At the beginning of October, Axel and I took a trip to Istanbul to organize a new l10n hackathon. Is there a more iconic place than a city extending over two continents, with such diversity of culture, to host a localization event?
The target for these meetings is to gather key l10n contributors in the region, bring them up to speed on the latest updates regarding Mozilla, and understand their team’s health and perspectives.
At this event, hosted by a local hacking space named Iskele47, we had representatives from five languages: Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Russian, Turkish, and Uzbek.
As usual for these meetings, localizers can have very different experiences, with a contribution history ranging from 11 years – Alexander, our Russian localizer – to brand new l10n contributors like Halil for Turkish.
Sometimes English can represent a barrier in our discussions, and a huge thanks goes to Emin, our Azerbaijani localizer, not just for being crucial in organizing the event, but also for acting as trait d’union through English, Turkish, and Russian.
Having participated in five of these meet-ups so far, it’s interesting to try and find common trends and differences:
- Some teams feel part of Mozilla, others don’t feel this connection at all. The latter is common for localizers working on several Open Source projects, whose contribution to Mozilla started through external localization tools after what I call our “MozCamps phase.” In this sense, these local events are crucial to make them feel part of the broader community at the base of Mozilla.
- Training new localizers is hard, time-expensive, and not really exciting: there are less technical issues than in the past, but ensuring consistency and high quality across many projects is really complex.
- Finding new volunteers in some regions is more complicated than in others: big tech companies opening new offices and attracting students right out of school and professional localizers not liking the idea of contributing to projects for free can present obstacles.
There’s one result that I’m particular proud of, and represents the kind of practical outcomes we want to see from these initiatives: right before Istanbul, together with Baurzhan we realized that there was some confusion about the localization process for mozilla.org and Kazakh.
We decided to talk about it and fix it during the meet-up. This is the result of this process: from almost a thousand strings missing to zero.