I am really happy with the outcome of the inaugural globalization (internationalization, localization, and translation) working group sessions at the Oracle Usability Advisory Board Europe in the Oracle office's in Thames Valley Park, near Reading in the UK.
A large number of customers and partners from EMEA were in attendance, and representatives from Oracle Apps-UX and development flew in from the US and Ireland (i.e, me), along with participation from local Oracle teams.
The translation part of the event opened with a great presentation by Bettina Reichart, Director with the Oracle Worldwide Product Translation Group (WPTG). Bettina explained the importance of translatability as part of the product development effort, the WPTG language quality process, about terminology development, and how customers can participate in translated applications assessments.
Customers and partners are always interested to know about internal Oracle processes and how they can interact with them, and I intend offering more of such sessions at future meetings, covering localization, internationalization, and other topics too.
Pseudotranslated Oracle EBS screen (Pseudotranslated environments and testing are central to internationalization in Oracle. We will cover this topic and other Oracle apps processes in more detail at a future OUAB)
The data gathering exercise I designed for board members, asking them to identify their top internationalization, localization and translation issues and how they impacted usability was a big success too. We discussed the findings and the possible follow ups in a lively, fully attended working group session that seemed to take on a life of its own! We addressed issues such as lack of space for expansion of text, partial translation issues, the importance of localization (in the Oracle enterprise apps space this means support for statutory and reporting requirements for countries and regions - VAT, for example) and questions about terminology and language style. I will follow up with each customer and partner.
But there was more. I was delighted that the board members astutely exposed more complex areas about international versions such as the need to cater for connectivity and bandwidth issues, and it was so encouraging to hear customers offer insights about the importance of language as a user experience topic, ranging from the more tangible aspects (productivity, and the need for extensibility and customization solutions, for example) to the more intangible aspects about how language it can impact employee loyalty and user perception. I firmly believe that as individual user expectations change we need to explore language aspects more and how we can allowing users to have the language they really want. Vanilla already doesn't cut it.
Finally, it was great to spend some time with my friends in the HCM Localization and information development teams too. And of course, to spend some time in Reading again!