MultilingualWeb and the City of Pisa

MultilingualWeb is a distinct conference that sets itself apart, in the same way that Pisa is a distinct city that sets itself apart. Indeed “Content on the Multilingual Web” was the second of the Workshops of the MultilingualWeb project and not a real conference. I’m used to the translation industry’s massive meetings, such as Localization World and the new GALA ones, which I talked about in another post (Gala Lisbon), or the more technical but very interesting TAUS events, or conferences of other industries that are attended by a much larger crowd. MultilingualWeb Pisa was something entirely different, in the same way that the city of Pisa is something entirely different, too.

The conferences organized by GALA and Localization World are centered more on doing business. This is neither good nor bad; it is just what it is. At MultilingualWeb, although its organizer Richard Ishida warned the presenters to forget any mention of marketing, the reality is that the air we were breathing was different: a mixture-up of college with geek. And, even though someone did dare to make a presentation with the idea of doing business, it did not receive a warm welcome. Most did not make presentations in this vein, and that was the spirit that surrounded the conference, as I will be addressing in my next post: The Workshop Spirit encompassed by the Multilingual Web.

As we already expressed in a previous contribution, MultilingualWeb is a project coordinated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Madrid Multilingual Workshop was the first event. Pisa Workshop was dedicated to “Content on the Multilingual Web” and divided into 6 sections: Developers, Designers, Localizers, Machines, Users and Policies.

Trusted Translations had the honor of being asked to be on the panel of Users, sharing its experience of working on Positioning in the Multilingual Web. The other members of this esteemed panel were Paula Shannon from Lionbridge, Maarten de Rijke from the University of Amsterdam, Chiara Pacella from Facebook and Ian Truscott from SDL. The Chair of the Users section of the Workshop was Christian Lieske from SAP.

Pisa is a beautiful city that is the very essence of cozy. Even without the tower it would still be stunning. It reminded me of a miniature Rome, but without the contamination of the future. It even has a river, the peaceful Arno, running through it comparable to the Tiber.

All of the feedback I received from the audience was that MultilingualWeb Pisa was a success, and for me it was definitely a new experience.

Unlike the city of Pisa, which, I contend, would be just as beautiful without its emblematic tower, it seems that MultilingualWeb’s initiative could not have been undertaken without the efforts of Richard Ishida. But except for this difference, the “Content on the Multilingual Web” Workshop greatly resembled the city.

The choice of Pisa for the workshop on Content en the Multilingual Web could not have been more appropriate and the venue, Area della Ricerca CNR, matched the charm of this beautiful city.

As I told before, in a future post I will talk about the spirit that filled the participants and attendants at the MultilingualWeb Content Workshop, which was precisely the spirit of the city of Pisa.