Photo by Stuart Caie
Living in a small country forces you to learn English to some extent to be successful in any area and especially in programming. On the other hand, developers in larger countries like Russia, China, Japan, etc. can be successful with no working knowledge of English, because of large internal communities. And even for them, I would argue, being able to at least read in English is a critical skill that should be learned before everything else. That said it’s pretty obvious why large developer platform companies like Microsoft invest into encouraging local talent in these larger markets to blog and speak about their technologies in local languages. It’s an open market and whoever serves it best wins.
But, as I mentioned above, developers in smaller countries comprehend English technical texts as good (if not better) than in their native language. After all not many know all the “artificial” local technical terms. We may suck at writing and speaking (like I do), but we are pretty good at reading. It’s nearly impossible to be hired for a developer position without being able to read in English.
Unfortunately large corporations have a generalized view on local evangelism. Local talent in small countries is encouraged to blog in the native language, creating content that is either already available in English or that 0,0002% of world’s population can read. Usually both. I think it’s a wasteful practice. Instead of creating real value for the worldwide developer community (and for themselves) these talented individuals waste their time on work that shouldn’t be done at all or done by translators.
And market rules that are easily applicable in large markets do not apply here. Because, guess what? No one cares about reading a blog post about solving a general programming problem in Lithuanian. And if I’m looking for a solution to my problem and can only find a blog post about it in Hungarian it’s a waste of someone’s talent. I could’ve solved my problem. I could’ve subscribed to this person’s blog, followed her on Twitter and suggested my local evangelist to invite her to an upcoming conference. But none of this happens because the global policy is to foster original localized content.
I think it’s stupid.