Why type matters #1
Failure to support the dotless i character in Turkish cell phone causes two deaths. Note to unnamed cell phone company: fix your bug.
Basically, in Turkish the dotless i is a different character than the i with a dot. Incorrectly leaving the dot on in displaying an SMS message from another cell phone led to a misunderstanding which culminated in a self-defence killing and a suicide.
Reportedly, most cell phones in Turkey don’t support the dotless i (which in the article is called a “closed i” – I’m using the font geek term instead).
Now, one might wonder why the cell phones lack Turkish localization support. Is it because of the expense of localizing (tailoring to a specific market) or globalizing (supporting more or all markets)? Are many Turkish cell phones grey market imports because they can be had cheaper that way?
Even if all cell phone companies were to localize their Turkish offerings, the same story could have happened with Turkish immigrants living in another country. In a perfect world, we would have cell phones everywhere that supported all the world’s languages. Of course, that’s not about to happen any time soon.
But at least it helps raise awareness of the issue, and perhaps more folks will think about how much language support they can squeeze into a product, and the costs and benefits of doing so.