Tag: i18n

On globalizing your contact information but still managing to confuse somebody

by on Dec.10, 2011 , under facilitative leadership, localization, random

My friend Ruth M Sylte has been doing a great series on how to internationalize your email signature and other contact information basics, and it reminded me of a funny communication breakdown that I once caused.

A tip for those with Asian audiences

First, a quick backgrounder:

Asian family names come first and given names follow. However, many Asians adapt their names for a Western audience, and Western readers who don’t recognize any of the pieces (e.g. don’t know that Park is a common family name) can’t be sure whether the name they’re seeing is in traditional order or has been adapted. And Westerners can confuse their Asian colleagues when they attempt to be helpful by putting their family name first.

Here’s the solution many global-savvy Asians and their observant Western colleagues have adopted: put the family name in upper-case, e.g.

  • PARK WonJin
  • Erin VANG
  • UCHIDA Noriko
  • Ruth Marie SYLTE

A comment about (Mr), (Ms), etc.

Ruth advises including a title in front of your name, modestly enclosed in parentheses, e.g. “(Ms) Ruth M Sylte.” This a common tactic for disambiguating gender.

For years I included (Ms) before my name for exactly the reasons Ruth anticipates: because I was tired of getting email to “Mr Erin” and “Mr Vang” from people who really had no way to know better.

However, this led to some amusing conversations with Americans who had known me so long that it didn’t occur to them that my given name “Erin” is not particularly common and is sometimes mistaken as a male name (and who also didn’t perhaps realize that women in high tech management positions are still enough of a minority to promote doubt among those who do know the name).

For example, this one:

Story time

Grant (gentleman who had been working with me for years, near the end of a meeting in my office): I noticed you put “Ms” in your email signature.

me: Yes.

Grant: What does that mean?

me: You know–Ms as opposed to Mr.

Grant: Oh. (Uncomfortably long pause.) You’re not saying Ms as opposed to Miss or Mrs.?

me: No, I’m just clarifying gender because I’m tired of being addressed as “Mr” by people who haven’t met me. (And people standing right in front of me, for that matter–yes, a woman can have short hair and be taller than you–but I didn’t bring that up.)

Grant: So you’re not clarifying marital status.

me: No.

Grant: Oh. (uncomfortable chuckle)

Grant says a few pleasantries and exits the office. My office-mate watches him leave, waits a safe moment, and then bursts into gales of laughter.

I raise an eyebrow, and John explains. He has realized what I have not: that while I thought I was explaining that my name is gender-ambiguous to colleagues around the world, Grant was trying to determine whether he could ask me out.

As it happens, I was single at the time as well as female. But there was another question that this perfectly lovely gentlemen neglected to consider, that it never occurred to me he might have even wondered about, and right there, we did it. Two American native speakers of English sitting a few feet away from each other in Chicago, Illinois, USA and observing each other’s body language and everything, still managed to have a total communication breakdown.

I don’t think there’s an email signature solution to that problem, though.

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Erin Vang facilitates again—Localization World, Santa Clara pre-conference session

by on Sep.20, 2011 , under facilitative leadership, localization, program management

Erin Vang will moderate a panel discussion on “Leading Globalized Software Development in Your Company” presented on Monday, October 10, 2011, 2:30-5pm at the Network Meeting Center at Techmart.

Developing Software for the World – Internationalization, Localization and Beyond

This event is by invitation only and limited to 50 participants. Register online and join us on Monday, October 10th at 2:30pm in Santa Clara, CA for an expert presentation and panel discuss on leading globalized software development.

What: Leading Globalized Software Development Presentation and Expert Panel Discussion

When: Monday, October 10, 2011; 2:30-5pm

Where: Network Meeting Center at Techmart

5201 Great America Parkway

Santa Clara, California 95054

Cost: Complimentary

Open to: Lingoport customers and friends (space is limited; approval required)

Registration: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/308146424

Panelists: Tex Texin, Chief Globalization Architect at Rearden Commerce, Andrew Bredenkamp, CEO at Acrolinx, Loic Dufresne de Virel, Localization Strategist at Intel, Richard Faubert, Manager, Software Development QA at Cisco, and Adam Asnes, Founder & CEO of Lingoport.

