De Culturis

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Cross-Cultural Communication skills is a relatively new term, referring to the ability to recognize cultural differences and similarities when dealing with someone from another culture and ability to recognize features of own behavior which are affected by culture.


About this blog

I have had a website that you can see through the Home link for quite for a while. As it tells you, CCC is my passion, as well as everything related to languages, cultures and their interaction.
I wish I could make a “full time” living out of it, but in the Prairies (where I live now) there isn’t much demand for it. Nor is for my translator skills either. But I still spend enough time dwelling in these topics to have a lot of ideas, thoughts related to them.

Later came the adventure of translating a CMS which triggered my interest in what is called i18n and l10ninternationalization and localization, for those who are not familiar with the terms. (First and last letter with the number of letters in between… Of course, I didn’t even hear about them before.)

Lately it became more fashionable to call in this way any kind of effort aiming to make a script/software to be usable in another language than the original release.

Actually the two words refer to the beginning and the end of the process. Internationalization has to be done on the developers’ end, while the localization means the translation and adaptation to another language and culture.

Coming from a small nation that has only about 10 million speakers in the ‘homeland’ and another 5 millions in the neighbouring countries and around the world, I really appreciate the care that many developers put into their software to make it accessible for other languages, too.

As I said, I have translated (localized, if you wish) several scripts – some of them very simple, others quite complicated. I have also witnessed some colleagues struggling with the l10n of different scripts. Before I go into this any further I have to warn you: I am not a programmer, and I am not really interested in learning it. (I have passed that task to my son who is a programmer.) Nevertheless I had to learn to open all those files in a complex script and to find all those little bits and strings (?) that must be translated to make a script to work in another language than the one in which it has been written.

On the other hand I have been working as an interpreter and translator for many years in all the possible combinations of four languages, so I think that gives me a pretty fair insight into the problems that any i18n and l10n attempt can run into. I’ve also seen many translation/internationalization/localization “things” done by obviously well-intented people with terrible results. I know, I know… everybody is replying to that kind of statements with ‘why don’t you do a better version of those localizations?‘ ——

Well, maybe I can do a better job by posting some general ideas about i18n and l10n, languages, cultures and the way they interact even on the web. Maybe it would benefit both the developers aiming the i18n and l10n of their script and the translators around the world.

I wouldn’t like to sound pathetic, but let me put it in this way: since I am a user of many free software, I thought I should give back something to the web-community, by sharing what I’ve learned about translation, cross-cultural communication and their application toward i18n and l10n.

For a while I was considering putting up “articles” on my site, but I’ve found it too formal. Not to mention that sometimes the random thoughts aren’t worth to be developed into an article.

So, when I found WP – and seeing the developers’ very positive attitude towards i18n and l10n – I said to myself “Why not a blog attached to the CCC site?” Using WP, of course.

OK, I am fully aware that all the ramblings here will be like the words in the wilderness – no developer is going ever to listen to a code-illiterate (?) communicator, but at least it will be amusing for myself.

Thanks for visiting!

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