tales from the central european web

Friday, January 20, 2006

When will we have Web 2.0 apps in other languages?

Internationalisation and Web 2.0

Having checked the list mentioned in my previous post I was wondering:
Hungarians form only a small user base, so it's obvious that there won't be so much software developed for them (in the beginnings, at least), but frankly I was surprised that none of the listed applications had been localized so far (As far as I know, the only exception is Gmail: its interface is available in 38 languages.)
For instance take del.icio.us: it has the simplest user interface ever, so most likely there are only a few messages, strings to translate. I can' really catch why haven't they already done that? The lack of internationalization reduces the userbase dramatically, on the other hand gives opportunities for non-english developers to create clone sites, like http://icio.de . Ok, this site contains only 3500 bookmarks at the time of writing, but it can gain a huge user base quickly.

Anyway the words like l10n and i18n (localisation and internationalisation) are desperately missing from the dictionary of web 2.0 enthusiastics and evangelists. I guess I will have to think about it a bit more so as to figure out, why is this so, but one thing is for sure: there are a lot of opportunities in this field with huge expectations: recent research shows that approximately only 16% of Hungarians speak English, an other 17% speak German. Not all countries have so miserable statistics when it comes to foreign languages, but this example clearly shows that there are a lot of users who cannot access web 2.0 thus they are condemned to keep on using web 1.0...

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