A Django site.
August 19, 2009
» Web2.0 and Bilingualism

Implications of web2.0 for bilingualism on websites – towards best practice

Goblygiadau gwe2.0 ar gyfer gwefannau dwyieithog – tuag at arfer gorau

This has just been released by the Welsh Language Board. It explores issues, good practice and suggestions for organisations which are planning to make web2.0 services available bilingually.

It is an independent report commissioned by the Board from me, with the assistance of Courtenay Honeycutt (Indiana University) and the input of a number of stakeholders.

It is very much intended to be a discussion starter, rather than a definitive statement, so please feel free to join the discussion here…

Researching and writing the report really was very interesting and stimulating indeed, especially the meetings with stakeholders (many thanks to all those who took part).

The report raises a number of different issues which we might like to discuss, but here are just a couple to get us going.

How does an organisation meet the need to be agile and responsive in web2.0 if it needs to outsource its translation?

What should be done with User Generated Content – should it be translated, deleted if in the “wrong” language…?

In the light of comments to my previous posts about the Welsh language blog deficit, is it inevitable that the language which is perceived of as having the largest audience will be more attractive to users generating content and what implications would this have for the other language(s)?

What actually are the most significant concerns for organisations who wish to deliver web2.0 services bilingually?

Feel free to discuss these points, the report, or any other points you feel are relevant.

January 17, 2008
» Vista and Office 2007

Yes, I know it happened a month ago – I’ve been busy! But just in case anyone did miss it, the Welsh Windows Vista and Office 2007 Language Interface Packs were launched in December.

An interesting snippet from the press release:

“The project involved the translation of 600,000 words in to the Welsh language.”

I am quite impressed by this statistic – that is a lot of words. When you see numbers like these it makes you realise how important translation memories are. It would be interesting to know how many new words needed translated. I imagine that after the initial translation, the translation involved in software upgrades must be relatively small. I would still very much like to see a white paper about the localisation issues encountered in this project. I think it would provide a fascinating insight into the process and potential pitfalls and would prove useful for other localisation projects. Perhaps the WLB could make it a requirement the next time the job comes round for tender?

I’m very reassured that Microsoft has demonstrated a continuing commitment to providing Welsh language software, as I did initially have concerns about this. I’m also glad that there isn’t too much lag between the English and Welsh language versions being released. However, I still wonder about what can be done practically to address the issues of take-up. My own feeling is that we ought to be concentrating on getting it into schools., so that a generation grows up with Welsh as a language of computing. However this makes assumptions about the software that is already in schools, the availability of appropriate teaching materials (in Welsh and featuring the Welsh interface) and teachers willing and able to use the Welsh software.It seems to me that if there is a “push” from the school and the children, parents are more likely to install it on their home computer (if we can get over their technical concerns – perhaps the WLB or CMC could provide free installathons for parents) and perhaps once the parents have got used to having it at home, they will be instrumental in getting it into the workplace. Of course this is only speculation, and it make be that a more top-down approach, perhaps using existing Welsh Language Schemes, may also be required.

I can’t help feeling that there is genuine potential here, but we really need to think about how we can fully realise that potential.