Is Globalization Endangering Increasingly Rare Languages?

This blog post is a summary of a post written by Nigel Hollis for the M&M Blog.

The trend in language and globalization suggests that rare languages only spoken by a few people in specific areas are dying off. Nigel Hollis suggests the opposite is happening is some areas as teenagers in places like the Philippines, Mexico and Chile are reviving their local languages through social media. This attraction to dying languages is an interesting way for young people to identify with a group and feel like they belong. I often see this phenomenon within groups of friends after you have spent a great deal of time with them. You develop your own language or “code”; different phrases have different meanings, inside jokes are developed, and only the people within your group understand the full meaning behind everything you say.

But this developing trend has important consequences that global businesses need to consider. As I have touched on before, social media acts as the face of a company; the place were consumers and potential consumers communicate with each other and with the company about their wants, needs and concerns. Hollis notes groups want to affirm their cultural identity in the face of globalization. People like to stay in their comfort zone, so it is important for companies to provide a forum where their customers feel comfortable. Applying a specific strategy in each locale is paramount to the long-term success of a global business.

For the full article, please visit http://blog.creamglobal.com/right_brain_left_brain/2011/07/digital-media-facilitate-localization-as-well-as-globalization.html

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Internationalization Software Globalyzer 3.6 Release

The latest Globalyzer Release Features new Programming Languages, new Rule Sets, Additional Support to Help Software Development Teams Share the String Externalization Work, and an Internationalization Scorecard

Lingoport, a provider of i18n tools and internationalization consulting services, announced yesterday the release of Globalyzer 3.6. Lingoport also announced that it will participate in an online panel presentation along with Zynga, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, to discuss software development and localization on Wednesday, August 3rd.

Globalyzer—a client/server software internationalization system—assists development teams in internationalizing source code as an integral part of future releases. Globalyzer finds, fixes, and monitors issues quickly so that software applications are ready for localization and worldwide customer requirements.

The latest Globalyzer release features many new enhancements, including new supported programming languages: Qt and ActionScript plus enhanced XML and MXML support. Globalyzer 3.6 also adds shared string externalization support to help development teams working together on internationalization efforts as well as an internationalization scorecard, enabling managers to track key internationalization metrics over time.

Adam Asnes, founder and CEO of Lingoport, notes: “We are very excited to announce that Globalyzer is further extending support for programming languages like ActionScript, used in Flex and Flash applications, and enterprise global readiness analysis that we’ve seen become more important among our customers. We also keep adding features to help teams of developers support internationalization, as that’s an endeavor that runs across teams rather than just individual developers.” He continues: “More than ever, Globalyzer assures that a software application is global-ready as part of the development cycle, thus enabling companies to enter new markets faster while raising quality and lowering worldwide development, translation, and support costs.”

Lingoport’s software i18n tool now also features an internationalization scorecard. The scorecard system provides a dashboard of internationalization status and progress using XML data collected via scan history using Globalyzer’s Command Line. The i18n scorecard was recently discussed in an hour-long webinar presentation and featured guest-speakers Mike McKenna, Sr. Manager, International Engineering, from Zynga, and Leandro Reis, Senior Globalization Program Manager, from Adobe Systems. A recording of the presentation may be viewed at: http://www.lingoport.com/internationalization-webinar-video/#17

The Globalyzer 3.6 release notes are available on Lingoport’s website at:http://www.lingoport.com/software-internationalization-products/globalyzer-3/release-notes/

University of Washington to Offer Localization Certificate Program

The University of Washington Professional & Continuing Education is offering a Certificate program in localization which provides an overview of and practical experience with this rapidly growing field through a three-course, nine-month program. The courses are offered in the evening and can be taken in the classroom as well as online. They provide a strong foundation in terms of concepts and tools, engineering practices, and project management. Students gain valuable practical experience, hear from guest speakers working in the industry, research and use current translation & localization tools, as well as delve into both the engineering and the project management side. The classroom section is a traditional offering while the online section uses AdobeConnect to allow online students to hear the instructor live, see the instructor’s presentation, and interact with the class via chat. Online sessions are also recorded.

General program areas include linguistics & translation, business norms & cultural issues, user-interface design, formatting, project workflow & roles and an overview of the technology & tools. In addition, the program includes guest speakers and a panel of practitioners some of whom graduated from the program to talk about their career and what is needed to get a job in the field. Specific consideration is given to topics such as alphabets & scripts, character encoding, text processing, graphical representation of text, spelling variants for different countries where the same language is spoken, cultural appropriateness, language translations, symbols, aesthetics, local content as well as customs considerations.

