The Beginning of My Localization Journey!

Localization” this is a word unknown to me until recently. When I first heard of it I thought it means using local made goods or manufacturing some local goods. I became that merchant who is always in search of local markets to sell the goods. But, obviously when you don’t know what it is we ask. After recalling all my analysis of the word in my local memory the real meaning came with a little surprise. I was happy thinking “At least my analysis reached considerably ok results”. OH! the big question is still not revealed “What is localization?”. Dictionary says

“the process of making something local in character or restricting it to a particular place.”

Wikipedia says:

Language localization, the process of translating a product into different languages or adapting a product for a specific country or region.

Internationalization and localization, the adaptation of computer software for non-native environments, especially other nations and cultures”.

This seems to explain all of it in a single line.
Now the sequel question “Why should we Localize?”. As told before it is simply to facilitate people to use technologies in their own language. Let me tell you why I do Localization.

My mom and dad both are educated and read and write English. But they have always used the social networking sites, web browsers and anything and everything they can in Telugu. I always complained about them using Telugu as default language because I had to always switch back to English if I want to use. When asked why, they told we are much comfortable using Telugu than English. Somewhere in my mind I realized how comfortable one feels in his own language.

On exploring a little more, I found shocking statistic of how many people are literate but cannot read and write English. Their comes the biggest setback. A person is educated enough but not educated enough to use internet and other technologies. How wrong does it sound when we hear

“Language is the barrier for people benefiting from all the good works in Internet and Technologies”?

That is when I understood the importance and necessity of Localization. When researched about the Telugu Localization communities I was overwhelmed to see so many FOSS projects being translated and has their own contributor base.Here are a few I have seen
Wikipedia

Mozilla

Swecha

Debian

Libre Office

Open Street Maps

Drupal

Yes, I have translated not more than 3500 strings but I am happy with what I have been doing all these while. It’s fun translating when you have friends competing along to finish up the projects. It’s double fun when you are sarcastically scolded for not informing your friends about the new project you have been translating. It’s a proud moment when you see your name in the Contributors list. This is when you know your work is recognized and your time and hard work are given value and respect.

This weekend (i.e 29th and 30th July,2017) we have a Telugu L10n meetup organised by Mozilla, Swecha and Telugu Wikipedia. Join me and explore this new world of Localization.

Sahithi

A software engineer by profession. A micro writer by passion.