Tag Archives: I18n

The Devil is in the Detail

I really enjoyed attending Unicode 41 this week. Following changes to my role some years back and the fact that the conference is always held on the West Coast of the US, I hadn’t been in a while but I will definitely put it back on my conference agenda. It was great bumping into customers and old friends and seeing the new generation of researchers and engineers address what is essentially the challenge of worldwide communications.

The conference kicked off with a very interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking keynote entitled “Can We Escape Alphabetic Order”, given by Thomas S. Mullaney.

The remainder of the conference sessions I attended covered: predictive models used by Google in their Android keyboards; dynamic translation resource bundles developed by Uber for their mobile apps; enhancements to ICU (International Components for Unicode); Nextflix’s approaches to bi-directional and vertical subtitles and captions; Javascript libraries for internationalization; support for Emoji in Unicode; and NLP techniques for identifying fraudulent names across many languages.

It is quite incredible the degree to which companies are enabling and adapting their products in order to have them accepted in target regions. I’m not talking about translations and number formats here: it’s about supporting all writing directions, accurate and detailed rendering of complex scripts and perfect fluency in generated messages that involve levels of plurality, gender, formality and style. And the open and collaborative nature of the efforts to document this information in the form of the Common Locale Data Repository is commendable.