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Localisation Sprint

Warsaw, Poland - Jan 01-Jan 01, 1970

Aspiration Tech and Tactical Technology Collective hosted a Localisation Sprint in Warsaw, Poland from the 20th to the 22nd of November, 2004. The event brought together a diverse group of leaders and innovators in software and documentation localisation for nonprofits and civil society to share experiences, compare projects and practices, and document the same. We invited interested individuals and organizations to join us for this unique and valuable gathering.


As the internet has broadened global access to software and information, internationalization and localisation efforts have struggled to keep pace. Much software and documentation is available only in major languages, and the knowledge and expertise to broaden that availability to more locales is in short supply.

In addition, practitioners are taking many approaches in seeking to solve localisation challenges, leading to duplication and compatibility issues between projects. At the same time, many projects operate in “silos”, lacking awareness of other successes and innovations. What is needed is better documentation and dissemination on best practices and technologies, coupled with a strengthening of the ties that connect the diverse communities working on internationalization and localisation issues.


The goals of the Localisation Sprint were three-fold. First, individuals working in the localisation field rarely enjoy the opportunity to convene, grow relationships and collaborate on applied projects; the sprint provided a venue for enhancing the social network of localisation practitioners while focusing on concrete outcomes. Second, the gathering strove to map out the localisation landscape, from tools to guides to practices; many exciting projects and initiatives are underway around the globe, but few top-down views exists into the range of projects. Lastly, participants laid the foundation and initial groundwork for curricula designed to educate developers, technical intermediaries and funders in the best practices and sustainable processes for localisation in a broad scope of technology and documentation contexts around the globe. Our hope will be to start discussions and collaboration which will continue to evolve long after the sprint.

The curricula will see their first use at Asia Source in January 2005, an event bringing together NGO technology activists and intermediaries from Southeast Asia to discuss free and open source software deployment for civil society organizations in the region.

All materials generated at the sprint will be published under Creative Commons license to encourage the broadest use, adoption and ongoing enhancement of those resources.


The sprint was comprised primarily of developers working in a range of software contexts, from client tools to web applications to emerging platforms such as wireless and handheld devices. In addition, we welcomed the participation of technology intermediaries (eRiders, technology activists, NGO-focused consultants) as well as documentation specialists and others passionate about internationalizing and broadening access to software and related technology.


The agenda was collaboratively designed by the participants in the weeks leading up to the event. The majority of time at the sprint was allocated to developing the maps and curricula required to educate a broader cross-section of those developing and localising software for NGOs and civil society.

A key aspect of the agenda involved the use of collaborative internet technologies to both chronicle the proceedings and support remote participation and tracking of the sprint as it transpires. In particular, all generated documents are stored on a public “wiki” web site http://wiki.localisationdev.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl ; such a site supports collective editing of pages by anyone viewing and wishing to contribute to the project. The wiki is a focal outcome of the sprint, serving as a hub to enable open ongoing collaboration and documentation of progress.

More information http://localizationdev.org