Localisation Sprint

Warsaw, Poland
20-22 November, 2004

Aspiration and Tactical Technology Collective will host a Localisation Sprint in Warsaw, Poland from the 20th to the 22nd of November, 2004. The event will bring 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 invite interested individuals and organisations 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 will be three-fold. First, individuals working in the localisation field rarely enjoy the opportunity to convene, grow relationships and collaborate on applied projects; the sprint will provide a venue for enhancing the social network of localisation practitioners while focusing on concrete outcomes. Second, the gathering will strive 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 will lay 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 organisations 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 will be comprised primarily of developers, eRiders and project managers 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 welcome the participation of other technology intermediaries (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 will be collaboratively designed by the participants in the weeks leading up to the event. The majority of time at the sprint will be 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. Space in the agenda will also be made for free-form brainstorming and visioning of future projects.

A key aspect of the agenda will involve 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 will be stored on a public “wiki” web site; such a site supports collective editing of pages by anyone viewing and wishing to contribute to the project. The wiki will be a focal outcome of the sprint, serving as a hub to enable open ongoing collaboration and documentation of progress.

Confirmed participants

A diverse group of localisation experts have already confirmed their participation in the Localisation Sprint:

Sunil Abraham is an industrial and production engineer and founder of Mahiti.org. Sunil leads a team of 20 software engineers servicing over 50 NGOs directly and over 500 NGOS indirectly. He is an expert in localisation of the Zope application server and a co-organiser of Asia Source 2005.

Dwayne Bailey is a director of the Translate.org.za project which translates various FOSS software into the 11 official languages of South Africa. Translate.org.za is working to unify the FOSS translation field by documenting processes and creating tools that make the barrier to entry for new translation teams much lower.

Tomas Krag is an associate of Tactical Tech and a co-founder of wire.less.dk, which specialises in community wireless networking and low-cost wireless networks for the developing world. He is currently working with Tactical Tech on a localisation guide for Linux.

Michal Mach is an Internet technologist who works with nonprofits in Poland. For the past 6 months he’s been working to internationalize Groundspring’s email and donation software systems for deployment in Eastern Europe. Michal works closely with Klon/Jawor Association, the largest Polish NGO gathering and publishing information on the non-profit sector in Poland.

Vladimir Petkov (aka Kaladan) lives and works in InterSpace MAC, Sofia, Bulgaria. He is especially proud that he takes part in Open Source Software Solutions for Bulgarian NGOs. Kaladan is one of the main translators working to localize GNOME for the Bulgarian language.

Call for participants

Individuals interested in participating in the sprint should send a short application detailing the following:

  • Name, organisation, and contact information
  • Experience with planning, implementing and maintaining localisation projects.
  • Areas of focus in doing localisation, particularly those on which you could lead discussion

The organisers seek to create a diverse and balanced participant group. Women are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants will be notified of their status as quickly as possible so as to include them in planning efforts, and participation will granted on a first-come, first-served basis, as space is limited.

Limited funds are available to assist with participant costs, but most participants will be expected to cover their expenses. The organisers will assist participants in locating appropriate lodging.

For more information, contact [email protected]