In Mozfest 2015 Heather lead the localisation track. One of our focuses was to try de-geek localisation. There is a lot of focus in many areas on various tools. But very little on process, motivation or needs. So we focused a lot of effort on trying to sensitise people about the needs for localisation.
One way to do this is through games and fun. So we developed the idea of painting cows. Songhay has about 120 words that are used to describe cows. It’s important to realise that the words are terms, they are not descriptions. The word itself means how the cow appears.
This was an interesting exercise to expose young children to a language that is rich in words. And to show that making an English word for a Songhay word might be quite difficult, just as it is sometimes hard for translators to find a Songhay word for some English term.
Apart from lovingly illustrating some beautiful cows we had a lot of new people who learnt about Songhay, localisation and terminology development.