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Title: Interviews (1998-2001)
Author: Lebert, Marie
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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INTERVIEWS (1998-2001)


NEF, University of Toronto, 2001

Copyright © 2001 Marie Lebert

What do they do on the Web? What do they think of the Internet, copyright,
multilingualism, the future of paper, the e-book, the information society, etc.?
A series of interviews between 1998 and 2001 with writers, journalists,
publishers, booksellers, librarians, professors, researchers, linguists, etc.
There is also a French version (with more interviews): Entretiens (1998-2001),
and a Spanish version (with a few interviews): Entrevistas (1998-2001). The
original versions are available on the NEF, University of Toronto:


(*) Interviews translated by Marie Lebert (with Greg Chamberlain).

Guy Antoine (New Jersey) / Founder of Windows on Haiti, a source of positive
information about Haitian culture

Arlette Attali * (Paris) / Head of Research and Internet Projects at the INaLF
(Institut national de la langue française - National Institute of the French

Robert Beard (Pennsylvania) / Co-Founder of yourDictionary.com, a major language

Michael Behrens (Bielefeld, Germany) / In charge of the digital library of
Bielfeld University Library

Guy Bertrand & Cynthia Delisle * (Montreal) / Respectively scientific director
and consultant at the CEVEIL (Centre d'expertise et de veille inforoutes et
langues - Centre for Assessment and Monitoring of Information Highways and

Alain Bron * (Paris) / Information systems consultant and writer. The Internet
is one of the "characters" of his novel Sanguine sur toile (Sanguine on the Web)

Tyler Chambers (Boston) / Creator of The Human-Languages Page (who became
iLoveLanguages in 2001) and The Internet Dictionary Project

Alain Clavet * (Ottawa) / Policy analyst with the Office of the Commissioner of
the Official Languages in Canada

Jean-Pierre Cloutier * (Montreal) / Editor of Chroniques de Cybérie, a weekly
report of Internet news

Kushal Dave * (Yale) / Student at Yale University

Bruno Didier * (Paris) / Webmaster of the Institute Pasteur Library

Catherine Domain * (Paris) / Founder of the Ulysses Bookstore (Librairie
Ulysse), the oldest travel bookstore in the world

Helen Dry (Michigan) / Moderator of The Linguist List

Bill Dunlap (Paris & San Francisco) / Founder of Global Reach, a methodology for
companies to expand their Internet presence through a multilingual website

Jacques Gauchey * (San Francisco) / Specialist in the information technology
industry, "facilitator" between the United States and Europe, and journalist

Marcel Grangier * (Bern) / Head of the French Section of the Swiss Federal
Government's Central Linguistic Services

Barbara F. Grimes (Hawaii) / Editor of Ethnologue: Languages of the World

library on the Internet

Roberto Hernández Montoya * (Caracas) / Head of the digital library of the
electronic magazine Venezuela Analítica

Randy Hobler (Dobbs Ferry, New York) / Internet Marketing Consultant. Worked at
Globalink, a company specialized in language translation software and services

Eduard Hovy (Marina del Rey, California) / Head of the Natural Language Group at
the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California

Christiane Jadelot * (Nancy, France) / Researcher at the INaLF (Institut
national de la langue française - National Institute of the French Language)

Jean-Paul * (Paris) / Webmaster of cotres furtifs (Furtive Cutter Ships), a
website that tells stories in 3D

Brian King / Director of the WorldWide Language Institute, who initiated NetGlos
(The Multilingual Glossary of Internet Terminology)

Geoffrey Kingscott (London) / Co-editor of the online magazine Language Today

Steven Krauwer (Utrecht, Netherlands) / Coordinator of the European Network of
Excellence in Human Language Technologies (ELSNET)

Michael Martin (Berkeley, California) / Founder and president of Travlang, a
site dedicated both to travel and languages

Tim McKenna (Geneva) / Thinks and writes about the complexity of truth in a
world of flux

Yoshi Mikami (Fujisawa, Japan) / Creator of The Languages of the World by
Computers and the Internet, and co-author of The Multilingual Web Guide

John Mark Ockerbloom (Pennsylvania) / Founder of The On-Line Books Page, listing
freely-available online books

Caoimhín P. Ó Donnaíle (Island of Skye, Scotland) / Maintains a list of european
minority languages on the main website with information on Scottish Gaelic

Jacques Pataillot * (Paris) / Management Consultant with the firm Cap Gemini
Ernst & Young

Peter Raggett (Paris) / Head of the Centre for Documentation and Information
(CDI) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Henri Slettenhaar (Geneva) / Professor in communication technology at Webster

Murray Suid (Palo Alto, California) / Writer, works for EDVantage Software, an
Internet company specialized in educational software

June Thompson (Hull, United Kingdom) / Manager of the C&IT (Communications &
Information Technology) Centre at the University of Hull

Paul Treanor (Netherlands) / Created a personal website with a section on the
future of languages in Europe

François Vadrot * (Paris) / Founder, chairman and managing director of FTPress
(French Touch Press), a cybermedia company

Robert Ware (Colorado) / Creator of Onelook Dictionaries, a fast finder of words
in 650 dictionaries

GUY ANTOINE (New Jersey)

#Founder of Windows on Haiti, a source of positive information about Haitian

*Interview of November 22, 1999

= Can you tell us about Windows on Haiti?

