As part of Lingoport’s webinar, The Most Common i18n Gremlins and How to Squash Them, we interviewed Lingoport’s own CEO, Adam Asnes to get some quick insights into i18n gremlins and how they are impacting the quality of localization.
What are i18n gremlins?
Adam Asnes: I18n gremlins are bugs that create localization problems that wouldn’t be tolerated in a product’s native target language (i.e. US-English). They could be as simple as a string that isn’t externalized and will appear in English no matter the target locale, a date/time in the wrong format, a concatenation where the word order, gender or pluralization won’t make sense for translation. These gremlins aren’t cute mistakes and often have a long lifetime until they get fixed.
As software development as evolved to become continuous, how has this impacted the frequency of i18n gremlins going undetected and the impact to the localization quality?
Adam Asnes: It is always far easier, faster and less expensive to fix an i18n gremlin during code creation rather than after localization. With continuous development, we have a clear opportunity to measure i18n and give developers feedback during their sprint, just as you might do for other coding quality measurements.
The impact of i18n gremlins is on the frequency and speed of agile development as developers simply may not have time to go back and fix issues if they are discovered after localization. They will be working in a different area of the source code and just seeing the issue after testing usually doesn’t make it obvious where it occurs. This is why i18n Gremlins can hang around for years.
What is the biggest consequence developers face when they do not proactively prevent and rectify i18n gremlins?
Adam Asnes: The consequence is that the localization and global sales stakeholders have products where they can’t guarantee the presentation and data quality. You localize in the first place for competitive advantage or at least parity in markets. There is so much invested in global opportunities. The US is 24.4% of the global economy measured in 2017 down from 60% twenty years ago. Why not have a product that reflects that?
What i18n issue would you describe as the king of all gremlins?
Adam Asnes: Indifference is the king of all gremlins. When executives remain ignorant, you don’t have global directives. When managers remain indifferent, you have a sloppy attention to i18n. When developers remain indifferent, you have shoddy application of locale.
For a list of i18n Gremlins, see: https://wiki.lingoport.com/Gremlins
Ready to learn more? View the recording today!
- Date: July 30, 2019
- Time: 9AM Pacific, Noon Eastern, 18:00 CEST
- Duration: 40 minutes, plus audience Q&A