Government 2.0 development challenges are enormous.
The world is shrinking. The increasing use of Internet creates new opportunities.
Thus opens up before our eyes a real potential to conquer many States, which will eventually adopt this important trend in public management: government 2.0.
But in order to succeed, we must first realize a great dream of a generalized communication.
The time has come for major government 2.0 players and advocates to get rid of the idea that English is suitable for all situations, and to stop maintaining a degree of complacency based on a lack of implementation of multilingual communication strategies. This was likely based on the fact that their native language - English - also opens up large markets where English is not the official language.
However, a dialogue in the language of “foreign clients” is the first essential step, if we are to understand cultural differences and overcome the difficulties it generates.
So, to obtain further worldwide development of government 2.0, an opening to other languages would prove to be a winning strategy.
Moreover, English reigned as a supreme language on the web, because of IT. But this trend is being reversed. Internet users do not seem ready to sink into a unique "world culture". Soon, the Internet will see more non-anglophone users than English speaking users.
A few days ago, State leaders gathered at the Montreux Francophone Summit indicated they would like to have more influence at a global level. The Organisation internationale de la francophonie called for a reform of UN Security Council. "We decided to strengthen the role and visibility of the Francophonie in global governance, recognizing its value as a player in international relations," indicated a press release.
Government 2.0 advocates should exploit the desire of Francophone countries to assert their place in global governance, and should sell them the idea of citizen’s empowerment and open government.
Moreover, at Montreux Summit, Quebec Government announced it will host in 2012, as envisaged by the government of Jean Charest, an international forum about the French language. “States Summit participants supported this idea,” said Quebec Premier Jean Charest. The exercise should lead to a "deep reflection" to determine the "gestures needed to the assertion of the French language," said the prime minister.
Yesterday, Alan W. Silverberg (@IdeaGov) published in the Huffington Post, 'Why I Launched Gov20LA', where he explained that in February 2010, he established the first "un-conference" or un-camp in Los Angeles. Two items caught my attention: he spoke of "portal" (which makes me think about a multilingual information vertical portal on government 2.0), and he mentioned that the 2011 edition will include a live stream Spanish component.
To my knowledge this is the first government 2.0 un-conference to officially broadcast in a second language.
Individuals speaking other languages than English contribute to a global spread of information about government 2.0.
I have long dreamed about developing government 2.0 content in French language. I try to do my best with the means at hand.
In March 2009, I informally covered in French on Twitter, the government 2.0 un-conference, among others led by Dr. Mark Drapeau (@cheeky_geeky), which took place in Washington.
For some time, I have been assuring (voluntarily) a French language coverage on Twitter of Gov20Radio, founded by Adriel Hampton (@AdrielHampton).
I attended the Conference Beyond 2010 in Edmonton on October 20-21, 2010. With 150 tweets (predominantly in French) I positioned myself at the third position of top impact (among 355 Twitter users who participated in this event), according to a TweetTronics analysis.
A TweetTronics impact analysis for #gov20 conducted on November 1st indicated that I am the only French speaking Twitter user of the top 20 (I occupy the 15th position among 888 speakers) using the #gov20 hashtag.
Multilingual edition of content includes: translation, editing, proofreading, abstracting, interpreting, terminology, language technologies [speech processing, voice recognition and synthesis], etc. Multilingual edition is not simple: it requires budgets allocated for these tasks, but it also needs a well-oiled, flexible, fast and efficient team.
To build transcultural relationships, we must be willing to adapt, be aware that cultural barriers arise when translating, avoid negative stereotypes and count on good preparedness in intercultural comprehension.
Will an agency, a consortium of agencies, a government, or a group of governments, offer financial support to establishing multilingual communication strategies, in order to develop the government 2.0 tendency worldwide?