At the end of April 1998, I launched an Internet site, simple in concept, but
ambitious in its reach and overall scope. The site aims to be a major source of
information about Haitian culture, and a tool to counter the persistently
negative images of Haiti from the traditional media. The scope of this effort
extends beyond mere commentary to the diversity of arts and history, cuisine and
music, literature and reminiscences of traditional Haitian life. It is
punctuated by a different sort of guestbook where the visitor's personal
testimony of his ties to Haiti is highly encouraged. In short, the site opens
some new windows to the culture of Haiti.

= What exactly is your professional activity?

For the past 20 years, my professional activity has consisted of working with
computers in various areas: system design, programming, networking,
troubleshooting, assembling PCs, and web design. Finally, my primary web site,
which has almost overnight become a hub of connectivity between diverse groups
and individuals interested in Haitian culture, has propelled me into a
quasi-professional activity of information gathering, social commentary,
editorial writing, and evangelism for the culture of Haiti.

= How did using the Internet change your professional and personal life?

The Internet has greatly changed both my professional and personal life. Due to
the constant flow of information, I sleep very much less now than I used to. But
the greatest change has been in the multiplicity of contacts in cultural,
academic, and journalistic circles, as well as with ordinary people around the
globe, that this activity has provided me. As a result, I am now a lot more
aware of professional resources around the world, related to my activity, and of
the surprising level of international fascination with Haitian culture,
religion, politics, and literature. On a personal level, this also means that I
have quite a few more friends than before I immersed myself in this particular

= How do you see your professional future?

I see my professional future as an extension of what I do currently: using
technology to enhance intercultural exchanges. I hope to associate myself with
the right group of people to go beyond Haiti, and advance towards this ideal of
one world, one love.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

The debate will continue forever, as information becomes more conspicuous than
the air that we breathe and more fluid than water. These days, one can purchase
the video of a film that was released just the week before, and it will not be
long before one can watch scenes from one other's private life over the Net
without his/her knowledge. What is daunting about the Internet is that so many
are willing to do the dirty work for free, as sort of an initiation rite. This
mindset will continue to exert increasing pressures on the issues of copyrights
and intellectual property.

Authors will have to become a lot more creative in terms of how to control the
dissemination of their work and profit from it. The best that we can do right
now is to promote basic standards of professionalism, and insist at the very
least that the source and authorship of any work be duly acknowledged.
Technology will have to evolve to support the authorization process.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Very positively. It is true that for all intents and purposes English will
continue to dominate the Web. This is not so bad in my view, in spite of
regional sentiments to the contrary, because we do need a common language to
foster communications between people the world over. That being said, I do not
adopt the doomsday view that other languages will just roll over in submission.
Quite the contrary. The Net can serve, first of all, as a repository of useful
information on minority languages that might otherwise vanish without leaving a
trace. Beyond that, I believe that it provides an incentive for people to learn
languages associated with the cultures about which they are attempting to gather
information. One soon realizes that the language of a people is an essential and
inextricable part of its culture.

From this standpoint, I have much less faith in mechanized tools of language
translation, which render words and phrases but do a poor job of conveying the
soul of a people. Who are the Haitian people, for instance, without "Kreyòl"
(Creole for the non-initiated), the language that has evolved and bound various
African tribes transplanted in Haiti during the slavery period? It is the most
palpable exponent of commonality that defines us as a people. However, it is
primarily a spoken language, not a widely written one. I see the Web changing
this situation more so than any traditional means of language dissemination.

In Windows on Haiti, the primary language of the site is English, but one will
equally find a center of lively discussion conducted in "Kreyòl". In addition,
one will find documents related to Haiti in French, in the old colonial creole,
and I am open to publishing others in Spanish and other languages. I do not
offer any sort of translation, but multilingualism is alive and well at the
site, and I predict that this will increasingly become the norm throughout the

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

People. The Web is an interconnected network of servers and personal computers,
at the keyboard of which you will find a person, an individual. This has
afforded me the opportunity of testing my ideas, acquiring new ones, and best of
all, of forging personal friendships with people far away and eventually meeting

= And your worst experience?

People. I do not want to expand on that, but some personalities simply have a
way of getting under your skin.

