Hello, dearest Increment readers, and welcome to 2019.
To build software, digital products, and infrastructure, it takes planning, ingenuity, tenacity, and, of course, some degree of technical acumen. To build them well—to make them really, truly excellent— takes thoughtfulness, humility, and heart. This is especially true when it comes to internationalization and localization, and one of many reasons why you should treat those processes with the same care you put in to building the magical thing you built.
In this issue, weʼre exploring core elements of internationalization and localization, and considering how taking a product global doesnʼt just bring customers to you, but brings your product to new people. And because the world is a big, big picture, weʼve stretched the idea a little further, looking at the roles type and linguistic access and emoji play, as well as how cultures and geographies influence what we build and where we build it.
While I hope you take something practical away from this issue—your codebase isnʼt going to internationalize itself!—I also hope it will give you something more. The world beyond your office windows is not an afterthought. Internationalization requires us to question our assumptions, be willing to learn, and to do what it takes to welcome and be welcomed. Letʼs do it.
Until next time,
Editor in Chief
P.S. Please join me in welcoming Incrementʼs new associate editor, Molly McArdle. Drum roll please…
Iʼm Molly. Itʼs nothing less than a privilege to have your time and attention in this moment and place, so thanks for reading. Iʼm very excited to be a part of Incrementʼs editorial team: I love, especially, how invested we are in doing things well, from our gorgeous illustrations to our broad editorial vision. If software is a kind of architecture, then internationalization is a measure of its accessibility. And software, like architecture, like a magazine, is for use.
Before joining Increment, I traveled quite a lot for work: dozens of countries in a year and, on one extraordinary day, four non-contiguous countries in 18 hours. (An American passport is a literal superpower.) As a travel writer, my work was a kind of internationalization: How would I describe, contextualize, understand myself in a place new to me? How would I then translate that place to readers back home? To do both kinds of work well, you have to be open to not knowing: a state that can be both thrilling and terrifying. Thereʼs also no better place to begin.