Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Localization

Yesterday I met some people at the Universiteit of Amsterdam the topic was there use of a content management tool called Sakai. This tool is to be used for a collaboration and learning environment for education. It is a tool that is used very much in universities.

At the UvA they want to use it as a shared environment for Dutch and Iranian students. This is in and of itself a splendid idea. The software is open source so much can be done with the software. I recommended that they should localize the software into Persian in order to provide a friendly environment. For me one of the bigger challenges was that Sakai provides a wicks environment but with a high level of authorization of what people can and cannot see. The challenge is how to make such an environment get to its tipping points where its community takes off and becomes autonomous in its action. Carving it up makes it much more problematic I expect.

The people who wrote the software however were braindead when it came to the use of their software in other languages. I learned from the University of Bamberg that they will not use it because localization is done by changing texts that can be found in the source code. A university in Spain I was told decided not to upgrade the software because it was not feasible to localize the software again..

It is sad when a tool with such promise is dead in the water because it was not considered that in order to be useful you have to allow for proper localization.

Thanks,
GerardM
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