Why non-English Language Options Online Matter (or: A Bilingual Culture Nerd Walked into AlterConf)

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to speak at AlterConf, a traveling conference centered upon matters of diversity and inclusion, mainly in the tech and gaming spaces. My topic, “Opening the Internet: Looking Beyond English Dominance”, was my first ever submission of this kind and I’m grateful to the organizers for the chance. I’ve said words to a room, taught, and given presentations at school, but hadn’t presented a talk like this before. My perspective on the matter was coming more from my interest in culture, my own background in social science, as well as experience as a bilingual person, than a strictly tech basis. Yet, even while being about tech central to many of our lives, it went beyond that.

Technology is a series of tools, but we must center people in ways that we don’t always do right now. With so much creativity and the speed at which we come up with new options, sometimes we need to step back and make sure they work for as many people as possible. And if they don’t right off, have solid plans for that accessibility to come.

My conference experience was a positive one, and the day was filled with informative and even inspiring talks from different voices.

I’d like to thank my friend who shared her story with me to use, and to those who told me that this topic opened their eyes to why these options matter in our connected world. I’m looking forward to exploring these matters further. Stay tuned.

Please enjoy more talks from AlterConf NYC 2016 and from previous events at the AlterConf YouTube channel.