*Interview of June 29, 2001

= What has happened since our last interview?

Since our last interview, I have accepted the position of Director of
Communications and Strategic Relations for Mason Integrated Technologies, a
company whose main objective is to create tools for communications, and the
accessibility of documents created in the world's minority languages. Due to the
board's experience in the matter, Haitian Creole (Kreyol) has been a prime area
of focus. Kreyol is the only national language of Haiti, and one of its two
official languages, the other being French. It is hardly a minority language in
the Caribbean context, since it is spoken by eight to ten million people.

Aside from those responsibilities, I have taken the promotion of Kreyol as a
personal cause, since that language is the strongest of bonds uniting all
Haitians, in spite of a small but disproportionately influential Haitian elite's
disdainful attitude to adopting standards for the writing of Kreyol and
supporting the publication of books and official communications in that
language. For instance, there was recently a two-week book event in Haiti's
Capital and it was promoted as "Livres en folie". Some 500 books from Haitian
authors were on display, among which one could find perhaps 20 written in
Kreyol. This is within the context of France's major push to celebrate
francophony among its former colonies. This palys rather well in Haiti, but
directly at the expense of creolophony.

What I have created in response to those attitudes are two discussion forums on
my web site, Windows on Haiti, held exclusively in Kreyol. One is for general
discussions on just about everything but obviously more focused on Haití's
current socio-political problems. The other is reserved only to debates of
writing standards for Kreyol. Those debates have been quite spirited and have
met with the participation of a number of linguistic experts. The uniqueness of
these forums is their non-academic nature. Nowhere else on the Net have I found
such a willing and free exchange between experts and laymen debating the merits
and standards for a language in that language itself.

= How much do you still work with paper?

As little as possible, which is still a lot. If I am dealing with a document
that I want to preserve for future reference, I always print it and catalog it.
It may not be available when I am away from my home office, but when I am there,
I like the comfort of knowing that I can reach for it in a physical sense, and
not rely solely on electronic backup, the reliability of the operating system,
or my ISP (Internet service provider) for Internet access. So, for what I
consider worth preserving, there is a fair amount of redundancy, and paper still
has its place.

= What do you think about e-books?

Sorry, I haven't tried them yet. Perhaps because of this, it still appears to me
like a very odd concept, something that the technology made possible, but for
which there will not be any wide usage, except perhaps for classic reference
texts. High school and college textbooks could be a useful application of the
technology, in that there would be much lighter backpacks to carry. But for the
sheer pleasure of reading, I can hardly imagine getting cozy with a good e-book.

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

It's literally the newest frontier for mankind, a place where everyone can claim
his place, and do so with relative ease and a minimum of financial resources,
before heavy inter-governmental regulations and taxation finally set in. But
then, there will be another.


#Head of Research and Internet Projects at the INaLF (Institut national de la
langue française - National Institute of the French Language)

The purpose of the INaLF -- part of the France's National Centre for Scientific
Research (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS) -- is to design
research programmes on the French language, particularly its vocabulary. The
INaLF's constantly expanding and revised data, processed by special computer
systems, deal with all aspects of the French language: literary discourse
(14th-20th centuries), everyday language (written and spoken), scientific and
technical language (terminologies), and regional languages. This data, which is
an very important study resource, is made available to people interested in the
French language (teachers and researchers, business people, the service sector
and the general public) through publications and databases.

Frantext is one of the best French textual databases on the Internet. It is a
collection of about 3,000 digitized French texts from the 16th to the 20th
centuries, with a search facility (Stella) for literary, linguistic,
lexicographical, and stylistic research. The database, which was revamped in
1998, now has a more user-friendly interface, more efficient online help and
better computing tools. A second version is an experimental section of 400
grammaticaly-encoded novels of 19th and 20th centuries.

*Interview of June 11, 1998 (original interview in French)

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

At the INaLF, I was mostly building textual databases, so I had to explore
websites that gave access to electronic texts and test them. I became a "textual
tourist", which has good and bad sides. The tendency to go quickly from one link
to another and skip through the information was a permanent danger -- you have
to focus on what you're looking for so as not to waste time. Using the Web has
totally changed the way I work. My research is no longer just book-based and
thus limited, but is expanding thanks to the electronic texts available on the

= What are your new projects?

I'd like to help develop linguistic tools linked with Frantext and make them
available to teachers, researchers and students.

*Interview of January 17, 2000 (original interview in French)

= What exactly is your professional activity?

My professional activity consists in research and Internet projects, and in
development of textual resources.

= What are your new projects?

- The Catalogue critique des ressources textuelles sur Internet (CCRTI)
(Critical Catalogue of Textual Resources on the Internet), online since October

- Terminalf - Ressources terminologiques en langue française (Terminological
resources in French), in progress.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

Like all debates, it is a confused debate, with no way out.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Europeans are making some efforts towards at least bilingualism. What are the
Americans doing?

