The Sustainability Movement: Enabling Your Community to Localize Your Platform

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Facilitated by Peggy Duvette, Wiser Earth

Session Description

Peggy will discuss Wiser Earth's use of the open source tool Launchpad to localize with Wiser platform. Included in the dialog will be learnings from the community building aspect of the project, where all translations were done by volunteers.

Session Notes

This session was combined with the session "Is your audience multilingual and are you reaching them?"

Session co-facilitated by Peggy Duvette and Dwayne Bailey

Note-taking by John Kenyon


How do you know what you should be tackling around localization issues like language Certain things to watch out for

Moderators: Peggy from Wiser Earth; Wayne from Translate, Unlock South Africa

Participant areas of interest

How people use different tools print, web, etc.

When is it good to localize? When to recommend it to clients re: websites

Communicating with employees who speak different languages

Managing content that is produced in a language we don't understand

Communities using idioms, different ways for communities

How do you fundraise globally, as communities use different languages

Supporting chapters, helping local communities

When do you engage in localization

Organizational dynamics of localization, who has power, control, how to figure that out

Collaboration among Nonprofits in international projects, how to support the collaboration

Issues with a Content Management System that is multilingual and localizable, the more languages your software and site are available in the more people will be interested in it

Regional localization - terms having different meaning - Subeditors vs. Copy editors

Issues translating to French, Spanish, Portuguese re: the branding aspects of localizing, can they pronounce our name

When to localize, like Craigslist, yahoo, etc. , what are the trigger points, how do you sustain that

What is pushed down in the way of standards and guidelines vs what is pushed up from the local community

When groups merge, how to move forward with localizing


When do we localize

Priority list

What does it mean to localize - translating text from one language to another It can also mean other things besides language, i.e., If there is a picture of white people in a predominantly black area, you need to change the picture. In Saudi, showing boys and girls together in school, doesn't happen so need to show an appropriate version.

Google Translate use is obvious to native speakers

Similar to running a local campaign, focus on local values, paradigms

How to decide when to localize

Tension between scalable solutions and localized solutions. Making them replicate-able and also locally relevant.

User feedback - be sure people want it Adequate Traffic Partners that are local, helping sustain the model Advertisers driving it Yahoo - looks at revenue potential based on all of those things

Smaller models, if you don't have the staff to support adding other countries, focus on the community wanting it. Figuring out how many people count, is it 1,000, 10,000?

Needs leadership and vision, is part of your vision to be global?

Partners, i.e., net squared wanted to localize, wiser earth took the opportunity, triggered the translation, etc., without partnering may have happened more slowly for both.

Crowd-sourcing localization projects Example of Songbird, open source music project, crowd source translation, developer evangelist cultivated translation projects, managing them, inspiring translators, really hard work to herd the cats, different carrots for different people. Leaving it all out to the community is not as quick vs. having someone seeding the work, moderating, having a hub and touchpoint for the developer projects, having another focused on the translations work, translating

Crowdsource is never really a crowd, the crowd may be one or two people, it is really community localization. That is why most companies never go beyond 35 languages, community translation is expensive,

Use of Launchpad, you upload code, can recycle existing translations, contributed back to open source community the translations we created.

If I only speak English how do I know if the translation is any good? Must have an advocate native speaker, on Launchpad things are reviewed. Must have an advocate who speaks that language

Translation is only 30 percent of the work, tailoring the home page, providing support, urls, etc. Is the other 70%.

Advocate structure is really important. Spanish advocate, handles Spanish speaking world, she also manages support forums on her own language.

The wrong time to localize is when you don't have volunteers or partners that can help you create and maintain it

If there is a volunteer model, can be organic. For example we have a passionate person in Vietnamese, so have lots of content in it

Best practices

Having people on the ground, when someone has a question, having someone there to answer is important.

Localize software, make sure you have support, localize your site, localize your documentation

Localize the site, grow the culture, establish brand, go after partnerships, Expectations are different, traffic, behaviors are different, must measure what works in your local community.

Some places are more successful with face to face, can be important to the early adoptee,

System of rewards is key - they are passionate so you have to find something that says thank you, helping them. Helping them become the early adoptee, giving access to new things before they go public, send them a t-shirt, saying thank you

Game developer gave game credits for helping with code, a way to localize rewards

Fly local advocates to developers conference

Sometimes If you ask people if they need this they say no, so determining needs can be a challenge.

Are you localizing to the target audience or to the majority language, French vs. Native African tongue. May speak English at work but Spanish at home, need to provide solutions in their native language not just the country majority.

Language vs culture, have to meet the culture where they are. Even tribes within countries can have local customs, i.e, how they talk about money, other topics, being aware/sensitive to what is acceptable, appropriate

Language advocates, give them a feeling of ownership, give them a budget for going to conferences, etc. So they feel ownership.

Letting go of having control. Empower local advocates

Don't translate all content, only content relevant to culture, so the platform and website is a lot of translation, but content is different

Don't have to do everything, try doing things the environment allows, you can support

Meeting the culture, need to do face to face events if that is what works in that community, having a print flyer, some times is more popular, depends

Doing a series of speaking engagements, because some places if you are not at conferences you do not exist, must have personal contacts, but in some places you can connect online. Like trying to get people to use software or join a community, may need to do the face to face

Content, managing the message and content Example of the 1010 campaign, provided logo, tagline, etc and messaging guidelines But once they had partners, they failed to have meetings on strategy to reach individual networks, needed a few calls to be clear on the message, guidelines, etc. Need both pieces to be successful

Sometimes you have interns that explain what you do better than the ED. Letting go of control is important

Email list have to build it and control what local areas do with it, manage different lists, be more transparent, make content available How many emails, who to give the email addresses to?

Have to have someone monitor emails that are sent out, have guidelines, enforce them, separate communications. local teams going crazy vs. Home office. Manage that with formal partnerships with screamers (vocal advocates) to give them the job to manage local communications. Sometimes having eager volunteer coordinators, may say things they can't take back

Writing guidelines, providing facts, stories, media training Keep the MSG simple Figuring out capacity to manage it all, maintain relationships

These conversations have to happen before you start it

Audience awareness

Using metrics locally to understand what the local audience cares about, provide content that the community wants, not just what you want them to know

Figure out what can you do with little time and money, try that first

BBC wales website - Hover over words to see the translation using simple language, had unexpected results, must test what you do and see if it works

Techniques to correctly translate, make sure quality is good

Have 2 native speakers review content, then have reviewers who use it in context to see if it works

Look at the English content, modify the source language, get rid of idioms, buzzwords that don't translate.

Consider retranslating back into English, dates other info may be translated wrong

Doing back translations, translate, translate back, but that can be expensive

Multiple reviewers who understand that field so it is not just a native speaker but one who works in the specific field. Define terminology have words and definitions so they are explained

Can ask for volunteers to review a doc, ask someone to review a translation

Have guideline for translators, if you don't know something, tell them to skip it, so there is no pressure to translate things they don't understand

Trying using video without words, but different videos must relate to the cultures did a great image with illustrations that was very effective

Chatted with someone who work with kids, keeping the story simple. give them pictures, give it to the translator to create the story based on images tool that l lets you do subtitles

Produce videos in local language but add English subtitles

Wrap up

Definition of localization: address language, culture and need to being mission to bear

Control, stay on top of how your message is being translated

To localize have to be ready to support and maintain it

Need to have native tongue expert and advocate

Have to go big before you get big (build capacity before launching)

Establishing metrics and measuring them regularly to see what works

Have a focus group with communities to understand their needs