Panel Facilitator: Erin Vang, Global Pragmatica LLC®

This event is by invitation only and limited to 50 participants. Register online and join us on Monday, October 10th at 2:30pm in Santa Clara, CA for an expert presentation and panel discuss on leading globalized software development.

Customers & friends of Lingoport and Acrolinx are cordially invited to join us for a special event on the eve of Localization World in Santa Clara on Monday, October 10th at 2:30pm. Join us at TechMart for an interactive presentation and expert panel discuss on how to lead globalized software development at your company.

Together, industry experts from Rearden Commerce, Acrolinx, Intel, Cisco and Lingoport will present and discuss:

  • Developing software for the world
  • Closing the loop between internationalization and localization
  • Content authoring with localization in mind
  • Measuring software development for globalization
  • How to justify and gaining approval for software globalization (i18n and L10n) from management
  • Measuring ROI on your globalization projects
  • Agile software development best practices, and much more

The event is open to Lingoport customers & friends and registration is requested. The event targets customer-side internationalization, localization, and globalization managers, software developers and engineers, content developers and technical writer, and anyone interested in understanding and promoting the software globalization process and the effects i18n and L10n have on an organization as a whole.

Agenda

2:30-3:00pm: Introductions and networking.

Coffee and cookies will be provided.

3:00-3:50pm: Presentation and Case Studies: Leading Globalized Development in Your Company

Tex Texin, Chief Globalization Architect at Rearden Commerce and Adam Asnes, Founder & CEO of Lingoport, will discuss how to lead globalized development within a company. Tex and Adam will also showcase real-life case studies and many best practices.

3:50-4:10pm: Break

4:10-5:00pm: Expert panel discuss – To Globalize, or Not. That is the Questions!

We’ll continue the afternoon with an expert panel discussion featuring some of the most experienced industry experts from Rearden Commerce, Acrolinx, Intel, Lingoport and Cisco. Developing software for the world has unique challenges and can add tremendous growth and value to a company’s bottom line. In today’s fast-paced and economically challenging business environment, software companies have very little room to make costly mistakes or to miss out on global opportunities. The goal of the panel discussion is to stimulate debate on a variety of software development, globalization, internationalization and localization related issues. Panel members will discuss real-world best practices and answer and discuss questions from the audience.

5:00-6:00pm: Open Bar – Networking and Discussion

We’ll conclude the afternoon with a networking session and drinks sponsored by Acrolinx and Lingoport. Many of us will then probably head over to the LocWorld opening reception dinner.

Round Table Facilitator

Erin Vang

Erin Vang, PMP, is Principal Pragmatist with Global Pragmatica LLC®, which offers facilitative leadership for technical audiences. She has over twenty years of experience in statistical software documentation, quality assurance, project management, and localization, most recently as International Program Manager for the JMP Research and Development at SAS, and previously with Abacus Concepts and SYSTAT. Vang holds degrees in music performance and math, is a PMI-certified Project Management Professional, and has extensive training in facilitative leadership and conflict resolution. She writes a regular column for Multilingual magazine and is in much demand as a speaker, event moderator, and facilitator.

Panelists

Tex Texin

Chief Globalization Architect at Rearden Commerce

Tex Texin, chief globalization architect at Rearden Commerce, has been providing globalization services including architecture, strategy, training and implementation to the Tex Textin - internationalization expertsoftware industry for many years. Tex has created numerous globalize products, managed internationalization development teams, developed internationalization and localization tools, and guided companies in taking business to new regional markets. Tex is also an advocate for internationalization standards in software and on the web. He is a representative to the Unicode Consortium and the World Wide Web Consortium.

Andrew Bredenkamp

CEO at Acrolinx

Andrew Bredenkamp is cofounder and CEO of Acrolinx. Andrew has over 20 years’ experience in multilingual information development. Before starting Acrolinx, Andrew was head Andrew Bredenkamp, CEO at Acrolinxof the Technology Transfer Centre at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence language technology lab. Andrew holds degrees in technical translation and linguistics and a Ph.D. in computational linguistics. He is on the advisory board of a number of organizations, including Translators without Borders and The Centre for Next Generation Localisation.

