. It’s certainly fascinating to listen to! Languages and how people communicate evolve all the time. Check out the difference between a Pidgin and Creole language for example.

The Irish Pidgin Fancier

As an Irish person and speaker of “urban” Irish (or Gaeilge – not “Gaelic”), pidgin resonates strongly with me. There’s also clear evidence of a pidgin emerging with the Irish language. This development was pointed out by Brian Ó Broin (no relation) in this article from the Irish Times, “Schism fears for Gaeilgeoirí“, a few years ago. Brian has also written about the changing demographics of the Irish language for MultiLingual.

Pigeon Man on Dublin's Liffey Boardwalk (Image source: Ultan O'Broin)

Pigeon Man on Dublin’s River Liffey boardwalk (Image source: Ultan O’Broin)

Perhaps, the pidgin approach offers a way for the Irish language to thrive in rural Gaeltacht as well as urban areas and a way for all Irish language lovers to all communicate more (until we agree on emoji). Certainly, as pointed out by Irish President Michael D. Higgins recently, the compulsory approach to teaching the Irish language in Ireland has failed.

A more human-centric way of encouraging people to communicate using Irish is needed. Of course, Duolingo can help address our Irish language learning requirements too! Again, it’s voluntary. (Oh, “Catch the Pigeon“?)A more human-centric way of encouraging people to communicate using Irish is needed. Click To Tweet

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:

Language at the ❤ of Conversational Interfaces

Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

A Chat About Language and UI

Robotspeak in San Francisco. A great store, but it’s also exactly how conversational interfaces should NOT sound: like a robot. Conversational interfaces offer a natural way to deal with a multitude of digital asks and tasks and the crafting of language is critical to that intent. (Image by Ultan Ó Broin)

Robotspeak in San Francisco. A great store, but it’s also exactly how conversational interfaces should NOT sound: like a robot. Conversational interfaces offer a natural way to deal with a multitude of digital asks and tasks and the crafting of language is critical to that intent. (Image by Ultan Ó Broin)

Chatbots and conversational interfaces are all the rage right with startups, VCs, innovators and users alike. Messenger apps have surpassed social media in terms of popularity and we’re witnessing the awesome agency of chatbots such as KLM Messenger as a natural way for users to perform a huge range of digital asks and tasks without the need for special devices or apps.

Going Global With Conversational Interfaces

But what are the localization and translation aspects to chatbots and conversational computing?

To a large extent, the natural language processing (NLP) backend capabilities of the bot or messaging platform determine much of the linguistic side of the user experience (UX). However, there are plenty of other considerations for internationalization and localization people to concern themselves with, not least educating designers and developers in globalization best practices.

Check out this super article “Do you want your chatbot converse in foreign languages? My learnings from bot devs” by Artem Nedrya for a start.

It is also very clear that there is a huge role for the conversational UI writer in the design and creation of conversational interfaces. An understanding of language, its style, tone, grammar, and so on, is central to making or breaking a conversational interface UX but also to ensuring that any content created is localizable and makes sense to a local user.

Here’s an article I wrote for Chatbots Magazine that covers the topic of language and chatbot UX that also touches the translation space. I hope you find my thoughts in “Writing Skills: At the ❤️ Of Chatbot UX Design” useful.

Conversational UI is dependent on bot and messenger platform NLP capability but human language skills are still definitely at the core of conversational UI design. (Image by Ultan Ó Broin)

Conversational UI is dependent on bot and messenger platform NLP capability. But human language skills are still definitely at the core of conversational UI design. (Image by Ultan Ó Broin)

Don’t be surprised if you see the topics of chatbots and conversational interfaces coming up on the agendas of localization conferences and in publications a lot more!

As ever, for a conversation on this blog post, find the comments box!

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:

Blame Florida. Again: Is Coding Just Another Language?

Language in the News

An interesting debate: Is coding just another language?

If coding's a language, then missing commas wouldn't matter.

If coding’s a language, then missing commas wouldn’t matter.

Some people in Florida seems to think so, and the Senate there is set to act.

For me, this “let’s-all teach-little-kids-coding” stuff is about parental fears, blind ignorance about what constitutes a core competency and non-exportable skill (such, as say, “design”), and a living embodiment of that Shavian observation about us getting what we deserve from democracy. That such a misguided approach to the future welfare of our children and educational strategy is backed up by the usual suspects (translation: the media) is no surprise.

So,here are some reasons that coding is not just another language, based on those very moves in Florida to er, codify just the opposite view into law.

Do I think this proposal will pass muster?

Two words: “Hanging chad.”

Let’s all challenge this nonsense about coding being the same as French or Chinese when you come across it.

