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Friday, April 1 • 12:00pm - 1:15pm
From Digital Divides to Language Divides: Towards Principles for Digital Language Inclusion

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As we move to a world where most of the population is connected to the internet, and as more communities network with each other around the world, language divides present a significant hurdle to fostering truly global communication and information awareness. While in theory the world can connect with each other across borders, in practice the internet we see and interact with is limited to the language we speak. These limitations steadily increase for those who do not speak majority languages like English, Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic and others.

In this workshop, speakers will engage in a 20 minute panel discussion on how digital language inequity and access has played out in their work. The goal of this discussion will be to spark the conversation and identify some of the most salient issues for those working in communications technologies and human rights.

We will then break into small group discussions around the following core questions:

What are the most pressing issues around language access in digital spaces today? This appears to be a “full stack” problem that stretches from typography and fonts to content availability to the very code by which our software is built. In a world of constraints, how would we prioritize how we address these issues?
How can we aim to improve linguistic access and intercommunication? What actions can organizations and technologists take today, and what actions can we start moving toward for more sustainable support?
What models can we learn from as we start to imagine a more linguistically-inclusive internet? What successes have we seen--whether formally or informally implemented--that point to a possible future?

The goal of this conversation will be to identify guiding principles for language access and inclusion that organizations should abide by.


Mohamed El Gohary

Lingua Manager and Board Member, Global Voices
avatar for Cayden Mak

Cayden Mak

Chief Technology Officer, 18MillionRising.org
Chief Technological Officer, 18 Million Rising
avatar for An Xiao Mina

An Xiao Mina

Director of Product, Meedan
An “An Xiao” Mina is a technologist, writer and artist. She leads the product team at Meedan, where they build tools for global journalism and translation. She was recently a 2016 Visiting Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow and a 2013 USC Getty Arts Journalism Fellow.An “An Xiao” Mina is a technologist, writer and artist. She leads the product team at Meedan, where they build tools for global journalism and translation. She was... Read More →

Kathleen Reen

Vice President for ICT Policy and Programs, Internews

Friday April 1, 2016 12:00pm - 1:15pm
The Lab

Attendees (28)