Friday, June 29, 2007

Internationalization - Web2.0

In a short blog post about one of Steve Hargadon's sessions at NECC Dana Huff asks

"What do you think would make it easier for teachers to find ways to
use Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom?"

As an elementary school teacher in Israel, I don't have to think twice: Internationalization!

Before I can even consider introducing teachers to web20 technologies I need to know:

  • that they (and their students) will be able to understand the UI
  • that the application will be able to function in, and represent Hebrew input correctly

Yes my biggest obstacle is language. Many applications simply aren't set up for languages with special character sets, the few that are don't deal with the RTL configuration needed for Hebrew and Arabic. Then there is also the wealth of content out there which is inaccessible to students simply because they don't understand the language either of the content or of the UI.

There are a couple of sites which are moving in a positive direction:

The big player in the field is of course Google. Here are a few more... a video upload site, provides user friendly tools for members to transcribe and translate videos - and automatically adds the translations as subtitles. These versions are available for viewing on the site and can also be embedded in other webpages.

If you create videos, or you post student created videos online, why not consider uploading to dotSUB. a site for creating cartoons has added Unicode support to the cartoon generator. Cartoons created on toondoo can be embedded in blogs and other webpages. (a site which enables visitors to overlay videos with content 'spots' of their own), has set up a system for members to translate the UI. Again the translation interface is very easy to work with, and you can translate as much or as little as you like. a site for creating online flash presentations - supports Unicode, although for now RTL is still not an option. Anyone interested in translating the UI should write to the developers . At present the UI is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese, Vietnamese and Hebrew

If you know of other web2.0 sites which are addressing the issue of Internationalization please let me know.


Gus Lindquist said...


It's me ... again ... gotta get back to sanding that ceiling ... but ... darn it! ... you have TOO much interesting/exciting/stimulating stuff going on.

I'm going to bring all this up at the next monthly meeting of my writers group (theis coming Tuesday, July 10) ... and get back to you.

Now I HAVE to get back to the housework.


Gus Lindquist said...


I forgot. My google stuff identifies me by my commonly used nickname "Gus".

Hilding aka Gus