And, do move over CoderDojo and Co and let in the designers and user experience geeks.

You know you want to.

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:

Language and Your Internet Experience. YMMV

Language in the News

Yup, when it comes to your online experience, your mileage may vary (YMMV) for sure, depending on the language you speak.

Check out this great article from The Guardian if you don’t believe me!

The digital language barrier: how does language shape your experience of the internet?

Internet experience? Your mileage may vary depending on what language you speak.

Internet experience? Your mileage may vary depending on what language you speak.

It’s a powerful insight into how language interplays with the digital divide on this planet.

Some of the prognosis for the diversity of the world’s tongues is quite depressing, though.

Regardless, there are rich pickings for all interested in language there: from educators to technologists.

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:

Working Out Context in the Enterprise: Localize That!

Localization Culture, Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

I just came across an interesting terminology issue for enterprise applications’ user experience and localization, generally. What should we call the people in an organization who do the work of the business and rely on software to help them do so?

Honest labor. But honestly, what to call the person doing it! Image sourced from Ikipedia Commons and in public domain.

Honest labor. But honestly, what to call the person doing it! Image sourced from WIkiPedia Commons and also in public domain.

Take the English language term worker appearing in a software application’s user interface (UI). That term doesn’t work well for every organization’s set up or localized well into every language either. In some contexts, worker might mean someone who is involved in manual labor and is an individual contributor. It others it doesn’t. Consider how that term worker be perceived by the manager of a team of people, or someone who performs “knowledge-based” work (actually, all workers use knowledge, so I always found that qualifier to be somewhat snotty)? Then, there are organizations that have corporate requirements  about how they refer to, and manage, their workers, referring to them as employees, partners, or something else.

So, how could worker be easily localized into other languages given the challenges with the English term in the first place! I have seen localization bugs being logged for the “wrong”  term appearing in a localized UI. In some cases, that may be the case, but the cause, of course, could also be traced back to choice of English language source term and a lack of context or understanding about how it is used.

Should we even bother with such a generic terms as worker, employee, partner, and so on, anyway? In a role-based access world of enterprise applications, perhaps job titles might be more suitable? But then, how would such an approach scale? And, how could it account for an increasingly consumer-driven user experience of enterprise technology where notions of identifying and labelling different types of users doesn’t apply. Then again, if it’s a role-based access implementation, then why bother mentioning someone by title in the UI and not just their profile‘s real name?

Then, there’s that term user; a term in wide use in the drug and software industry, but not elsewhere. What could user be replaced with? Customer? Oh, let’s not go there. I’m confused enough!

Ultimately, of course, this conundrum is really a question of context. Coming up with a common, generic term that suits every organization, with operations in many languages, and that spans all kinds of domains and expertise really is not possible.

Mistranslations of course, can happen, and superior, generated context for translators to localize the source terms accurately will help alleviate problem that for sure. But, coming up with a source term that is broadly acceptable, applied sparsely in the UI, and easily adapted in context is the way to go. Enabling er, users, to change simply one term to another that suits individual (through a personalization option) or organizational requirements (using a customization tool feature) seems a reasonable, consumer-driven approach that doesn’t require an IT project or a translator to be on 24-hour standby either.

One size doesn’t fit all.

Comments welcome. What do you call your workers or users?

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:

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:

Et Vous, @Brute?

Language Industry News and Events, Translation Technology

Great article, courtesy of the BBC News online magazine, called Tu and Twitter. It is the end for  ‘Vous’ In French? highlights the social and political interplay of technology and language. Other languages such as Italian and Spanish are mentioned too.

Of course, Twitter isn’t going to finish off French language formality or any  social hierarchies implied, though some of the sentiments expressed in the article bring into sharp relief just how important matters of linguistic accuracy and orthodoxy can be in some cultures, and how changes can be interpreted. Nothing unusual about the French, or should I say some French people, in that regard.

Worth reading. It is of course, another good example of language usage adapting over time and circumstance, and changes reflecting context of use. Textspeak didn’t kill the English language or our ability to communicate fluidly across media or threaten interpersonal relations any more than the infinitesimally obtuse language of Finnegan’s Wake did. Twitter isn’t going to kill off vous or bring the Fifth Republic crashing down either.

It would be more than nice, however, if Twitter technology could figure out what format of “you” the receiver of tweets preferred in relation to the sender and alerted the sender to that choice. After that, the deliberate use of  tu or vous might be worth an argument over.

Interestingly, I hear that German is also subject to pressure from Twitter. As an aside, I noticed that not all new interactions adopt an informal tone. The German Windows Phone style guide from Microsoft, for example, recommends the use of Sie over du. Context of use again.

What do you think? Use the comments and let me know!

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.