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Sidar 7th annual conference - a "report"

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 03:25:11 +0000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <A710B8A7-18AD-11D8-AA52-000A958826AA@sidar.org>

Hi folks,

the week before last Sidar held its seventh annual conference (VII 
Jornadas) - for the first time not in a spanish speaking city but in 
Lisbon, Portugal. The following is my personal "report" - I have not 
covered everything, nor is it especially balanced, but i thought an 
idea of what happens in the IberoAmerican world might be interesting.

Sidar works in all IberoAmerican languages - mostly Castellano 
(spanish), but we have had a strong collaboration with Portugal since 
the launch of work there on Web Acessibility and the 1999 law enacted 
in Portugal following Francisco Godinho's presentation of an electronic 
petition to the Portuguese parliament (something that involved several 
portuguese or world "firsts"). We don't have a lot of work going on in 
Euskera (Basque), or Guarani, but there are a number of people working 
in Gallego or Catalan as well as Portuguese.

One of the highlights for me was to see Francisco again - it has been 
years since we met face to face, and  he was one of the first people I 
worked with on accessibility specifically in Europe.

In general, it was great to be in Portugal. Two of the coordinators of 
Sidar's interest groups are portuguese speakers - one from Portugal and 
one from Brasil, and it helped to be able to broaden the low-level 
coordination that comes from people being active in communities (like 
WAI IG) by going to them. It also made me learn something more about 
portuguese, and again reinforced the importance of clear, simple 
communication.

Sidar's conference has been mobile for a few years - Argentina and 
Tenerife have been past venues, and next year we will be in Puerto 
Rico, followed by Spain, and bidding for the tenth Jornadas in South 
America is starting to firm up.

Some cool presentations (this is :
Blindux - a talking linux system designed for low-end machines, that 
includes user applications to make a very simple, low-cost environment. 
At this stage it isn't a complete programmers environment, but it is 
meant for people to get work done at low cost, a goal it accomplishes 
well.

The new W3C Spanish Office - FICYT is an organisation Sidar has 
collaborated with for some years, and we look forward to continuing 
good relationships (as well as to them taking on some of the workload 
we have been doing, for example coordination of translating 
specifications ;-)

Accessibility in Brasil - there is a lot of cool work done there, 
including an entire operating system designed for people with special 
needs.

The Spanish Education Minister and their general approach to online 
education.

EuroAccessibility - it was nice to see that ONCE (a very important 
organisation for blind people in Spain) also considers it important. 
Presenting it, I made my slides in Portuguese - a first for me (Thanks 
to Jorge Fernandes for help with translation).

A guy who was deaf and had very low vision, and the interpreters who 
typed everything in portuguese onto his laptop. Using a screen of 5x2 
characters was a bit tricky because the long words didn't fit, but it 
apparently was what he wanted, and it meant I could follow that sitting 
a couple of rows back.

And thanks to the portuguese people who have given talks at sidar in 
the past - I realise now that they sometimes heavily modified the way 
they speak to help spanish people, and that it was extremely useful to 
make the communication work (and give me some idea of how to prepare 
for speaking real portuguese).

Thanks to Cláudia, Emmanuelle, Jorge, and everyone else who worked so 
hard to make it happen, and helped me out in various ways.

And thanks to all the cool people I got to talk to there about neat 
stuff - using RDF to save endangered south american languages, cool new 
developments in tools, new translations and original material, the many 
CDs produced by various groups (Sidar, Acesso, FMC, etc) full of 
resources for accessibility in a useful and helpful organised 
structure, ...

cheers

Chaals

--
Charles McCathieNevile                          Fundación Sidar
charles@sidar.org                                http://www.sidar.org
Received on Sunday, 16 November 2003 22:25:44 GMT

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