Design a site like this with
Get started

Localization (or Localisation?) and Context: Das Gegenüber

Localization is a commonly used term to refer to translating content into other languages — but it’s almost never as simple as that.

One of my German friends suggested I should write something for a German-speaking audience (alluding to some of my English language sites, such as this one or my indigena project).

I felt flattered, and a little bit flustered, too — because although both countries have been “home” for most of my life, I nonetheless do feel a little more American than German. Yet I do also know many German people who do not read any English — saying this sounds a little shocking to me, but probably because for me reading English seems so completely unproblematical (which it should be, as I am a native speaker! 😉 [1] ).

So very hesitantly, I considered the suggestion. Although I feel I have a very good understanding of the local culture, I generally feel reluctant to sacrifice my love of American ideals (such as freedom) for the perks of German ideals (such as law and order). I inquired what “heading” my friend thought I should attempt to place my writing under.

Of course, the first answers were not usable. Generally, they were brand name oriented titles … and all promising to deliver things like “the true truth” or admonishing the evils of bullshit. Most were names of Latin or Greek origin, which I expect many Germans might also not know how to spell (or even understand). After much back and forth, we finally arrived at what I consider to be a passable concept, albeit a little long to type: Gegenüber.NET — I feel this captures quite a few themes that play central roles in my own thinking (such as context, or perhaps Piaget’s ideas about the interplay between assimilation and accommodation). You can read a short introduction (in German) here: “Start: Das Gegenüber-Netzwerk“.

Gegenüber Netzwerk

I am curious (yet skeptical) how much engagement there will be. My hunch is that Germans are even less willing to entertain thoughts which are somewhat out of the ordinary, and anyways far less likely to stray from the all too well-worn paths of mainstream propaganda (regretably, this is one lesson I feel Germans have not been able to learn from their own horrific historical experience … which is today no longer actually experienced as much as it is slowly but surely becoming more and more “unreal”).

[1] I am actually something special, insofar as I am considered to be a native speaker of both German and English — this means I learned both languages as a native speaker of each language (and therefore my brain contains both languages separately, rather than translating between languages)