Global and Local

On the car-ride from Canberra to Sydney (LCA to UDU), I was told the story of a recent cock-up regarding a t-shirt printed up for the Redhat Localisation Team — the team that does translations and localization of Redhat into a number of target languages and locales.

By complete chance, the brother of one of the team members shared an airplane with me from Sydney to Los Angeles and was wearing the t-shirt in question. The shirt proudly advertised the Redhat Globalisation Team.

Use of the word globalization to refer to what is more commonly called internationalization and localization — and recently even multilingualization — is not unheard of. However, globalization is a loaded term with lots of implications one might want to avoid. While imagining the translators at Redhat as champions of international trade and global capitalism can be fun, globalization is probably not what they meant.

On a tangentially related note, I’ve always been amused by the term globalization. It presents an interesting philosophical question: how does one globalize something that is already a globe?

Author: Benjamin Mako Hill

Rebel with rather too many causes. And your host!

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