I work in user experience (UX). If you don’t know what that is, then check out this website. Fundamental to UX is understanding how people actually work. Recently, I attended the Google Technology User Group meet in Dublin, Ireland (well worth coming along by the way, thank you Google Ireland). One of the Google Developer Relations folks introduced the concept of developer experience (DX). Again, its about helping developers get their work done. See this SlideShare presentation:

Powering the Social Web at the Dublin GTUG

This got me thinking. Where is the translation experience (TX)? Wouldn’t it be a far better proposition for the various standards interoperability/standards watchdog/champion thingie organizations to start learning from user experience methods and examining why interoperability problems actually continue to exist? How do people work? How do translators use translation tools? Why do tool developers write proprietary extensions? Why is there no scalability? It obviously suits somebody to continue this way, even if it’s just because it’s a relatively comfortable way to doing things, right?  And why is this issue presented largely as a cost-saving issue? If you have more money, are you less interested?

So, where are the TX site visits, scientific method, research, design, prototype alternatives, usability studies and so on? Starting out from a position of “this costs us money” doesn’t advance the sum of understanding very far, does it? Looking forward to see how this develops.

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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