Community Unicode: The Challenges and
Successes Behind the Award-Winning Multikulti Website
Daniel McQuillan - London Advice Services Alliance

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, Testers, Font Designers, Site Coordinators, Web Administrators, Web Designers, Anyone involved in the end-to-end process of generating translated content for web delivery in minority languages to a non-technical user group

Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The purpose of this presentation is to share the challenges and successes of the global award-winning Multikulti project. As a charity, Multikulti is a unique application of cutting-edge Unicode technology to generate and deliver essential translated content to disadvantaged minority communities in the UK.

The paper will cover software problems associated with content generation, development of a UTF-8 enabled CMS with bilingual navigation that also complies with accessibility standards, and location of font resources that allow non-technical users to view complex scripts. The paper will also cover our PANGLOSS open source terminology management package. As well as technical aspects, we will describe how the technology has been used to enable culturally appropriate translations and community decision-making about content.

The conclusions will state how important it is for governmental and non-profit organisations to engage with the opportunities of Unicode technology in order to deliver accessible services to their diverse citizenships. There will be a description of how the site now addresses a massively increased user-base via multilingual search engine indexing. We will also signpost key technical developments in the areas of open source software, community language live-CD distributions and screen-reading technology.

Attendees who will benefit include anyone involved in the real-world implementation of multilingual websites and services, especially those for low-GNP languages and communities.

The business benefits include; reaching wider user communities, creating user benefit through culturally appropriate content, terminology management as a way to enable social inclusion, and how to deploy complex technology as part of a non-technical service.