Loïc Dufresne de Virel

Localization Strategist at Intel Corporation

Loïc Dufresne de Virel is currently a localization strategist within Intel’s in-house localization team. In this role, his main activities include overseeing the use of Intel’s translation Loic Dufresne de Virelmanagement system and deployment of other localization tools, constantly advocating for proper and improved internationalization and localization practices and processes for web, software and “print” collateral, as well as defining the training roadmap for localization and internationalization. Prior to moving to Oregon and joining Intel, where he has been involved in localization for the past 12 years, Loïc spent a few years in Costa Rica, working as a regional technical adviser for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Richard Faubert

Manager, Software Development QA at Cisco

Richard Faubert - CiscoRichard Faubert has over 20 years of experience in telecommunications technical support for ROLM/IBM/Siemens. Richard joined Cisco Systems in 2000 and has worked in a number of capacities, including Software Development Manager and Program Manager. He is currently the QA Manager of Cisco’s TelePresence. Richard is an alumni of Washington State University.

Adam Asnes

President & CEO of Lingoport

Adam Asnes founded Lingoport in 2001 after seeing firsthand that the niche for software globalization engineering products and services was underserved in the localization industry. Adam AsnesLingoport helps globally focused technology companies adapt their software for worldwide markets with expert internationalization and localization consulting and Globalyzer software. Globalyzer, a market leading software internationalization tool, helps entire enterprises and development teams to effectively internationalize existing and newly developed source code and to prepare their applications for localization.

This event is by invitation only and limited to 50 participants. Register online and join us on Monday, October 10th at 2:30pm in Santa Clara, CA for an expert presentation and panel discuss on leading globalized software development.

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Free sample of Erin Vang’s facilitation

by on Aug.04, 2011 , under facilitative leadership, localization, program management

A recording of the webinar panel discussion I moderated yesterday is now available here.

Bridging the gap between software development and localization

If you’re involved in software development, localization, internationalization, or globalization, you should watch this for a great introduction to the issues particularly with regard to stakeholder awareness, education, commitment, and communication—it was a lively panel with more than a few “hot button” topics getting lively debate, featuring a number of industry experts:

  • Val Swisher, Founder & CEO of Content Rules
  • Danica Brinton, Senior Director of International at Zynga
  • Dale Schultz, Globalization Test Architect at IBM
  • Edwin Hoogerbeets, Senior Internationalization Engineer at Palm
  • Adam Asnes, CEO & President of Lingoport
  • Erin Vang, Principal Pragmatist of Global Pragmatica LLC®

Free sample of Erin Vang’s work as a moderator

If you’re in charge of setting up panel discussions or conferences for your company and you’re wondering whether engaging a professional facilitator as your moderator for the event is worthwhile, you might want to watch this as a free sample—see how I work to make the conversation more valuable for the audience members and panel participants. I work as an audience advocate to ensure that the event delivers the content that was promised, that it’s lively and interesting, and that we get past the buzzwords, spin, and hot air right away—we get right into the content.

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Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization

by on Jul.28, 2011 , under facilitative leadership, localization, program management

Erin Vang moderates panel discussion on software l10n

Cross-posted from Lingoport.com

So, you’ve developed a new software application, and have high aspirations in terms of selling your application to a global audience. Now what? Problems often arise between developers, localization managers, and business managers due to perceived lack of support, time, and money.

This lack of understanding can lead to great frustration within the development tiers. Join us for an hour long online panel discussion and learn how some of the best known industry thought leaders are contributing to bridging the gap between software development and localization.

