leahket 120000BBPE Comments (4) Visits (1800)
I joined developerWorks the day it was conceived. In those early days, we were an English-only site and life was simple. Our team had great fun putting together a cool, with-it site highlighting open standards with just a sprinkling of snarky pop culture references. We were writing for, well, people like us: young, or at least young enough to believe we were still young, heads buzzing from the dot-com revolution, surfing the web on North American infrastructure, and, to be honest, blind to millions of internet users outside our own demographics.
The web is a great equalizer. To be accepted as a worldwide site, design, content, and function has to transcend the linguistic, cultural, and technical realities of the small group that manages the site. This is no small leap or feat. It is an adventure best undertaken by the naive, as I was in 2000 when our management decided to open a translated site and needed someone to head up the work. The phrase "Hey, I'll do it!" has slowly chipped away at my North American perspective and continues to ferret out my ingrained biases and assumptions.
What an out-of-the-box experience to be the sole Caucasian at dawn's flag raising in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Reality is subjective, no group owns it.
I have no whiz bang tools to recommend or secret machine translation site to share. But I do have ten years experience trying to work through situations this virtual tower of Babel has thrown at me. Common sense is my strategy, trial and error is my best tool, and humor is my analgesic.
I'll try to share insights from all three on this blog.