meetings and conferences
Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Think of the applications programming interface (API) for an application environment: an operating system, a markup language, a language’s standard library. What internationalisation (i18n) functionality would you expect to see in such an API? There are some obvious candidates: a text string substitution-from-resources capability like gettext(). A mechanism for formatting dates, numbers, and currencies in culturally appropriate ways. Data formats for text that can handle text in a variety of languages. Some way to to determine what cultural conventions and language the user prefers. There is clearly a whole list one could make.
Wouldn’t it be interesting, and useful, to have such a list? Probably many organisations have made such lists in the past. Who has made such a list? Are they willing to share it with the internationalisation and localisation community? Is there value in developing a “good practices” statement with such a list? And, most importantly, who would like to read such a list? How would it help them? In what way would such a list add value? Continue Reading »
Delightful! Last week I came home from the gathering of my trip, the 37th Internationalisation and Unicode Conference. My tutorial on Building multilingual websites in Drupal 7 and Joomla! 3 again went well. And I found inspiration, new knowledge, and old friends there.
Those of you looking for my slides and handouts, they are at the preceding link. You are welcome to share them, per their Creative Commons license. I’d appreciate credit when you share them. And I’d appreciate your feedback on this blog’s comments. Continue Reading »
I can’t believe I didn’t announce this before now. I’m delighted to be asked, once again, to present a tutorial on Building multilingual websites in Drupal 7 and Joomla! 3, at the 37th Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC37), this October in Santa Clara, California, USA.
This is my abstract, from the Unicode conference program for my talk: Continue Reading »
OpenDataDay 2013 was celebrated last Saturday, February 23rd 2013, at over 100 hackathons and work days in 38 countries around the world. The City of Vancouver hosted a hackathon at Vancouver City Hall, and I joined in. My project was a language census of Vancouver’s open data datasets. Here’s what I set out to do.
Vancouver’s Open Data Day was a full house of some 80 grassroots activists, with attendance throughout the day by city staff, including Linda, the caretaker of the Vancouver Open Data portal and the voice of @VanOpenData on Twitter. I missed the “Speed Data-ing” session in the morning, where participants could circulate among city providers of datasets to talk directly about was available and what each side wanted. I’m told that national minister the Honourable Tony Clement was also there (who now is responsible for the Government of Canada’s Open Data portal data.gc.ca, but who also in 2010 helped turn off the spigot of open data at its source by killing the long form census). I saw Councilmember Andrea Reimer there for the afternoon working session, and listening to the day-end wrap-ups, tweeting summaries of each project. I won’t try to describe all the projects. Take a look at the Vancouver Open Data Day 2013 wiki page, or the tweets tagged #vodhd13 (for Vancouver), and tagged #OpenData (worldwide).
I gave myself two goals for the hackathon. First, provide expertise and increased visibility for internationalisation and multi-lingual issues among the participants. Second, work on a modest project which would move internationalisation of local data forward.
My vision is that apps based on Vancouver open data should be localised into all the languages in which Vancouver residents want them. Over 30% of the people in the Vancouver region speak a language other than English at home, says Stats Canada. That is over 700,000 people of the 2.9m people in the area. Now of course localising those apps and web sites is a task for the developer. My discipline, internationalisation (i18n), is a set of design and implementation techniques to make it cheaper and easier to localise an app or web site. At some point, an app or web site presents data sourced from an open data dataset. In order for the complete user experience to be localised, the dataset also needs to be localised. A challenge of enabling localisation of open data-sourced apps is to set up formats, social structures, and incentive structures which makes it easier for datasets to get localised into the languages which matter to the end users.
To that end, I picked a modest project for the day. It was to make a language census of the city of Vancouver’s Open Data datasets. The link is to a project page I started on the Open Data Day wiki. I intended it to be a simple table describing the Vancouver, but it ended up with a good deal of explanation in the front matter. I won’t repeat all that, but just give a couple of examples.