The panel features the following industry thought leaders and experts from the software development, content development, internationalization, and localization industries:

  • Val Swisher, Founder & CEO of Content Rules
  • Danica Brinton, Senior Director of International at Zynga
  • Dale Schultz, Globalization Test Architect at IBM
  • Edwin Hoogerbeets, Senior Internationalization Engineer at Palm
  • Adam Asnes, CEO & President of Lingoport

Online Panel Discussion: “Bridging the Gap Between Software Development and Localization”
Date and Times: Wednesday, August 3rd at 9:30am PT / 10:30am MT / 11:30am CT / 12:30pm ET
Registration: Register for free @ https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/964415249
Where: Your desktop

Erin Vang, Owner of GlobalPragmatica will be facilitating the online panel discussion. Erin has over twenty years of expe­ri­ence in sta­tis­ti­cal soft­ware doc­u­men­ta­tion, qual­ity assur­ance, project man­age­ment, and local­iza­tion, most recently as Inter­na­tional Pro­gram Man­ager for the JMP Research and Devel­op­ment at SAS, and pre­vi­ously with Aba­cus Con­cepts and SYSTAT. She is currently designing a localization program for Dolby Laboratories.

This presentation is intended for technical managers, software engineers, test engineering managers, QA managers, internationalization and localization managers, technical writers, content developers, and anyone wanting to learn more on how to optimize their global software releases.

We’d love to hear from you. Please send any questions or topics you’d like to have discussed during this panel to Chris Raulf @ chris (at) lingoport.com.

Update 4 August 2011

The recording of our panel discussion is now available here.

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North America from the outside in and the inside out

by on Aug.30, 2010 , under localization, random

This article was originally published in slightly-edited form by Multilingual magazine, September 2010 and is reprinted here with permission. Erin Vang would like to thank Multilingual for graciously consenting to republication of this article in the GlobalPragmatica blog.

In 1998 I planned a trip to Norway and set about educating myself. In addition to the usual stack of guidebooks, language books, and cassettes, I picked up a copy of Norway: Culture Shock! A survival guide to customs and etiquette. I hate being the Ugly American when I travel, so I wanted to learn some of the little niceties that would help me blend in.

I enjoyed the book, but it felt inside-out and backwards to me somehow—all kinds of behaviors and cultural details that I considered normal were explained as if they were completely bizarre. It was astonishing to me that, for example, the book went to the trouble of explaining that you shouldn’t ask Norwegians how much money they make. You shouldn’t expect Norwegians to divulge much about themselves to strangers, or even for that matter to friends. When visiting a Norwegian family in their home, you should decline offers of food and drink at first and only relent after repeated offers are made. Further, an offer of “coffee” doesn’t mean a hot beverage. “Coffee” means a full lunch spread, with open-faced sandwiches, a variety of side dishes, perhaps some fruit soup, and at least an assortment of cookies if not cake for dessert. If you’re lucky, there will be leftover dumplings and ham, sliced and fried up together.

Well, duh! That’s normal, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

I should probably mention that I grew up in the snow belt of North America in a series of small towns settled in large part by Norwegian and German immigrants and still populated mostly by their descendants, who tell Ole and Lena jokes and would call a Norwegian-Swedish couple a “mixed marriage.” It turns out that I grew up with a Norwegian sensibility about things.

Eventually I turned to the “About the author” section in the back of the book and learned that she was an Asian woman who had married a Norwegian man and moved to Norway.

So the book was inside-out and backwards for me! Ostensibly it described Norwegian customs, but I learned more about which Norwegian customs seem odd to an Asian and in turn what the Asian norms are. I also learned how my sense of normal differs from the rest of North America, because the very things she pointed out about Norwegians are the traits that have made me stick out since I left the snow belt.

North America from the outside in

I’ve since had the privilege of traveling quite a bit in Asia and Europe as a localization program manager, continuing my inside-out cultural learning over dinners and drinks with my localization teams and in-country colleagues.

What particularly strikes me about Japan is its quiet, compact order and elaborate attention to manners, and upon returning home from Japan I’m always startled by how big, messy, and casual we Americans are. We think nothing of taking a sip of a beer as soon as it arrives, and if we pause for a toast, it’s just “Cheers!” with much noisy banging of glasses, and no attention to whose glass clinks higher or lower. We walk down office hallways talking in full voice, we’re more likely to call something sarcastic into our colleagues’ open doors than to notice whether they’re busy, and by the time we’ve gone past three people’s offices, we’ve walked past more space than a dozen comparable Japanese office-workers would use, and all of it is messier.

