Position Statement

Etan Wexler

I have been involved in computing i18n since 1998. I have studied The Unicode Standard, versions 2.1 through 3.1, and have implemented several code conversion scripts based on the standard. I have evangelized and explained the standard to laypeople.

The widespread adoption of generalized markup offers new possibilities in natural language processing. In particular, we can exploit fine-grained markup to aid translation both by machines and by humans. Organizations with global reach will find great value in reliable automatic translation as a means of reducing costs.

I have a keen interest in bringing the benefits of the Web to the majority of the world's population that is ill served by the dominance of the English language and Latin script. This will require not only software development but physical infrastructure. Physical infrastructure will require economic planning and government cooperation, which are neglected topics within the Web development community.

Closely related to this is the use of the Web as a vehicle for cultural preservation. At a time when global institutions threaten to erase traditions, literature, and languages we should seek ways to turn the Web to the benefit of minority cultures at risk.

Another topic that I would like to see explored is the regionalization of content: changing content to suit the needs of diverse populations within a language, even within a monolingual country.

I look forward to the workshop and to the continued improvement of the World Wide Web.