Regional Translation - Africa

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Numbers in these notes need review!

Where have people been? Tunesia, Egypt (is that Africa), ZA, Senegal

Issues people expect in Africa?

  • Connectivity
  • Infrastructure, cell vs internet
  • Wikipedia not yet going, af, Swahili second, though only 2-3
  • value of localization, prioritize with real life economics
  • traditional view of Africa is changing, cables are going in, though still very poorly connected
  • cell phone localization, cell phone penetration is high. Rural area in ZA, interviewed 1000, 2 computers, 2% fixed line, 78% cell phone
  • localizing cell phones empowers the new uses
  • lots of phones, but still expensive in terms of air time and text messages
  • outsourcing via cell phones via free airtime (USSD)

Technical issues:

  • fonts and encodings, can you write the language in the first place
  • in West Africa in particular, fonts are rare
  • no complex text really, though, but some RTL issues
  • some code points in unicode for some characters in Unicode
  • politics of localization, there is interest, status of multilingual people. People are interested and value localization, but don't actually do it
  • localization "fragmenting" countries as it emphasizes regional languages
  • unfair devide between translators in Africa and l10n company in Europe
  • if it's not a word document, it's magic for localizers and they're already the most tech-savvy folks out there
  • UI space considerations, 1.5 longer in EU languages, but African languages much longer still. Need bigger cell phones :-)
  • Why no African wikipedias?
    • Afrikaans community well connected
    • Swahili mostly by people not in Africa?
  • Skills in Africa exported out of Africa
  • Culture of diaspora, academics just live everywhere in the world and just occasionally visit their origin country
  • Africa-wide project by translate.org.za
    • Where does language sit?
    • Language policies, ICT policies
  • Who do you take to "localization should be part of government policy"
  • Minimal interoperable .... . How do the 26 departments interoperate? How to specify the requirements technically?
  • ANLOG, among others specify which characters are needed for African languages
  • Downloadable fonts on the web help, 10 fonts available, might help wikipedia
  • Unicode needs fonts to take code points
  • Most african scripts are latin-based
  • Motivation can be surprising
    • target audience can be small
    • pride in language
    • catalyze by starting localization with software that people use and see, like Firefox
  • access to localization tools? Online webtool time vs download time for offline tools
  • How much localization can you buy, for how much?
    • Not enough work out there to make a living
    • Significantly higher cost, even though cost of living is much lower
    • Yearly salary? 12-15k euros a year for about 1000 word a day, 20k words a month, Firefox almost over a month
    • Not really a responsibility of software projects, but possibly of local governments
    • Government funding exists in other regions
  • UNESCO playing any role?
  • Mobile devices get non-text UI due to small screen estate, is that going to be differently localized?
  • Cultural issues like "wizard" not having a positive connotation in all cultures
  • Netbooks might a different format