The Totally Non-standardized Languages Codes Everyone Uses – A Rollercoaster of Emotions

Track: Technical | T8 |
Friday, June 7, 2024, 2:30pm – 3:15pm
Held in: Room 6
Andrew McDonough - CaptionHub 
Mathijs Sonnemans - Blackbird International
Host: Gary Lefman

Anybody who has worked with two connected systems in our industry has come across the same problem: we have standardized language codes but none of the systems seem to use them. In fact, the number of different standards is almost as big as the number of systems. How did we get here? Is it just terrible design or are there more fundamental reasons? This problem is bad enough for textual content but becomes even more challenging when multimedia is involved. Strap in for a wild ride through the history of an unstable foundation of our industry: language codes.


Because language is the furthest thing from standardization one can get, it makes sense that over time different approaches to language codes have come up. Which in turn resulted in other developers being liberal with inventing their own standards. The best way to tackle this problem is to lean into diversity. Even creating a formalized mapping will cause problems because “what is en-nz in one system should go to EN-GB for one client but to EN-US for the other”. Embrace that everything around this topic should be hyper-versatile and you will succeed. Audiovisual localization introduces even more dimensions when it comes to languages and standardization. The presenters will show how they have tackled these problems so others can be inspired by their strategies.