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[P5] Translating software: what it means and what it costs for small cultures and large cultures

This paper discussing the case for making software translateable was written with Dai Griffiths, Stephen Heppell and Greta Mladenova and was selected for publication in the journal Computers & Education after presentation at the CAL '93 conference
When Jan 01, 1994
Where Brentwood, Essex
Aim: To clarify the importance of designing in  opportunity for self-localisation to educational software to allow regional and international appropriation.

Abstract

In this paper the authors report as a case study their experience of adapting a set of software for other languages and cultures, drawing attention to the potential pitfalls and sharing what was learnt. This experience was based on a project to translate the 'Work Rooms' software for young learners into Bulgarian and Catalan. It is also hoped to broaden the debate on CAL, stimulating consideration of multicultural and international issues.

While the questions raised by this particular adaptation of software are relevant to all those working with CAL, they have particular importance for software authors, publishers, and teachers of linguistic minorities.

Reflection: The discussion and research arising from the developments we made to create programs in the 'Work Rooms' suite as user-translateable software, had a far-reaching influence on my awareness of the importance of seeing the world from the position of the learner within the culture they inhabit and the language they use, not simply what their interests or processes in learning might be. It made clear how profound the concept of learner-centredness needed to be.
Contribution: I helped design the software methodology for translation and the implementation of it in the 'Work Rooms' software as well as co-authoring the paper.My part: 20% (with Dai Griffiths, Stephen Heppell, Sam Deane and Greta Mladenova)
Originality, impact and importance: The practice and paper was novel in education at that time and the conceptual thinking was only just making impact in the software operating systems world. Its importance is seen in the way modern software is now developed and content management systems such as Plone have been developed to manage translation as a matter of course.

Download the full paper as a PDF file

(Words: 378 )

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Lewis Carroll describes a fictional map that had:

"the scale of a mile to the mile."

A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that:

"we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."
— Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Lewis Carroll, 1893

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The dissertation and portfolio for Richard Millwood's PhD by Retrospective Practice titled 'The Design Of Learner-centred, Technology-enhanced Education'.selected for the PhD