Monday, 4 October 2010

English bias on the Internet

These last few weeks I've been traveling in Italy, occasionally connecting by internet and email with folks back home. The advantage we have as english speaking professional is significant. English is the most popular foreign language, and while it may not be the language spoken by the most people, it is definitely the world’s largest "second" language and by far the first language of the internet. There may be a growing number of international websites in mandarin, arabic, spanish and portuguese many of the established sites cater to english speaking web users. Translation and geographic preferences for google, yahoo, facebook and other international sites is helpful for international users. Still many web users know or learn english to improve on the web experience. I find automatic translation of websites to be spotty at best. Some phraseology is not translatable, and words are translated with literal meaning that can be inaccurate. Knowledge is wrapped in language and leads to better understanding. While the global language of the internet is English the future of the internet is its diversity and global reach in peoples native tongue. Canada has a large multicultural population the we can use to advantage with web and software development internationally. The fabric of our country is strengthened by its diversity. This is also a tremendous asset. Canadian companies working in the technology field can leverage our national diversity to expand into foreign makes more easily by hiring professional with diverse languages and cultural knowledge right here in Canada, while foreign companies need to outsource such translation services. Canadian companies should and must look globally for greater advantage using Canadians. We are fortunate that we have highly skilled immigrate population that can help with such exports.

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