The 3-1-1 Contact Centre Interactions dataset (CSV format) has rows like (I’ve simplified):
Category1 , Category2 , Category3 , Mode , 2012-11, 2012-12, 2013-1 CSG - Licenses, Animal Control, Dead Animals Pickup, Voice In, 22, 13, 13
While the Animal Control Inventory Deceased Animals dataset (CSV format) has rows like (again, simplified):
ID, Date ,CatOther , Description ,Sex,ACO , Bag 7126,2013-02-23,SDC , Tan/black medium hair cat, ,Duty driver- JT, 13-00033 7127,2013-02-23,Dead Budgie, , ,Duty driver-JT , 13-00034 7128,2013-02-26,Cat , Black and White ,F , , 13-00035
Note that most of the fields are simply data: dates, numbers, codes. These do not need to be localised. Some of the fields, like the Category fields in the 311 Interactions, are English-language phrases. But they are pulled from a controlled vocabulary, and so could be translated once into the target language, and would not usually need to be updated when new data is release. In contrast, a few fields in the Animal Control Inventory dataset, e.g. CatOther, Description, and ACO, seem to contain free text in English. Potentially, every new record in the dataset represents a new translation task.
The purpose of the language census is to go through the datasets in the Vancouver Open Data catalogue, and the fields for each dataset, and simply identify which fields are data, which are controlled vocabulary, and which are free text. It’s not a major exercise. It doesn’t involve programming. Yet I believe it’s an important building block towards the vision of localised apps driven by open data.
Incidentally, this exercise inspired me to propose another dataset for the Vancouver catalogue: a dataset listing the datasets. There are 130 datasets in the Vancouver Open Data catalogue, and more are on the way. The only listing of them is an HTML page intended for human consumption. It would be nice to have a machine-readable table in CSV or XML format, describing the names and URLs and formats of the datasets in some structured way.
I’m happy to report success at my first goal, also. Several participants stopped by to talk with me about language support and internationalisation. I’m hopeful that it will help the non-English localisation of the apps, and city datasets, happen a little bit sooner.
If you would like to help in the language census, the project page is a wiki, and you are welcome to make constructive edits. See you there! Or, add a comment below.
Another stimulating Internationalisation and Unicode Conference (IUC36) just finished up last week (October 22-24, 2012). As usual it was rich with interesting people, stimulating subjects, and inspiration. My tutorial, Building multilingual websites in Drupal 7 and Joomla! 2.5, was well-attended and seemed to go well. My final paper and slides are posted at the preceding link.
I’m delighted to be asked, once again, to present a tutorial on Building multilingual websites in Drupal 7 and Joomla! 2.5, at the 36th Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC36), this October in Santa Clara, California, USA.
I never met Derek Miller. I take that back. I may well have met him, say at the Northern Voice conference, the annual gathering of the B.C. blogging and social media scene. I almost certainly heard him play drums; I’m told his band, The Neurotics, played at the start line of the Vancouver Sun Run, our annual 50,000 person 10k stampede. Certainly we had a lot of friends in common. But I became aware of Derek Miller through one of his intriguing ideas. I then grew to admire his bravery, his unsentimental clarity, his humour, his compassion, as he compellingly narrated his own journey towards death. And as the community, in which he made waves and I bob in the ripples, mourned him, it became clear how many people loved and admired him.
I first came across Derek when researching what people were learning about digital legacies: what happens to one’s online persona and works when one dies. Derek apparently coined the term “digital executor”, the person who has the responsibility to take over all one’s blogs and accounts and presence on the net on one’s death. I think it is a brilliant term. Continue Reading »
Once again I was fortunate enough to be invited to present at this year’s Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC). I have posted the paper and slides for my tutorial, Building Multilingual Websites in Drupal and Joomla, over on jdlh.com.
This was my abstract, from the Unicode conference program for my talk: Continue Reading »
There is a lot of international, multilingual, and multicultural activity in Vancouver. Also, there’s a thriving tech scene. But there’s no place for the people in the intersection of those two circles — those interested in and working on the internationalisation, localisation, and multilingual aspects of technology projects — to get together and share ideas. I think there ought to be.
And I’ll even propose a name: IMLIG1604, the I18n L10n M11l I6t G3p (Internationalisation, Localisation, and Multilingual Interest Group) for North America’s 604 area code. If you can decipher the title, you’re in the club!
Some 118 different police agencies from across Canada came to the Vancouver area as part of the $900 million 2010 Olympics security effort. The RCMP sent over 4000 officers from provinces across Canada; various municipal police departments sent some 1700 more. (20% of Canada’s policing power was at the Olympics.) I figured it would be fun to say hello to a constable from every one of those agencies. I didn’t get to them all, but it was fun trying.