I’m delighted to be presenting, once again, to the 39th Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC39). The conference is the gathering of my “tribe”, people who are as enthusiastic about language, text, and software as I am. If you like this stuff, it’s the best place in the world to be for those three days, so please register and join us there.
My presentation is, Building Localization Capacity Through Non-specialist Developers. Here’s the abstract:
Compared to 25 years ago, by any reasonable standard, we internationalization engineers have won. Unicode is the dominant character encoding, platforms have strong i18n support, global product sales are common, localization is ubiquitous. More and more of the tasks that used to belong to the “international” team are being done by the generalist engineers. So where will the next advance in i18n sophistication and l10n productivity come from? One important element is to enlist generalist software developers. Change “international” from an inscrutable mystery to a discipline like databases, performance analysis, user experience, or testing: complex and important, but with an essential summary which every developer should know. Teach them the essentials of “international”. Help them avoid making innocent mistakes that obstruct i18n later. Show them how they can prepare more for l10n, without having to become “international specialists” and attend IUCs.This talk is a “train the trainer”, by i18n specialists for i18n specialists who will train the non-specialists. It goes through the themes the author has found effective in reaching non-specialist developers. Bring your own ideas for what non-specialists should know. You will leave the talk with a CC-licensed slide deck which you can adapt for teaching your own local non-specialist software developers about “international”.
This topic is something of a response to a thread of presentations in recent IUC years, about how to get product groups to do i18n better by means of checklists, scorecards, training, and more. I think this is a different way to approach the challenge. I also think it’s an idea that hasn’t been presented at the Unicode conferences, as far as I know. It will be interesting to see if attendees agree with me that it holds more promise. If they do, I hope some of them will start presenting it — or hire me, at eye-wateringly high consulting rates — to deliver it for them.
It is a new topic for me. In recent years, my IUC contribution has been a tutorial on building multilingual websites with Drupal and Joomla. This year, I offered the Program Committee both the tutorial and this topic, and they picked the new work.
The Internationalization and Unicode Conference takes place October 26-28, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Santa Clara, California, USA. My session is on Wednesday afternoon.