Mozilla Localiser: The key to the Open Web

The recent European Day of Languages and International Day of Translation both celebrate the importance of language. These internationally observed days encourage a deeper appreciation for the increasingly interconnected global village we live in and offer greater insight into how we communicate within it.

This focus on localisation is increasingly important as we collaborate across borders on a daily basis. Organisations try to reach as many existing and prospective users as possible and must, therefore, take into account any language barriers involved.

Mozilla stands for the Open Web; a Web which is accessible and available to everyone, wherever there’s an Internet connection. To achieve this, Mozilla relies on a community of volunteer contributors from across the globe.

Many of these volunteers are localisers who spend their free time outside of their normal day jobs helping with localisation, translation review, and testing International versions of Firefox, Firefox for Android and Firefox OS – every time a new version is released.

Organisations can create a world where the Open Web exists beyond linguistic, cultural, and geographical boundaries.

All of the work they do goes a long way to preserving their native language and, by extension, the culture that language is linked to. Here in the British Isles, Firefox OS is available in English, Firefox and Firefox for Android have also been localised to Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, whilst Firefox also available in Irish Gaelic. Firefox is available in 88 languages, Firefox for Android in 59, and Firefox OS in 26. The list continues to grow!

One Mozilla L10N volunteer localiser is Kálmán Szalai, a systems administrator by day, who is dedicated to localising Mozilla’s services into Hungarian in his spare time. L10N is a numeronym for localisation, the process of adapting a product that has been previously translated into different languages to a specific country or region.

Kami, as he is known to his friends, embarked on this journey a decade ago when he began filing bug reports in Bugzilla (Mozilla’s purpose-built software used in the software development process to report and track any issues.)

Kami says, “What drives me is a simple desire to make these products and services available in Hungarian. I personally use them daily and want others to do the same. I am especially proud of contributing towards the Hungarian localisation of Firefox OS, Mozilla’s HTML5-based mobile operating system. This was an incredible experience for me as I’m a firm believer that localisation opens doors. I love to play with words and expressions to make sure the very best meaning is conveyed in Hungarian.”

By localising their products in this way, organisations can create a world where the Open Web exists beyond linguistic, cultural, and geographical boundaries. This goes a long way towards ensuring that the Web retains Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s core principle, which he makes clear when he says: “This is for everyone”.

What are your experiences with localisation? Let us know in the comments.

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