When her grandmother Chadia turned 80, Christina Hayek—an Arabic Language Manager at Google—and her sisters wanted to give their beloved sitto a gift that would bring her closer to them. Chadia lives in Lebanon, but her children and grandchildren are spread across the world. To bridge this geographical gap, Christina and her siblings gave their grandmother an Android smartphone. Much to Chadia’s surprise, she was able to use her phone in Arabic straight out of the box.
This isn’t magic—it’s the work of a dedicated localization team at Google, whose mission is to create a diverse user experience that fits every language and every culture. Spread over more than 30 countries, our team of passionate translators and reviewers makes sure that all Google products are fun and easy to use in 70+ languages—and sound natural to people everywhere. Localization goes beyond translation. For example, while references to baseball and donuts work well in the U.S., these aren’t necessarily popular concepts in other cultures. So we might change them to football in Italy and croissant in France.
With more and more people from around the world coming online every day, the localization industry keeps growing—and so does the demand for great translators, reviewers, and localization professionals. So, as part of Google’s mission to build products for everyone and make the web globally accessible, no matter where people are, we’re launching a massive open online course (MOOC) called Localization Essentials.
Localization Essentials was developed in collaboration with Udacity, and is free to access. It covers all localization basics needed to develop global products, from the types of software that we use to the jobs available in this industry. By sharing our knowledge, we hope that more culturally relevant products will become available to people everywhere, and provide opportunities to them that they didn’t have before.