I am starting to blog here on mainly globalization and localization, and the many issues they bring to end users and organizations. To give you an idea about what my views and thoughts are based on, here is a short background:
As a native Finnish speaker I realized early on why languages do matter – very few people outside Finland speak any Finnish, despite its many quaint characteristics, such as 16 cases formed by adding endings to nouns. In addition, I studied operations research and systems analysis at the Helsinki University of Technology, which gave me a tendency to look at everything as processes which can be optimized.
For 14 years, I had a localization service company, Trantex, which translated a lot of software and documentation for major sw providers, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc., and also did technical writing and training. In 1997 we sold the company to L&H and I moved to Boston, where I later became a consultant to Finnish high-tech companies entering the US market.
After all the years I spent in the localization world, I have kept following the industry, as I think there are very interesting developments and challenges ahead. In 1985 a translation customer told me that I should start looking for a new job, as all computer users will want to use only English software. Since then, the number of languages into which companies have to translate their materials has at least tripled. With the web and now with wikis and blogs, information can be published instantly 24/7 all over the world, and much of it is or needs to be in languages other than English. After all, only 5% of the world’s population are native English speakers (354 million according to Wikipedia).
I welcome comments and discussion – though preferably in English :0).