Back in the days of Wordperfect and the early days Microsoft Word, there were little options for language. English was American English so there was no ‘u’ in neighbour or colour and so on. As a young Canadian in those days, I was annoyed.
Times have changed bringing with it the ability in many programmes to change the language. However, most come with the default settings still set to USA values.
Working internationally for over 20 years has made me realise a missing ‘u’ was quite minor in comparison to complete missing languages. Or languages not using the Latin script. Or written and read in a different direction to mine.
Recently, while reading an article about human rights, race, and technology, I came across this phrase:
“The language of digital technology is American English and networked technologies are imbued with American norms…”Jesse Daniels
This prompted me to wonder what impact this reality has on how we engage with those we seek to serve, the majority of which are not from the US nor have American English as their mother tongue. What implications, bias, ‘colonial’ perspectives, are we, through technology, forcing on the vulnerable?
I’d be grateful to hear any thoughts or reactions.
Photo by Jason Leung