By Ultan O'Broin-Oracle on Nov 14, 2010
I attended an "innovation showcase":http://www.cngl.ie/localisationinnovationshowcase.html of the work being done by Ireland's Centre for Next Generation Localisation.
The Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL) is a dynamic Academia-Industry partnership with over 100 researchers developing novel technologies addressing the key localisation challenges of volume, access and personalisation.
Localisation, or localization, is generally conflated with good, culturally-sensitive translation for a target domain (quite reasonably) and the code support for date, time, currency and other regional settings in your software. However in the enterprise software space the term is used to refer to functionality that meets the needs of businesses to comply with different statutory requirements for financial reporting, employment law, and so on. Essential for global operations. Oracle applications localization support is either built in or added on to the base product (example).
Oracle E-Business Suite provides localized payroll so that you can manage local inputs such as earnings, statutory deductions, time and labor, flexible work rules, and taxes. With regular jurisdictional-tax-rate updates from Oracle, your organization is always in compliance with local regulations.
The showcase was extremely impressive. Besides the compelling case made for the use of machine translation in the customer support arena by Chris Wendt of Microsoft, I was really impressed by how the CNGL have taken on board the importance of personalization. But, what really got me was the richness of the demos of technologies in the customer support area so that users can create, find and relate themselves and others to the information they really need, regardless of language.
There are, of course, enterprise-level constraints to generalized research. For enterprises in the ERP and CRM applications space, the issue of personalization on mobile devices is one thing, but there are others relating to extensibility that must be accommodated, such as data security, user roles, and so on. So too in the area of customer support; there are differences in how different enterprise communities react with the enterprise, far beyond loyalty - for example, there are issues of authenticity, reputation, complexity, revenue generation, and others.
It's important that enterprises work with bodies like the CNGL so all that research finally comes to fruition as a product or service that a range of enterprises can actually use. One thing is clear: localization, oops translation, needs to move far beyond the simple source-target translation paradigm if it wants to survive as a business and add real value to users. Localization is a user experience issue. If the CNGL comes to a site near you soon, please visit. In the meantime, check out the CNGL website.