“Everybody Knows…”

"Everybody Knows..."

“Everybody Knows…”

(Picture from the Huffington Post, 21 July 2011: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/

The news is out. Leonhard Cohen was right: the captain lied.

Three years ago, on 15 September 2008, the Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. What followed was chaos on the financial markets. Not just the US dollar, but also the euro got into deep trouble and is now on the brink of collapse. It was a lack of regulation and, above all, greed that lead the world’s largest economies into this crisis.

What will happen next? – Will the world keep turning, will people continue to do business as usual? What effect do these events have on the translation and localisation communities?

Something is happening. Now that everybody knows, people seem to be looking for alternatives. They are looking for ways of doing ‘business’ with each other that makes sense, that has a meaning and is not driven by greed. Relationships and trust gain importance (again), it’s not just the ‘price tag’ that makes the difference.

How does this affect the translation and localization communities? Well, The Rosetta Foundation has listed the results of a very brief survey of nonprofit translation activities on its website (http://bit.ly/dRVFih). It’s staggering to see how many different organizations are involved in supporting the right of people to access to information and knowledge in their language. This is not a charitable cause, but a rights-based issue requiring sustainable efforts to provide access to translation and localization services. Only that the need (previously know as the ‘business case’) is not determined by a large multinational, but by the people who need translations. What has become a common practice in the technical support area (people helping each other out) or web content (people publishing their own content), is beginning to appear in the translation space: users are taking over.

So, maybe, Cohen was not right after all when he said: “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded, everybody rolls with their fingers crossed, everybody knows that the war is over, everybody knows that the good guys lost; everybody knows that the boat is leaking, everybody knows that the captain lied.” Maybe, after all, it’s the good guys who are winning now and the captain is going to walk the plank?

Watch this space and join us at the Action for Global Information Sharing, AGIS ’11 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 01-02 December 2011 hosted by the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa and supported by many of the world’s leading translation and localization communities. (http://bit.ly/k2SnEg)

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