Translating Vue: Why internationalizing documentation matters?
4 min read
July 2, 2019
Imagine you were not born in an English speaking country, or you didn't have the chance to learn it, what would have happened to your tech career? Would you even be in tech right now?
If you are reading this, then you are a pretty lucky person
Most of us (I include myself) wake up every day and just give for granted the fact that we know English, we don't think too much about it, we were lucky, you are either a native English speaker or you had enough chances to learn it in your life and thanks to that you are here, you probably have a good tech job, when you are blocked you just type a question on Google and some StackOverflow answer appears, or you can just go and read the documentation for your favorite programming language or framework.
How many people do you know that can't even read or write?
If your answer is zero, then you can consider yourself lucky again, according to the World Bank, the literacy rate for adults above 15 years old is 86%, but there are countries where that number is even below 50%. If you are from one of those countries then it would mean that either your mother or your father probably don't know how to read or write.
How many of those can read or write English?
Around 25% of the people in the world speak English, let's be very generous and assume that 90% of people in tech speak English (I couldn't find any data for this). Although leaving 10% of tech people out might not sound like a lot, now imagine if in that 10% percent there is a person that has a great idea, an idea that could revolutionize the tech industry, but he/she can't make it real because they don't have access to the right information or tools. For me, 10% is a big number if I think it in that way.
Language limits tech development just like hunger limits development in other general areas, this is better explained in the article 5 REASONS TO CARE ABOUT ENDING HUNGER by United Nations Foundation.
How can you help then?
Great libraries or products usually have great documentation pages, so maybe the easiest way to help is to reach out to authors or companies and let them know about this problem, ask them for a
lang.library.com subdomain and start translating if you speak more than one language. If you don't, maybe just spread this issue in your circles and someone might be able to help. You can also create/attend local Meetups and show this problem up.
These are just some ways to get this started, and maybe bit by bit we reduce that hypothetical 10% to near zero.
If you go to vuejs.org you have a menu that lists all the public translations for the official documentation, that was entirely made by the community, all the people there took some time to help and get the documents translated.
Some months ago some people we know started working on the Spanish translation just because they wanted to help, after that, we joined that effort and after months of work we finally got a translation domain up, it is not 100% finished yet, we are at about 95%, but the domain is publicly accessible and you can see the results at es.vuejs.org.
You can see all the people involved at github.com/1950Labs/vuejs.org#spanish, thanks to all of them, now the Spanish speaking people can benefit from these documents :heart:!
After months of work, the translation to Spanish of the @vuejs documentation is out there in the wild 🚀. Spanish speaking people can start taking advantage of this. Check that at https://t.co/4Nd5cElFCh. It is time to up your game, learn responsibly! Gracias a la comunidad! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/oV1KbzB1FJ— Federico Kauffman (@fedekauffman) June 10, 2019
Helping the community can be done in many ways, you don't have to invent the greatest library ever to be a great community member, you can, for example, help on a translation effort, you can simply spread the world to find people with time to help. By helping the community we are building a better tech world and by doing it through translations we are lowering the entry barrier for those that weren't that lucky.
Spread the world :earth_americas: :earth_africa: :earth_asia:!