RE: Globalized lists

From: JFC (Jefsey) Morfin (
Date: Tue Dec 13 2005 - 14:47:22 CST

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    Dear Addison,
    thank you for this interesting short-cut.

    At 18:21 13/12/2005, Addison Phillips wrote:
    >internationalization: writing code
    >localization: tailoring the presentation to each specific language
    >globalization (IBM's definition): "The process of developing,
    >manufacturing, and marketing software products that are intended for
    >worldwide distribution. This term combines two aspects of the work:
    >internationalization (enabling the product to be used without
    >language or culture barriers) and localization (translating and
    >enabling the product for a specific locale)."

    I fully understand it from an industrial point of view. And I do not
    at all support as a networked extended services (to the users)
    person, except if an adequate respect is brought to the users
    culture, language and usage, what is usually not included. Only
    because otherwise the solution does not deliver.

    >"Internationalization is a fundamental architectural approach to
    >enabling software to handle variations in culture, language, or geography."

    This I fully accept. And I disagree with that fundamental approach
    (at least in a part of it) because I think it confuses two different
    layers and permits only one "internationalization". This makes it a
    complex monster:
    with plenty of options. Your approach (as I read it) refuses multiple
    globalisation occurrences?

    I accept all this is not eased by the opposed understanding of
    "international" by the American culture and by the rest of the world.

    "International" in American language means "outside of the USA":
    "internationalization" is therefore an effort to support foreign
    markets "without language or culture barriers". This is manufacturer
    centric (your IBM definition is excellent): no barrier between IBM
    and their markets. But it cannot be multinational and remove the
    barriers _between_ their markets: IBM is their "trait-d'union" and
    tries to involve them all.

    "International" also means in other cultures: "what is common to
    every other nation". This will be the smallest common part to most.
    In most of the cases, "international" means soon "US-ASCII" (due to
    its simplicity, common knowledge and use [in Latin cases]) and
    "American culture" because we all partly know it (taking it as
    "simple" ...), and we know that usually Americans do not know the
    others culture.

    We have opposite readings on "globalization" and "globalisation"; on
    "internationalization" and "internationalisation". Is that all?
    Unfortunately not. By essence we also have opposite readings on
    "localization" which actually means "how to transform an home
    American presentation into a local (foreign) presentation", while we
    consider it as a way to "transform a foreign American presentation
    into an usual (home) one". For you "Words" is an home product, for us
    it is a "foreign" product. When you are unhappy with it you blame Mr.
    Gates, we blame "the Americans"...

    Is that important? It depends. When you develop a user installation,
    a contract to agree to use a program, a quick e-commerce proposition
    it is OK. It is more complex when you need users to adhere to
    procedures, behaviours, etc. But you have already that problem home
    and you tend to have simple (often too simple for us) systems and
    good training, FAQ, etc; we can adapt or learn (but we find them
    oddly organised). But this mean that we use them often inefficiently.
    This is why we are not excited paying them much (hence the
    "international" open source support) because it becomes quite
    different when you really have to relate with individual brains and
    common minds, instead of CPUs and screens. And to get their adhesion.
    Because people from different languages and cultures do not
    understand and see things the same way.

    You want a simple demo: take the word "understand" itself and analyse
    what it means in each language (a very basic exercise when you start
    commercial international intelligence training). It will tell you
    about the way people understand you (or do not understand you) when
    they have been used to their own "understanding" since they are one
    year old. You cannot globalize/localize e-learning, e-health,
    e-procurement, etc. It just do not work. French, German, Italian,
    Spanish, Japanese, etc. do not understand understanding the same way
    .... this is not in a locale file however you need it to sell them
    your products.

    But you can universalise the methods to develop local e-learning
    programs. Localizing programming. It works extremely well. But one
    has to relate with the persons, not with their computerised agents.
    The question is always the same: "who is the master, who is the
    slave: the machine or the user?".

    Programming a machine is fine, but if the program does not appeal on
    the user he will drop it. You want an example? in 34 years commercial
    packet switch supports 800 millions of part time users mainly having
    to use us-ascii mail and written web us-ascii or internationalised
    pages. In ten years mobiles have 1.5 billions 24/366 users. If the
    reason of the difference was that mobiles only deliver "home languages".

    This being said, do not get me wrong. ISO 10646 and all the work
    Unicode does is just great. But if it is to support local
    architectures, i.e. "uni" for universalisation and not for
    "unification". I am happy that Unicode can provide a universal grid,
    discover universal rules, store experience about all the differences
    and can help. But I prefer to stay with my "one byte one char"
    system, being French, Russian, Japanese, etc.

    Internationalisation is not the only level you program: you also
    program in scripts.

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