Fwd: MS & Mapuche conflict re localized Windows

Don Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Sat Nov 25 16:16:10 UTC 2006

There is a current controversy in Chile re MS Windows localized in
Mapuche. I posted an inquiry about it to another list and one reply
had some additional links (these are both appended below). From online
translations of the Spanish links, it seems that the Windows project
involved the Chilean Ministry of Education, the Corporación Nacional
Indígena Conadi, and the Universidad de La Frontera - but no one
thought to involve the traditional leadership? I'd be interested to
know if anyone on ILAT has additional information or explanations
about this issue. (One is aware of course of some aspects of Mapuche
history but how that relates to the current issue, and specifics of
the project and reaction to it are of particular interest.)



--- In l10n_project_management at yahoogroups.com, "Don Osborn" <dzo at ...>

I hope this is ontopic - it concerns a particular kind of L10n
management issue: localization of software for a less-widely-spoken
language and objection to that by the speaker community (or at least
some influential parts of it). 

See: "Microsoft in legal battle with Chilean tribe:
Chile's Mapuche Indians allege that Microsoft translated Windows
software into their native language without getting tribal leaders'

This is a little puzzling having heard MS's talk about how they
approach L10n, working with the community etc. How could they have
gotten that far without encountering issues relating to the Mapuche's
traditional authorities and their feelings about this project? What
kind of language experts were they working with in the community? Or
was it all done with linguists based in, say, universities in the main
cities who had less ties to the community? Are there other dimensions
to this issue that the article does not mention?

This is of considerable interest since there is increasing attention
to localizing software - FOSS as well as proprietary - in various
languages. There is to my knowledge no "playbook" or guide to the
cross-cultural dimensions of localization projects, at least not in
non-Western cultures that might not see the process in just the way
that outside (from other countries or even within the same countries)
experts might assume they would.

It would be easy to assume that a local group working on FOSS
localization would be better in touch with the local realities than a
multinational, but this is not necessarily the case.

Drawing on some experience in international development (rural
community development and its contexts) I've been working on the
concept of "localization ecology" as a way of accounting for
dimensions of the process that go beyond the technical + language
interface that is the main preoccupation of l10n projects. So any
further information on the particulars of the disagreement in Chile,
or comments thereon, would be of great interest.


Don Osborn
PanAfrican Localisation project

--- End of 1st forwarded message ---

--- In l10n_project_management at yahoogroups.com, Orlando Ribeiro
<orlando.ribeiro at ...> wrote:

I would like to suggest some links about the subject "MS & Mapuche
conflict re localized Windows" that I have got. Althoug they are in
spanish,  I thik they are useful to help us to understand the impact
of the subject in other countries of South America. I think it is an
interesting opportunity to learn a little bit more about cross culture.

Windows in Mapuzugun: Microsoft page in Chile (spanish):

Chile/Mapuches acusan a Microsoft de pirataría intelectual (spanish)
Yahoo (Argentina): mapuches acusan de piratería a Microsoft -


Orlando Ribeiro
Software/hardware documentation & translation

Ribeirão Preto - SP - Brazil

--- End of 2nd forwarded message ---

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