François in a world without ç

In the recent Globalization Insider newsletter, there is an excellent article by Chuck Wrobel about managing names across different scripts. This is a real challenge for multinational organizations, and it affects many departments – Web, marketing, customers service, accounting. He tells how his company, Avaya, dealt with the many challenges.

Here is an excerpt:

Michael Everson, a typographer who contributes to the Unicode standard, stated recently in an article in the New York Times, “Imagine how you would feel if your name was François, but there was no ç available. You would be irritated that your phone bill came addressed spelling your name wrong. Now, imagine if your language used a totally different alphabet, and you couldn’t use computers at all because of it. It’s a question of human rights, really.

International agreements such as NAFTA, GATT and the telecommunications trade agreements have lowered trade barriers, and the global acceptance of ISO 9000 has established the principle that quality must be defined in terms of the individual customer. Today, as trade barriers fall and quality standards rise, cultural barriers have become increasingly important. The people of the world prefer to work in an environment that is native to their own language and culture, and thus internationalization is critical.

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