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RE: Re[2]: Business Case for i18n?

From: Eric Jarvis <webmaster@befrienders.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 10:27:35 +0100
To: <www-international@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NEBBIHPCGLLJLCMNKHFLGEBECEAA.webmaster@befrienders.org>
I'm very lucky in working for an organisation that is determinedly
global from board level down. We currently have our site in 10
languages with 5 more following later this year.

One thing is very striking. When we add a new language we get more
visitors to the site. In commercial terms, more languages means more
business. It's very clear the new visitors are using the translated
pages, the traffic elsewhere on the site doesn't drop, and the
figures for visitors from the countries where the newly added
language is spoken rise dramatically.

If you need a "bottom line" argument that's the one. We are a
charity so I don't have to justify the translations financially. If
I had to I have NO doubt that it would be very obviously worthwhile.

One final point. There are ideas that are easy to express in some
languages but difficult or impossible in others. Anyone who speaks
both English and Italian will know how many concepts related to time
and duration simply can't be translated accurately. This means that
diversity of language encourages diversity of thought. So whilst it
may be convenient in the short term to try to standardise as much as
possible into English, in the long term it will be limiting.

There you go, philosophically and economically the right thing to
do. Anyone think they can come up with a medical advantage of being

Eric Jarvis
Assistant Manager, BI Online
Tel: ++44- (0) 20- 8541 4949
website: www.befrienders.org

-----Original Message-----
From: www-international-request@w3.org
[mailto:www-international-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
Sent: 13 June 2001 20:33
To: www-international@w3.org; avine@Eng.Sun.COM
Cc: asgilman@iamdigex.net
Subject: Re[2]: Business Case for i18n?

This is absolutely the sort of change we are attempting here where I
work. They really seem to have a hard time understanding that the
first language a product would be localized into is US English,
followed by whatever additional languages we need to support.

Hang in there Andrea, we are changing 281 million mindsets one at a
time. It's just going to take a bit...


> Along that line, I'm wondering what folks are doing about their
> products.  I'm trying to convince folks that even though the
product is in
> English, it should not be designed only for the USA.  That is,
> formats should be dynamically selected, or user selectable, rather
than in a
> localizable resource file.  So for example someone using the
English product in,
> say, Germany won't see their dates in MM/DD/YY format.
> }sigh{
> Andrea
> iPlanet i18n architect
> Marco Cimarosti wrote:
> >
> > 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."
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > 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
> > on
> > > 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
> >
> > 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,
> > Bengali...
> >
> > While the audience is still shocked by your linguistic skills,
start writing
> > on the blackboard  some statistics about this language (e.g.
> > http://www.sil.org/ethnologue/top100.html).
> >
> > 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:
> >
> >         http://www.trigeminal.com/samples/provincial.html
> >
> > _ Marco
Received on Thursday, 14 June 2001 05:24:22 UTC

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