OpenDoTT is a PhD programme  from Northumbria University and Mozilla to  explore how to build a more open, secure, and trustworthy Internet of Things.

The challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT) require interdisciplinary thinking. OpenDoTT will train five Early Stage Researchers with backgrounds in design, technology, arts and activism to create and advocate for connected products that are more open, secure, and trustworthy.

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OpenDoTT Studio Session 2: Localisation and Internationalisation

The second OpenDoTT Studio session on 31 August 2021 focused on localisation and internationalisation, and was co-hosted by Sarah Kiden (Marie Curie Research Fellow, Northumbria University) and Solana Larsen (Editor of the Internet Health Report, Mozilla). Our amazing panelists were Peiying Mo and Zibi Braniecki. At the start of the session, all attendees shared the number of languages they speak, noting that English was common among us, but collectively, we spoke more than 10 languages. Here are some highlights from the session.

What is the difference between internationalisation and localisation? 

From an end user perspective, internationalisation is the process that enables localisation. A metaphor would be if someone has a universal plug adaptor, they can travel without having to worry about electrical wall plugs or the wiring in buildings for countries they are visiting.

From a technical perspective, internationalisation encompasses two aspects: human and algorithmic/data driven. Internationalisation can be achieved simply by using an algorithm (e.g. convert a Jewish calendar to another format), while human translation and localisation can be likened to an iceberg (e.g. Firefox has over 10,000 unique strings used to create the interface but end users only see the final product). The litmus test for localisation is if something particular is being changed in a product for a particular group of users.

Globalisation is a broader term that covers issues from compliance, to language, legal, acumen, and marketing, among others.