Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Sat Aug 19 2006 - 22:36:07 CDT

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    Hi Mark, As I reflect more on the original issue, and after some
    correspondence with Jim Bennett who has been working on the GTZ-Guinea
    project - it seems that there are a couple of categories of issues. On the
    one hand there are the international development agencies (donor,
    intergovernmental, NGO) who are involved in various ICT4D projects (from
    telecenters to using ICT to produce content) and how current their personnel
    and contractors are about Unicode and multilingual computing. (In some cases
    there is a more basic issue about their interest in working with diverse
    languages, but that's not a problem in this instance.) This may be where the
    Technical Note you mention might be of use in, as I understand it, outlining
    some considerations and approaches to address this need.

    On the level of projects in particular countries, the needs seem to be on
    (1) information re solutions for specific languages - fonts, perhaps
    keyboards, and (2) modules for training on some basics and the specific
    solutions in #1.This, especially information on #1 that can be used also for
    software localization, is part of what the PanAfrican Localisation project
    intends to address with a new web resource - which by the nature of things
    will be an ongoing building process.

    A connection of course is that any info directed to international
    development organizations, in or guided by a Technical Note for instance,
    would alert them to the need to address the specific needs. In addition,
    both should mention the importance of being aware of issues relating to
    crossborder languages - such as common keyboard arrangements, the
    possibility for some content to be adaptable in neighboring countries (there
    may be differences in orthography) etc.

    I may be able to spin a Technical Note off from a larger paper on
    localization in Africa that I'm working on.

    Don Osborn
    PanAfrican Localisation project

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Mark Davis
    Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 12:20 PM

    . . .

    But for the issue that started off this thread -- the GTZ not using
    Unicode -- I don't think any of these books were really applicable. What is
    needed is a guide for "development agencies", which would be really more of
    a short white paper outlining the issues at a very high level. It'd be great
    if one of the people on this thread stepped up to the plate, and submitted a
    technical note on the topic. (

    . . .

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