Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ICT4D and L10n programs: Shall e'er the twain meet?

Graduate programs in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) was the subject of recent postings on the Web2forDev list. There are also graduate programs in localization (L10n). Is there any overlap, any treatment of L10n approaches and technologies in ICT4D programs? Any discussion of work on ICT4D in L10n programs?

These are two emerging interdisciplinary fields that would seem to have a lot of potential links on the technology and communication sides, especially as concerns work in multilingual societies of Africa and much of the rest of the world.

In any event, here is a quick, selected, and certainly incomplete list of graduate programs in each:

ICT for Development
It would be interesting to know of other programs in either, and especially to know of any crossover or combined programs.offerings. Do any institutions have programs in both ICT4D and L10n, and if so, what happens there?


If you take ICTs out of the equation, the larger, longer term issue of connections between applied linguistics and the study of languages on the one hand, and the field of development (study and practice) on the other becomes clear. This is a topic I have raised before and hope to come back to again.

The field of localization (L10n) is broad with what I'd characterize as two main areas of focus: content and communication; and software and interface. Localization is often treated together with translation, and from the outside sometimes looks like a sub-field of the latter. This is understandable as it almost always involves translation of terms and text. However localization also involves cultural considerations. Technically, in some contexts, localization might not involve what we usually consider translation at all, if it is simply a matter of adapting content and software for speakers/readers of the same language in different cultural areas.

This cultural dimension, if you will, of localization would potentially be another connecting point of localization and ICT4D, though hopefully without omitting the essential linguistic dimension. (17-12-13)

1 comment:

Don said...

The University of Washington localization certificate program was written up on the Translation Times blog (July 2011).

This might be an approach to combining skills in L10n (certificate, by distance enrollment) with a degree in ICT4D.