[fr] Une proposition de conférence sur le multilinguisme et internet, pour Web 2.0 Expo à Berlin en novembre. J'ai un peu laissé passer le délai, mais advienne que pourra.
I’m sending in a (very late) talk proposal for Web 2.0 Expo, Berlin. Here’s the description I sent them, for my personal records, mainly. We’ll see what happens.
Title: Waiting for the Babel Fish: Languages and Multilingualism
Short description: Languages are the new borders of our connected world, but our tools make them stronger than they have to be. Most people are multilingual: how can language-smart apps help us out of the Internet’s monolingual silos?
Full description: The Internet is the ideal space to reach out to a wide public. However, if geographical boundaries are non-existent, linguistic barriers are all the more present.
Localization is a first step. But though most people and organizations recognize the necessity of catering to non-English audiences, some assumptions on how to do it need to be challenged. For example, countries and languages do not overlap well. Also, most people do not live and function in exclusively one language.
However necessary, localization in itself is not sufficient in getting different linguistic communities to emerge from their silos and mingle.
Multilingual spaces and tools will weaken the linguistic borders by allowing multilingual people of varying proficiency to act as bridges between communities otherwise incapable of communicating.
Till today, unfortunately, our tools are primarily monolingual even when correctly localized, and multilingualism is perceived as an exception or a fringe case which is not worthy of much attention — when in fact, most human beings are multilingual to some extent.
Previous incarnations: for the record again, previous incarnations of this talks (or, to put it slightly differently, other talks I’ve given about this topic):
Speaker blurb: Stephanie Booth lives in Lausanne, Switzerland and Climb to the Stars,
The Internet. After a degree in Indian religions and culture, she has
been a project manager, a middle-school teacher, and is now an
independant web consultant. More importantly, she’s been bilingual
since she could talk, has lived in a multilingual country since she
was two, and been an active web citizen in both English and French
since she landed online in the late 90s.