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Multimedia Localization

What is Multimedia?:
When browsing through the many online dictionaries and resources available for free today, I found a variety of different definitions of multimedia, each stressing certain aspects. My favorite is a short and open definition found on the excellent Glossary of Terms by Scala, Inc.: "Multimedia is the combination of various presentation media such as text, sound, graphics, animation, and video.
The mother of all dictionaries - Encyclopædia Britannica which only gives you the first lines of an article for free, features only the term "interactive multimedia", stressing another apect of multimedia: interactivity: "Any computer-delivered electronic system that allows the user to control, combine, and manipulate different types of media, such as text, sound, video, computer graphics, and animation. Interactive multimedia integrate computer, memory storage, digital (binary) data, telephone, television, and other information technologies. Their most common applications include…"
One more I give you: the comprehensive Webopedia: Online Dictionary for Computer and Internet Terms, emphasises the importance of computers in multimedia: "The use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way. Long touted as the future revolution in computing, multimedia applications were, until the mid-90s, uncommon due to the expensive hardware required. With increases in performance and decreases in price, however, multimedia is now commonplace. Nearly all PCs are capable of displaying video, though the resolution available depends on the power of the computer's video adapter and CPU. Because of the storage demands of multimedia applications, the most effective media are CD-ROMs."

Besides the case of the "pure" media text and voice, it is the common problem in all types of media and in any combination of those (multimedia) to have written and spoken language accessible for an easy localization and then get those translation back into the media. As multimedia is obviously a wide field, I will focus on a few quite different examples which are all important media types in Internet presentations: Images, Macromedia Flash Movies and Digital Video. I will describe the opportunity and challanges of these special media formats in terms of localization efferts and provide a short overview of the tools of the trade.


© 2003 by Dr. Thomas Wassmer, e-mail: tom at softreviews.org


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