Books and articles across borders and languages (1990-2015) [quotes]
By Marie Lebert, April 2016.
Here are a few excerpts from the interviews I conducted during fifteen years for this book.
“Whereas ‘mother-tongue education’ was deemed a human right for every child in the world by a UNESCO report in the early 1950s, ‘mother-tongue surfing’ may very well be the Information Age equivalent. If the internet is to truly become the Global Network that it is promoted as being, then all users, regardless of language background, should have access to it.” (Brian King, director of the WorldWide Language Institute (WWLI), interviewed in September 1998)
“The joy for me is the ability to combine my vocational skills in high-tech and marketing with avocational interests like language into one. To love what you do and do what you love. Because the internet has no national boundaries, the organization of users is bounded by other criteria driven by the medium itself. In terms of multilingualism, you have virtual communities, for example, of what I call ‘language nations’.” (Randy Hobler, internet marketing consultant for translation software and services, interviewed in September 1998)
“The web will be an encyclopedia of the world by the world for the world. There will be no information or knowledge that anyone needs that will not be available. The major hindrance to international and interpersonal understanding, personal and institutional enhancement, will be removed. It would take a wilder imagination than mine to predict the effect of this development on the nature of humankind.” (Robert Beard, founder of A Web of Online Dictionaries, interviewed in October 1998)
“It is very important to be able to communicate in various languages. I would even say this is mandatory, because the information given on the internet is meant for the whole world, so why wouldn’t we get this information in our language, or in the language we wish? Worldwide information, but no broad choice for languages, this would be quite a contradiction, wouldn’t it?” (Maria Victoria Marinetti, Spanish teacher and translator, interviewed in August 1999)
“Information becomes more conspicuous than the air that we breathe and more fluid than water. (…) I see my professional future as an extension of what I do currently: using technology to enhance intercultural exchanges. I hope to associate myself with the right group of people to go beyond Haiti, and advance towards this ideal of one world, one love. (…) The web is an interconnected network of servers and personal computers, at the keyboard of which you will find a person, an individual.” (Guy Antoine, founder of Windows on Haiti, interviewed in November 1999)
“I see the digital book of the future as a ‘full work’ putting together text, sound, images, video, interactivity, languages: a new way to conceive, and write, and read, perhaps on a single book, constantly renewed, which would hold everything we have read, a single and multiple companion. Utopian? Improbable? Maybe not that much!” (Nicolas Pewny, publishing consultant, interviewed in February 2003)
“To my eyes, there are at least two emerging trends for ebooks: (a) an increasingly attractive and functional interface for reading/consultation (navigation, searching, restructuring on the fly, user annotations, interactive quiz); (b) a multimedia integration (video, sound, animated graphics, database) now strongly coupled to the web. No physical book offers such features. So I imagine the ebook of the future as a kind of wiki crystallized and packaged in a given format. How valuable will it be? Its value will be that of a book: the unity and quality of editorial work!” (Marc Autret, developer and graphic designer, interviewed in December 2006)
“The luck we all have is to live here and now this fantastic change. When I was born in 1963, computers didn’t have much memory. Today, my e-reader could hold billions of pages, a true local library. Tomorrow, by the combined effects of the Moore Law and the ubiquity of networks, we will have instant access to works and knowledge. We won’t be much interested any more on which device to store information. We will be interested in handy functions and beautiful objects.” (Pierre Schweitzer, designer of the @folio prototype, interviewed in December 2006)
“I see a huge expansion of digital reading with tablets that are easy to use, and with a very large choice of ebooks. I use the internet all the time to find partners and ideas. I also use ebooks to learn the art of innovation! As for the internet and multilingualism, I think it is improving all the time, especially with Google Chrome, where you have the option to translate the site you are on immediately. Google Translation also improves all the time and even minority languages appear!” (Henk Slettenhaar, founder of the Swiss Silicon Valley Association, interviewed in June 2011 and November 2015)
Copyright © 2015 Marie Lebert