Monday, August 28, 2006

Content Management and Internationalization

The Fall CM Professionals Summit is going to be great this year. We are doing a much better job of early planning and advanced marketing thanks to the tireless efforts of Scott Abel and we have a great topic: Internationalization.

I don't know about you but it feels like localization is more important than back in the Web 1.0 days. Maybe this is related to the Clue Train Manifisto's assertion that markets are conversations and language mismatches are more obvious in conversations than one way broadcasts. It could be the trend towards globalization. It could be that the rest of the world is tired of putting up with a U.S. dominated Internet. Whatever the driving force is, localization is no longer that road-kill requirement that gets cut out of scope on the first round.

Recently, much of my work has had localization aspects - either the whole site needed to be translated into multiple langauges or the client wants to make certain content available in different languages. There is also the question of how autonomous the localized subsites are. Different levels of localization suggest different architectures and management processes.

I am considering having a round table at the Summit to discuss a system for classifying levels of localization. Something like WCAG levels for accessibility. Just like with the accessibility standards, companies need to make trade-offs based on audience need and cost in deciding what level to pursue. Does anyone else think this would be an interesting idea? If you think this is interesting or stupid, put up a comment or send me an email.