From May 6th-7th, 42 participants (coincidence? I think not) gathered in the beautiful city of Paris for another successful edition of our l10n workshops. This was one of our larger scale events with a total of twelve localization communities from four continents: Acholi, Fulah, Songhay, Xhosa, Wolof, Azerbaijani, Turkish, Uzbek, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and Urdu. What a diverse group! This was in fact the broadest geographical coverage in a single l10n event.
Marcia Knous and Pascal Chevrel, both from the Release Management team and working on Firefox Nightly, joined us and held a Nightly workshop on the side with members from the French community – as well as some joint sessions around Project Dawn and Nightly testing updates, that were of equal interest for both our groups present (i.e., L10n and Nightly communities).
Some may have noticed that, this year, our workshops have slowly started to evolve with each iteration. For example, although spectrograms have been a big part of our past workshops and have proved to be very useful, we decided not to do them this time around. With time, we’ve realized they are unfortunately a time constraint, and that we needed to shift our focus a bit (after all, we had been doing these for the past 2 years).
Instead, l10n-drivers present held a Q&A session – which resembled the Mozilla fireside chats in a way. Overall this proved to be very valuable as it lets localizers really get clarifications and dive deeper into whichever topic they are interested in. In fact, we had l10n-drivers from across the board present, which helped this session be broad enough, and technical enough, to interest everyone present.
To give an idea, the l10n-drivers at the event were:
Delphine Lebédel: L10n Firefox mobile project manager
Peiying Mo: L10n mozilla.org project manager
Théo Chevalier: Mozilla Foundation l10n project manager
Axel Hecht: L10n tech lead
Francesco Lodolo: L10n Firefox desktop project manager
Drivers also gave short updates on current projects’ status and general Mozilla plans and goals for the year.
We also made room for community presentations this time around. Any community who wanted to present their work was welcome to do so. One of these was a presentation about RTL (right-to-left) on mobile. It was great to see the Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Urdu communities spontaneously pair up and start collaborating not only for this presentation, but during the workshop as a whole.
Ibrahima from the Fulah localization team also gave a presentation on Unicode and UTF-8 from the perspective of his own community, sharing insights and lessons learned from years of diving into the topic.
Communities spent most of the rest of their time on accomplishing the goals they had set themselves for the weekend (goals and general agenda details here).
Thanks to Flore’s (a long time Mozilla contributor) spontaneous initiative, there was even a cultural activity organized, which included walking to the Trocadéro and seeing the beautiful Tour Eiffel – a must when you are in Paris. Led by Flore, participants bravely faced the parisian rain in order to get a breath of fresh air.
Although logistics were somewhat trickier to plan for such a large and diverse group, it was an incredible experience that allowed communities from completely different backgrounds to share insights and tips amongst each other – which, as always, was a beautiful and humbling moment to witness.
Thanks to the community feedback that we always gather from our final survey, we are able to learn and grow – making each edition an improvement over the previous ones, and building upon each event we hold. One take-away from this (and past) event(s) is that we are currently looking into how other organizations make sure that their events are as “food-friendly” – and accessible – to as many people as possible.
We are also tweaking up our format a bit with each workshop we do this year. We have realized that we need change, and that we can improve things much more quickly by being flexible and adapting with each workshop we hold. Communities are different, issues are different, cultures are different. One format does not fit them all! So we are eager to continue exploring this year and reporting back what we have found. And then building upon the lessons we learn with each new event. Maybe tweaking things up to be more like a localization unconference for the next iteration is going to be our next playground…
In any case, it seems to become clearer each time we organize one of these events that community needs diversity, and needs more meet-ups that let them mingle with a larger crowd. Two days may not be enough, especially given we are flying people from so far away. We’ve learned from our surveys that community misses the larger Mozcamp and MozSummit formats: they need to exchange more with like-minded people, from a much more diverse group, in order to strive and progress effectively. Exploring the idea of global localization workshops, with maybe other l10n communities from other open source projects, is one idea we are also currently playing with.
As usual, thoughts and feedback on improvements are always welcome. We want to hear from you! Always feel free to pitch any ideas by reaching out to anyone in our team.
Next up… Paraguay in August! Stay tuned 🙂