I’m pleased to announce the new book Think Outside the Country: A Guide to Going Global and Succeeding in the Translation Economy, due out on April 10th.
Think Outside the Country is isn’t strictly about taking a website or mobile app global, though you’ll find plenty of real-world examples about how to do just that. Ultimately, this book is about taking yourself global. It’s about providing an understanding of the globalization process along with country and cultural insights so you know what questions to ask when you’re asked to, say, introduce a product into a new market or launch a global marketing campaign.
This book is intended for people who want to help their organizations expand into new markets as efficiently as possible without any embarrassing or costly mistakes. And this book is about showing respect for the people who live in these markets.
You won’t speak every language, understand every culture. And that’s okay. Nobody knows everything. But we can all know a little bit about a lot. More important, we can know what questions to ask. This book will help.
You can learn more here.
And it’s now available for preorder on Amazon.
PS: We will also offer quantity discounts if you’d like to order a batch for your teams.
First of all, I love tofu.
But when you see it on a computer screen, it’s not so nice.
Like those two rows of “tofu-shaped” objects shown below that indicate a missing font:
Tofu used to be a much bigger problem ten years ago, back when fonts are strictly aligned with different character sets and computers shipped with very limited font families. Today, computers and phones ship with system fonts that can natively display a significant number of languages.
Nevertheless, as websites support more and more languages, the need for fully world-ready fonts will only grow.
So it’s nice to see Google investing in creating open-source font faces to support the world’s languages.
This font family is called NOTO (as in no tofu).
A package of all 100+ fonts weighs more than 470MB.
Instead, you might pick and choose which language/script you wish to support:
This post is brought to you by the Multilingual Eye Chart.
The proper display of dates for each locale has become relatively trivial with libraries such as Globalize and yet I still encounter websites that don’t get it right.
Case in point, I recently visited a tech website looking for a firmware upgrade and I found a list of three downloads:
I had to scan to list to figure out exactly how the dates were formatted.
The third item made it clear that month came after day, which is not standard for the United States.
One simple fix is to spell out the name of the month. But a more scalable fix is to take advantage of Globalize.
(Here’s an article by Jukka Korpela on how to use Globalize.js to display local dates properly)
Today, the JQuery Foundation has announced availability of Globalize 1.0:
Globalize provides developers with always up-to-date global number formatting and parsing, date and time formatting and parsing, currency formatting, and message formatting. Based on the Unicode Consortium standards and specifications, Globalize uses the Common Locale Data Repository (CLDR), the most extensive and widely-used standard repository of locale data. With Globalize, all developers can quickly reach global markets with confidence that their apps and sites will always have the most accurate and up-to-date locale data available.
I published a book a few years back on an early iteration of Globalize. I’m excited to see jQuery moving forward with Globalize, as it has improved not only the lives of anyone who must internationalize and localize web apps and websites, but also the experience of web users around the world. Because users benefit from seeing dates and times and currencies displayed as they expect them to be displayed for their respective cultures — and displayed consistently across web applications.
If your developers aren’t aware of Globalize, point them to it today.
This blog has been hosted on WordPress since 2002.
Since then, WordPress has grown into one of the dominant publishing platforms on the Internet. And one of the most multilingual as well, with strong support for 53 locales and limited support for an additional 20 or so locales.
Languages supported include Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Icelandic, and Thai. Even Scottish Gaelic.
And the result of all this localization is now clear. As creator Matt Mullenweg noted earlier this year, non-English downloads of WordPress have surpassed English downloads.
Looking ahead, WordPress will expand the localization framework and refine language packs, which are currently a bit odd to work with in my opinion.
Also coming are fully localized theme and plugin directories.
WordPress is a great example of how early and ongoing investment in localization reaps global rewards.
PS: If your locale is not currently supported, you can always help get it there.