Many companies are realizing the problems with cross-cultural
communications, especially with the emergence of the Internet and
the World Wide Web (WWW). To truly be able to communicate with
people in every corner of the globe, there must be some alternatives
to forcing everyone to speak one common language. I believe that
as the Internet continues to grow in its popularity, new ways of
communicating globally will develop and larger corporations will
realize the importance of multilingual sites or built in
There are already a few alternatives available for those who wish to make their sites multilingual. Some companies give the user a choice from the home page as to what language they will continue in. But their home pages are in English. Two very good examples of this alternative are Direct Language Communications and Accent Software. Even Netscape Navagator, the most widely used browser has addressed the problem of global communications. Based in the Silicon Valley, Netscape Communications Corps home page is in English, but that is not their only home page. Netscape has created home pages in ten different languages. (Taylor) To reach any of Netscapes alternative language home pages, a user simply has to use the URL http://home.netscape.com, and add the two-letter country code. For example, http://home.jp.netscape.com/ja/index.html would be the Japanese home page. (Taylor) There are also Netscape home pages available in Korean, Italian, German, Spanish, French and many other languages.
Another alternative that is beginning to take off is the use of multilingual translators. One of the most talked about translation programs today is Accent, by Accent Software International Ltd. "Accent will integrate its multilingual Internet technology with Netscape Navigator 2.0. Users will now be able to browse the Web and view content which is produced in languages other than English." (Accent...) Accent will work in any of 30 languages, including Russian, Arabic and Greek. Accent will allow users to not only read in their native tongue, but also publish HTML documents and e-mail messages. Another translator program has been introduced by Global Link. This program converts English into French, German and Spanish. (Multilingual...) These translator programs have not been as well received as hoped because of the problems with translating slang and words that have more than one meaning. In order for machine translation to be accurate, there must be some regulations or restrictions as to language usage.
These are just a few alternatives available to communicate between cultures and from one corner of the world to another. As time moves on and the Internet and the WWW continue to gain popularity, a usable alternative must be found. We can not be far away from a truly global world.