The giants of the connected world are finally waking up to one of the biggest obstacles in their stated missions of connecting billions more people to the internet: The language barrier.
An exceptional piece. I’ll highlight the following (something I had no idea about):
Another example is color. In the West, red is associated with danger or bad news, while in China it means good news. Any company serious about serving a global audience needs to take such subtle cues into account.
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.
An old one, but remarkable nonetheless.
I’ve seen a image floating around on Facebook where someone took the time to translate Stockholm’s tube stations to English, often with hilarious results. I decided to do the same with Helsinki’s tube stations. The map looks like this (the names in bold are in Finnish; below them are their Swedish equivalents):
The results aren’t all funny, but some are. Unfortunately, in some cases, I couldn’t find a direct translation. Without further ado, the list:
- Ruoholahti: Grass Bay
- Kamppi: from the Swedish word kampen, meaning fight or battle
- Rautatieasema: Railway Square
- Kajsaniemi: Kajsa Peninsula
- Hakaniemi: Hook Isthmus
- Sörnäinen: from the Swedish word Sörnäs, meaning Sör Peninsula
- Kalasatama: Fish Harbour
- Kulosaari: Wildfire Island
- Herttoniemi: Hertto Peninsula
- Siilitie: Hedgehog Road
- Itäkeskus: East Centre
- Myllypuro: Mill Creek
- Kontula: no direct translation, unfortunately
- Mellunmäki: Mellu Hill
- Puotila: no direct translation
- Rastila: no direct translation
- Vuosaari: Flow Island
Hook Isthmus has to be my favourite.
This has been around a long time, but I only just discovered it.
- “A website that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals and usually has links to comments on specific postings.” From The Free Dictionary
- “A blog (blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.” From Wikipedia
- “A diary is a blog that no one reads.” Heard on the radio last week
Gues which definition I like best?
Notable additions include man cave, NSFW, ZOMG and permalink.
It’s a strong theory – and one that I would like to se a reality, given the popularity of C-style syntax and garbage-collected environments. I not a big fan of low-level languages, but crying out for one that is more abstracted than Objective-C is met with a kind of resistance I’ve never really quite understood – a resistance that an Ars Technica article discussing the future of Apple’s languages and APIs explains perfectly:
And so continues one of the biggest constants in software development: the unerring sense among developers that the level of abstraction they’re current working at is exactly the right one for the task at hand. Anything lower-level is seen as barbaric, and anything higher-level is a bloated, slow waste of resources. This remains true even as the overall level of abstraction across the industry marches ever higher.
I learned about this just last week: Linux/Unix/OSX operating systems have a built-in English dictionary text file located at
Diaereses aren’t used very often anymore, which is a shame.