Setting Project Objectives

What are the aims of your project? Without that defined you are bound to wander aimlessly and might be surprised when what you thought were your objectives are not being met.

Some misguided objectives

It is always useful to look at some poorly formulated objectives and work from there. So here are some examples:

Disconnected from reality

“Our goal is to ensure that people who speak Eastern Blowfish can use computers in their mother tongue”. The Eastern Blowfish team then decides to localise GNOME. However, the reality in West Smedburg is that people use Windows and end-users have not adopted Linux in any great numbers. The result is an effort to localise which will probably be successful at localisation but not at impacting the lives of the stated users as they are all still battling away in English on Windows.

A real world example. The project initially selected the KDE as its first localisation project. The goal was a little more defined in that we hoped to impact users at the same time as promoting Linux. When we readjusted our objectives we realised that if we wanted to impact language speakers then we would have to be localising cross-platform projects such as and Mozilla Product Localisation. Thus our objectives have shifted.

Another example is that of a localiser who I met who reiterated the Eastern Blowfish example but for a real language, his mother tongue. However, on challenging him it turned out he was his family’s computer guru. He wanted them to use computers in their mother tongue. So really his objective was: “I want to localise so that my mother can email using GNOME in her mother tongue”. This is a perfectly valid goal – just don’t confuse it by saying your doing it for everyone.

“I translated my Linux distribution’s installer because that is where people start.” The truth is that most computer users don’t install their own operating systems, and that such installation is only done on occasion. Translating software that people use daily will have much more of an impact.