How the shift to digital publishing crosses language barriers…

Accessibility to published materials is often determined by the provenance of what is being published.

For example, traditionally an English speaker living in an English speaking country would be unlikely to access or seek out a foreign publication, unless the works or published material had been translated into English.  This is an example of a ‘closed’ or ‘localised’ public network as you’re access to sources is limited by your language understanding.

Now such closed networks worked fine…for a while…but the world today is a globalised one and this calls for a more globalised public network.

Many modes of publishing contribute to a global network, from films and songs that are produced in different languages, news groups with international branches, or even images that often can be understood cross-culturally. In particular, however, is the shift to digital publishing, which has been instrumental in building a more globalised public network today, especially in terms of access to publications in foreign languages.

The definition of digital publishing - Publishing, essentially, is the act of putting together written, visual or audio materials and releasing them as a cohesive whole to the world at large. Originally, publishing was done in the form of books, whether as papyrus scrolls or bound in covers. Publishing continued in this form until paper was taken out of the equation and replaced by digital files placed online.

How does digital publishing do this?  

  1. Because the World Wide Web is exactly it’s namesake – ‘world wide’ – there is more incentive for published materials to be accessible in different languages i.e. many websites have the option to be viewed in different languages, and becomes a priority in the publishing process.
  2. Furthermore, even if a page is not able to be viewed in different language versions, all is not lost, there are now specific web technologies that will translate entire pages on the spot i.e. google translator

These are just two examples that paint the picture of how the nature of digital publishing itself incentivises globalised content and new technologies enhance this ability to be more accessible.

So what does this mean?

It means our social contexts, our ‘publics’ are more diverse than ever before, and not only in terms of the many different modes of publishing, but because language barriers are being crossed all the time leading to a more globalised ‘public’ space.

So what’s going to happen?

Free online translator’s similar to Google Translate will continue to offer easy and quick translations and other media company’s old and new might capitalise on the need for published material to be more global, like translating software companies Systran, or Translate Media.

If your interested, watch Translate Media’s software system overview below.

Translate media are a great example of a company capitalising on the need for more global materials with their service called ‘Transcreation’, a translating service specializing in marketing products and services to consumers around the world through cultural adapations – creative translating they have tagged it.

‘What is the Welsh translation for “microwave”? The correct translation is “micro-don” but we think “popty-ping” has a nice ring to it. If you are a Welsh speaker, you’ll understand why… By using our transcreation services, we can quickly provide you with content suitable for all your target markets, while taking into account any cultural differences that could affect your promotional material and making sure it remains interesting to read.’

The cross cultural aspect of publishing is becoming very important, and digital publishing in combination with new media technologies has expanded the accessibility to published materials. So go crazy, the digital world really is your playground!

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