Aug 22, 2020, 6:00:55 AM8/22/20
to Danishka Navin, Axel Hecht, dev-l10n, W.H.Kalpa Pathum, Gayan Kalhara
Thank you for keeping us updated, even when it is not particularly joyful news. Indeed this is unexpected for those of us who have come to associate localization in the Mozilla-enabled “ecosystem” with Axel and a a few others. I started interacting with – dare I say – his predecessor, Seth, who supported the initial efforts of the African localization network, as I joined in August 2009. With Seth’s departure soon after, Axel became our first and long-time interlocutor.
With time I’ve come to realize that it takes a great deal of patience, dedication, even self-sacrifice, for highly trained tech persons to accompany with near (tech) illiterates like myself. It must take some mental stamina to go beyond the bewilderment that some of our repetitive, rudimentary questions might cause. They betray our lack of understanding of the most basic logic involved in computing language, or at least what shows up in the interface to be translated and adapted into our language and cultural system of signs and symbols. Then, again, I guess that’s the difference – between those who know the “stuff” of its own sake and those who care for people who might not know the stuff but need it, for themselves and their communities. This painstaking effort enabled us to have a few African languages in a world-known browser like Firefox. And even though this drive has relented a great deal since the peak of 2012, with 12 African languages shipped, the experience has created a precedent, a reference point – a trail has been blazed. To be sure, this already heroic venture would have been simply epic if Firefox OS had been able to find its niche on the mobile market. Today more than then, the African user browses mainly on a smartphone, if not, another mobile device. And a full OS like Android but in Mozilla hands would have been revolutionary!
Yet again, it remains the rich experience we gained through the collaboration between Axel, Dwayne and Friedel through Pootle, and now Matjaz over Pontoon. As localizer, I profited from their benevolent engagement that went beyond the call of their contract duties. Heartfelt thanks for everything you gave me and us.
@ Axel: Viel Glück und alles Gute für die Zukunft.
All the best to you for your next engagement(s) and warmest regards,