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RE: Business Case for i18n?

From: Marco Cimarosti <marco.cimarosti@essetre.it>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 20:27:16 +0200
Message-ID: <27E7FB58F42CD5119C0D0002557C0CCA03F922@XCHANGE>
To: "'Al Gilman'" <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, www-international@w3.org
Al Gilman wrote on www-international@w3.org:
> From time to time I get the opportunity to answer questions 
> like "Why mark
> stuff as in Maori?  Almost nobody can read it, anyway."
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2001AprJun/thread.html#709
> In a rapid glance over the Internationalization home page at W3C I found
> lots on 'how' to internationalize the Web but I didn't instantly stumble
> the story 'why' that I could cite.
> Some brief and pungent explanation of how "Without i18n, we can just drop
> the first two W's in WWW" would be handy for those of us conversing with
> those who don't have the intercultural experience to "get it" without a
> little light explanation.

You could use the old rhetoric trick of replying with a question.

Ask them the *same* question with "English" in place of "Maori".

Then make a pause to allow your audience to think "But this is not the same
thing!", then translate the question in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese,

While the audience is still shocked by your linguistic skills, start writing
on the blackboard  some statistics about this language (e.g.

First write the English figure, then add other languages and sum them up as
you write them.

I am sure that, while English is getting smaller and smaller compared to the
running total, your interlocutors will start feeling more and more "Maori".

If you are holding a slide show or discussing by e-mail, you could use
Michka Kaplan's "Everybody is Provincial" page as a written version of
basically the same story:


_ Marco
Received on Wednesday, 13 June 2001 14:27:58 UTC

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