Over dinner in Korea one night I learned what I’d never noticed before in years of sampling Korean music, dance, and theater: that it reflects millenia of sadness. Korea’s long history is full of invasions, wars, cultural loss, and great deprivation. Korea’s classical and folk arts express the reserved, wary sadness of a people ravaged for tens of centuries by neighbors in every direction. A Korean attending an arts festival in North America would be stunned to see singers smiling, actors laughing, dancers frolicking, and performers of all types making joyful eye contact with their audiences. Korean arts serve a more important purpose than entertainment and fun: they remember loss and struggle, they record perseverance, they offer perspective about daily challenges in a context of surviving the unsurvivable.

North Americans think we are familiar with Chinese food until we actually visit China and are confronted with the real thing. Theirs is a cuisine of poverty, making the most of scarcity by using parts of the animal we call scraps, using plants we call “weeds,” and using elaborate techniques and richly layered flavors to make them all palatable. We might think that “American food” would seem simple and decadent to Chinese visitors, but in fact they are as perplexed by our foods as we are by theirs. The thing that puzzles them the most? That our foods come in big hunks and separated piles—think of a dinner at a typical American steakhouse, where your plate comes with a huge hunk of meat, an enormous baked potato, and a pile of one vegetable, all arranged so that nothing is touching. I was startled to discover that the foods my Chinese colleagues preferred were those that mingled meats and vegetables in one dish, all in one-fork pieces, such as a casserole. Their comfort had nothing to do with the flavors and everything to do with shapes!

North America from the inside out

What most North Americans probably don’t consider is that we are all outsiders in North America. Our planet’s third largest land mass after Asia and Africa is home to twenty more nations besides the biggest three, Canada, the United States, and Mexico. We are all outsiders in twenty-two of those countries. Narrowing the focus to just the US, our nation’s young history is one of myriad immigrant and native cultures settling tiny pockets of a vast continent. Cultures have blended to a certain extent with those of the other peoples in the vicinity, and the resulting regional identities persist to the present. The lines are starting to blur in the age of national and global television, radio, and internet, but the potential for cultural conflict and misunderstanding is far greater than many people realize. I’ll share a few of the more amusing examples from my own life.

When I left my Norwegian enclave in the snow belt and arrived in Chicago for grad school, I couldn’t figure out why my friends never offered me anything to eat or drink when I visited. It wasn’t until some fellow Norwegian-Lutheran-Minnesotans from my alma mater joked about our common tendency to turn things down three times before accepting that I realized what the problem was. My friends did offer me drinks and snacks, but out of Norwegian-American habit, I always said something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m fine–no, thank you.” But that was that! My friends didn’t realize that the first three times you offer something don’t count!

I spent about a dozen years working for SAS and traveling frequently to corporate headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. Much later I found the Culture Shock! series book on the American South and finally began to understand some of my experiences there. When my colleagues had responded to one of my ideas with, “Bless your heart!” they weren’t gratefully commending my cleverness—they were saying, approximately, “Oh, you poor baffled freak… you just don’t understand anything.” When they called me “Yankee,” it wasn’t a slight as I thought; they were just acknowledging that I was different. When I jokingly called myself a “damn Yankee” once, I was corrected with a smile: “You’re not a ‘damn Yankee’! You’re just a Yankee. Damn Yankees are the ones who don’t leave.”

We’re all outsiders

When a friend of yours grieves a death in the family or is recovering from surgery, do you send flowers?

What on earth for? What good are the flowers going to do anyone? Where I’m from, we make a tuna noodle hotdish complete with crumbled potato chips on top, and we bring it over to the house, hot and ready to serve, in a casserole carefully labeled with our last name on a piece of masking tape. We do this whether we like tuna noodle casserole or not, because it’s what is done.

Being an outsider in North America is not a privilege reserved for visitors from other countries.

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