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.

2 thoughts on “Lost in translation

  1. Excellent website — I’m still somewhat new in the web accessibility arena, and find blogs like yours informative and inspirational. Will be visiting regularly.

    The internationalism of web standards is an interesting topic. I know with accessibility, I’m finding it interesting to see how different countries tackle the subject. The UK seems a bit ahead of the curve comparatively, the US seeming to slowly take it more seriously (more higher-profile lawsuits will probably accelerate that).

    Spreading the word globally through translations is an excellent goal. Good luck!

  2. Hi Steve, glad you find the site useful, and thanks for the feedback. It can be daunting starting out in accessibility because there is so much info out there but the good thing about that is there are a lot of folk who are always happy to help, myself included.

    I think we are quite lucky in the UK with web standards (there is still work to be done though, don’t get me wrong). Like you I’m interested in how different places deal with it and am really keen to see if we can take lessons learnt in the UK and elsewhere to help boost accessibility and standards elsewhere.
    I’ve been focusing a lot of my time on doing this via WaSP so do pop over for updates from time to time.

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