Past students have come from diverse backgrounds, including foreign language learners, translators, software testers, technical writers, linguistics, software developers, project managers, and localization engineers.

The program has an advisory board which includes UW faculty & staff, as well as industry representatives from Microsoft, Lionbridge, Adobe, Getty Images, Google, MultiLingual Magazine, Adaquest, and several others. Students who complete all three courses receive a Certificate from UW Professional & Continuing Education. From a career perspective we can also attest to the fact that students who enrolled in the program received both internships & jobs soon after completing the program. These positions included companies such as Microsoft, Real Networks, Amazon.com, SDL, Big Fish, Nintendo, Übermind, and Moravia.

Applications are now being accepted for the program starting October 5, 2011. Additional program details and course descriptions can be found here: http://www.pce.uw.edu/prog.aspx?id=6040

A Robotic Introduction to Bridging the Gap between Software Development and Localization

So, you’ve developed a new software application, and have high aspirations in terms of selling your application to a global audience. Now what? Problems often arise between developers, localization managers, and business managers due to perceived lack of support, time, and money.

This lack of understanding can lead to great frustration within the development tiers. Join us for an hour long online panel discussion and learn how some of the best known industry thought leaders are contributing to bridging the gap between software development and localization.

Join us Wednesday, August 3rd at 9:30am PT for a discussion led by a panel of experts on Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization. Registration is available at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/964415249

Upcoming Webinar: Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization

Mister Zebra and Miss Giraffe introduce you to Lingoport’s next webinar: Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization.

This webinar will feature a panel of software development, internationalization and localization professionals and will be held on Wednesday, August 3rd at 12:30pm EDT.

Technical managers, software engineers, test engineering managers, QA managers, internationalization and localization managers, technical writers, content developers, and anyone wanting to learn more on how to optimize their global software releases are encouraged to attend.

Sign up here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/964415249

How Does Localization Relate to Social Media?

This post was inspired by an article written by Clinton Lanier on Technorati. The article can be viewed here: http://technorati.com/business/article/a-new-theory-of-social-media/

Many companies use social media to get in direct contact with their customer base. This allows consumers to engage with each other as well as the product makers about their issues, concerns, recommendations or satisfaction with a product. This instant feedback approach has reshaped how companies deal with customers: feedback is instant.

But what if their is no forum for your company’s customers to discuss their concerns in their own language using their own forum? Companies that have localized their product to multiple locales need also to consider localizing their social media messages for that same location. As I wrote before in a post about localized software in China, a successfully localized product considers all aspects of a product, not just translation. This same idea applies to the social aspects of said product.

A feedback avenue should be established for international customers to discuss their concerns, just as there is for domestic customers. In his article, Lanier suggests companies establish a social media presence in every locale they sell in, but his argument doesn’t necessarily apply to tech companies. His examples include Starbucks and Panera Bread shaping their message to specific demographics across a country (Happy Cinco de Mayo! Show this tweet and receive a free drink!). This messaging is effective for its goal, but goals as they relate to software and technology are obviously different (and that’s what we’re focusing on here).

Companies that have localized well have already established a presence within the locales they sell in. Assuming a trust has been created between the company and the consumer in a locale, setting up a social media avenue should be easy. My suggestion would be to do a little research into what social media platforms are most popular in a given locale, and set up an account focused on that area. Assuming your product has already been localized to that area, you should be familiar with the concerns of customers in that locale. Use this background information to establish a dialogue with customers to help further refine your product. Localization isn’t a one-time process, it’s ongoing and never ending as technology improves at an incredible rate. Staying on the front lines through social media will undoubtedly help shape a successful localization campaign.

Top Five Reasons Localization isn’t even a Choice Anymore

With so many internet users and gamers consuming content in a language other than English, development companies no longer have the choice whether to localize or not; it’s a must! The following is the top five reasons why localization can no longer be overlooked.

  1. Because your competitors will gain the upper hand on you. If you’re not going to localize, someone else will. Since consumers best identify with products in their own language, they will gain a respect for your competitor for their product and overlook you.
  2. 75% of gamers come from non-English speaking markets. This doesn’t include all the high-tech games on Xbox and PS3; games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars are immensely popular in their localized versions.
  3. Non-native English speaking web users are growing rapidly. This new developing group represents a new market websites and game developers can target. 90% of these users prefer to use the web in their own language.
  4. Many immigrant communities need translated material for legal purposes. There is a real demand in the market requiring companies to address visitors of their web sites in languages other than English.
  5. People prefer buying in their own language. Have you ever traveled abroad and felt awkward when purchasing something because you either don’t know exactly what it is or aren’t sure of the conversion? Having access to that knowledge is powerful in the hands of the consumer.

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