Portland, OR November 4, 2017
Decolonizing Unicode: Can We Type Every Word That Has Ever Been Written?
To make the web a fully open and accessible platform, we need to ensure that everyone can communicate online in their native language. However, there are a lot of technical challenges to supporting the entire world’s languages in written text. Unicode aspires to be the international standard for representing text digitally. Let’s look at some of the decisions that were made when designing Unicode, and some of the amusing quirks that they lead to, as we think of the best way to design digital writing systems that are truly universally accessible.
New York City, NY December 10, 2016
Crossing the Language Divide: Making Programming Accessible to English and Non-English Speakers Alike
In *The Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy*, the Babel Fish is a universal translator. By allowing all beings to communicate regardless of language, it ‘neatly crosses the language divide between any species’. Most programming languages are designed for English speakers. Programming language keywords are usually in English, and programmers must understand a basic amount of English in order to collaborate with others on open-source projects written in those languages. But does this need to be the case? Could we create a truly multilingual programming language - one that can be localized, so any developer only ever reads or writes code using their native language, all while maintaining interoperability with code written by developers who speak a different language? And how would we create a multilingual programming language community, allowing developers to collaborate on open-source projects even when they don't speak the same (human) language? Let's look at an example of a localized programming language: করো (*koro*), which localizes the Go programming language into Bengali, and see how this could be extended to other languages as well. We'll also talk about the steps to making open-source projects fully multilingual, so that developers who only speak English can collaborate seamlessly with developers who don’t speak English at all.

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