Category Archives: internationalisation

Lost in translation

Opinions are split on whether the battle for web standards in won or not with many claiming that web standards are now no longer the vanguard but mainstream. Awareness is higher, laws exist to reinforce it and there is a good grass roots army of developers out there who will do their darnedest to built accessible standards compliant websites.

This is undoubtably a better situation than the dark days of the browser wars which saw fragmentation on such as scale that no one gained anything, expect for perhaps Microsoft’s Internet Explorer presiding over the collapse of Netscape.

Living in the UK and having been in the industry for ten years I can safely say that working practices and awareness is vastly improved. So much so in fact that the focus is now on ensuring that businesses build standards compliant websites properly (rather than at all) and that we focus on education within universities and colleges.

This is not the case everywhere. Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America all have a slightly different battle on their hands with raising awareness of web standards. China and Korea, for example are locked into using IE6 and ActiveX which is what most banking and e-commerce websites rely on (so mush so in fact the Google Chrome is considering supporting ActiveX so that it can get its slice of the market share in Korea). In addition to this resources in Chinese are scarce making it hard for people to get the information they need.

So what do we need?

Up to date, quality resources in multiple languages that can empower not only developers and designers but also bloggers, evangelists and advocates. As part of my work for the Web Standards Project we are looking at getting as many translations done and made available as possible, and this is where you come in. If you’re intrested in translating, have suggestions of articles you’d like to see translated or are in a position to spread the word via your networks be it Twitter, your blog, Facebook or anything else then let us know.

Details about getting involved in translating articles are available on the WaSP blog and by all means you can leave a comment here too.

Translations so far

E-mail error ends up on road sign

The English is clear enough to lorry drivers - but the Welsh reads: I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated.

W3C translation search tool

Reading specifications isn’t always at the top of everyone’s to-do list but if you’re working on the web and need to pinpoint the exact usage of HTML or CSS quite often you find yourself buried in a spec trying to figure something out.

This is all well and good if your native language is English but can become a quagmire of tech talk and mumbo jumbo if not. Thankfully, as Richard Ishida lead of the Internationalisation Group pointed out to me today, those nice chaps at W3C have a fair amount of their work already translated and available for you to search using their nifty littleĀ  translation search tool.

It may not look pretty but it lets you search by language, topic, translator and translation dates. Here you’ll find lots of resources covering internationalisation, accessibility, tutorials and much more.

Web standards round up for China

I just posted a Buzz article about web standards in China on the Web Standards Project (WaSP) website. When over there in October I spent time with some really smart developers and students talking about web standards and trying to better understand the situation in China. The article is really a round-up of a few top level observations as there is so much to learn and understand.

I’m hoping that over the coming months the International Liaison Group part of WaSP can get more articles up about what is going on in different countries around the world and get more translated resources out there. As a native English speaker it’s easy for me to take for granted the amount of resources in English available to me.

My blog is blocked in China and WaSP isn’t so I’ve closed comments here so comments can all be visible over on WaSP. If you have any thoughts let us know there.

Finally a huge thank you to JunChen Wu who gave up his precious Sunday afternoon to translate the article.

Beijing website part two: Internationalisation (#080808)

All eyes are on the Beijing 2008 Olympics with the opening ceremony happening as we speak. For those of us not lucky enough to be there we have to rely on TV, radio and the web to find out the latest news, scores, timetables and updates.

The Beijing 2008 website is going to arguably be the worlds most popular website in the coming weeks but just but how accessible is it for people with disabilities as well as people from different cultural and linguisticĀ  backgrounds?

Published today Beijing 2008 Part Two: internationalisation looks at how “friendly” the site is for international visitors and published last year Beijing 2008 Part One: accessibility gives a top level overview of how well the site renders for people with disabilities.

Leading the WaSP International Liasion Group

I’m really excited and honoured to say that together with Lisa Herrod, aka Scenariogirl , I will be taking over leadership of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) International Liaison Group (ILG).

We’ll be stepping up to the table to replace Glenda Sims aka Glenda the Goodwitch and Steph Troeth (a tough double act to follow if ever there was one) who have done an amazing job creating a dynamic group of international web standards advocates. Glenda is moving on to be a WaSP co lead while Steph is getting more involved in the Education Task Force who are doing amazing work on the Curriculum Project . Glenda and Steph – you’ll be missed!

To give you some background ILG is an international collective of web professionals promoting the global use of standards to ensure an equitable Web. objectives of the group are:

  • Discuss with and inform the public about Web standards and accessibility issues as they relate to the practices and laws within particular countries and/or regions
  • Publish multilingual educational information
  • Provide resources about Web standards through such outreach as blogs, books, articles, presentations, code, design, vision and leadership
  • Internationalize relevant documents and resources for the public use
  • Encourage and invigorate international discussion about the Web
  • Study how the Web is and will be used in a global context

For translations of these objectives visit the translations of ILG goals and objectives page.

Having worked in the group for over a year now I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many of the fifty plus members who are located all over the world. They’re an impressive bunch of people and I can’t wait to get more involved. Come September I’ll be travelling more; attending conferences and on tours, and I hope to meet more folks, not just from ILG but involved in web standards everywhere, in person and learn more about what is going on in various countries and regions.