The New URI.org and Non-English Speaking Visitors

24 March 2010, 5:50 PM

It is a high-priority that URI’s new main website offers hospitality to ALL visitors. The interviews, focus groups and other feedback from different parts of URI and outside URI confirmed that the new URI.org should reasonably accommodate visitors who speak languages other than English.

Most Internet users are aware of online tools, like http://www.translate.google.comhttp://www.babelfish.yahoo.com and many others, for translating web pages. Some regional and CC websites already incorporate these translation tools as a service directly on the sites. And more translation tools and services are on the way from companies like www.smartling.com. Translation is such an important and worthy challenge for URI; I will try to stay up-to-date with the possibilities and share them with you.

The new URI.org is designed to anticipate the language of the visitor by detecting the language setting of the computer operating system. If a visitor is using a computer with the primary language set to English, when they go to http://www.uri.org, they will immediately see the home page and can browse the rest of the site, primarily in English. If the computer is set to a different primary language, the visitor is presented with a “welcome mat,” a window that appears on top of the home page with a special greeting in the anticipated language of the user with clear options to read select content in the language of the user (like he Charter, if available), to read key content in a supported language, or to enter the full main website primarily in English. It will look something like this.

Cooperation Circle Pages at URI.org

We can have as many “welcome mat” variations as there are languages in the URI community and beyond (for example, French as spoken in Belgium, French as spoken in Canada, etc.) so long as it corresponds with the languages generally recognized by Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. We need the help of the Regional Coordinators to translate the brief “welcome mat” message(or have someone do it) into as many languages as is relevant to each region. The following form is for anyone doing the translations. It should take 5-10 minutes to complete the form:

http://www.formstack.com/forms/uri-welcome

More detailed key content about URI, the regions and Cooperation Circles, and the action areas of work (local, regional and global) will be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean and Urdu, with the possibility of adding more languages in the future. The English version of the content is in the process of being edited and those edits will need to be approved. Once the text is in its final form (about 2 pages), I will send it to the following people in early April for translation: Maria (Spanish), Elias (Portuguese), Mamoun (Arabic), Jinwol (Korean) and Fr. James (Urdu). These translations will be due before the site launch at the end of April. The earlier we receive the translations the more time we have to test and troubleshoot. Please let me know if you anticipate any difficulties with the translation so that I can find someone else.