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Finding good literary sites, such as Zvi Har'El's Jules Verne Collection,
dedicated to Jules Verne (a French 19th-century novelist) or le Théâtre de la
foire à Paris, dedicated to the 17th-century Fair Theatre in Paris.

ROBERT BEARD (Pennsylvania)

#Co-Founder of yourDictionary.com, a major language portal

*Interview of September 1, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

As a language teacher, the Web represents a plethora of new resources produced
by the target culture, new tools for delivering lessons (interactive Java and
Shockwave exercises) and testing, which are available to students any time they
have the time or interest - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is also an almost
limitless publication outlet for my colleagues and I, not to mention my

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

There was an initial fear that the Web posed a threat to multilingualism on the
Web, since HTML and other programming languages are based on English and since
there are simply more websites in English than any other language. However, my
websites indicate that multilingualism is very much alive and the Web may, in
fact, serve as a vehicle for preserving many endangered languages. I now have
links to dictionaries in 150 languages and grammars of 65 languages. Moreover,
the new attention paid by browser developers to the different languages of the
world will encourage even more websites in different languages.

= How do you see the future?

Ultimately all course materials, including lecture notes, exercises, moot and
credit testing, grading, and interactive exercises far more effective in
conveying concepts that we have not even dreamed of yet. The Web will be an
encyclopedia of the world by the world for the world. There will be no
information or knowledge that anyone needs that will not be available. The major
hindrance to international and interpersonal understanding, personal and
institutional enhancement, will be removed. It would take a wilder imagination
than mine to predict the effect of this development on the nature of humankind.

*Interview of January 17, 2000

= Can you tell us about yourDictionary.com?

A Web of Online Dictionaries (WOD) is now a part of yourDictionary.com (as of
February 15, 2000). The new website is an index of 1200+ dictionaries in more
than 200 languages. Besides the WOD, the new website includes a
word-of-the-day-feature, word games, a language chat room, the old Web of
On-line Grammars (now expanded to include additional language resources), the
Web of Linguistic Fun, multilingual dictionaries; specialized English
dictionaries; thesauri and other vocabulary aids; language identifiers and
guessers, and other features; dictionary indices. YourDictionary.com will
hopefully be the premiere language portal and the largest language resource site
on the Web. It is now actively acquiring dictionaries and grammars of all
languages with a particular focus on endangered languages. It is overseen by a
blue ribbon panel of linguistic experts from all over the world.

= What exactly is your activity?

I am now a founder, officer and member of the board of yourDictionary.com, Inc.
and will be retiring from Bucknell this spring at which time I must remove my
sites from Bucknell's servers. I think the company will generate resources to
allow my work to continue and expand.

= Has yourDictionary.com new projects and new ideas?

Indeed, yourDictionary.com has lots of new ideas. We plan to work with the
Endangered Language Fund in the US and Britain to raise money for the
Foundation's work and publish the results on our site. We will have language
chatrooms and bulletin boards. There will be language games designed to
entertain and teach fundamentals of linguistics. The Linguistic Fun page will
become an on-line journal for short, interesting, yes, even entertaining, pieces
on language that are based on sound linguistics by experts from all over the

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

Open access is never free; someone pays the salaries of those who develop open
access, public domain applications. My website has been free and free of
commercial activities so long as Bucknell has provided me with a salary and free
ISP services. Now that I am retiring and must remove my sites from Bucknell
servers, my choices are to take the sites down, sell them, or generate revenue
streams that will support the site. I have chosen the latter course. The
resources will remain free of charge, only because we will be offering other
services for fee. These services will be based on copyrighted properties to
guarantee that the funds generated go to the source that generates them.

As for the debate (and court actions) over deep linking and the like, I think
this carries copyright too far. Linking should be the decision of the website
that carries the hyperlink. Websites are fair game for linking since they are on
a public network. If they don't want to be on a public network, let them create
a private one. This leads to the conclusion that porn sites may link to
family-oriented sites, a conclusion that no doubt worries some. So long as the
link does not go in the other direction, however, I see no immediate problem
with this.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

While English still dominates the Web, the growth of monolingual non-English
websites is gaining strength with the various solutions to the font problems.
Languages that are endangered are primarily languages without writing systems at
all (only 1/3 of the world's 6,000+ languages have writing systems). I still do
not see the Web contributing to the loss of language identity and still suspect
it may, in the long run, contribute to strengthening it. More and more Native
Americans, for example, are contacting linguists, asking them to write grammars
of their language and help them put up dictionaries. For these people, the Web
is an affordable boon for cultural expression.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

My own website, whose popularity continues to astound me. I receive a dozen or
so letters from visitors each day, at least half of which compliment my work. It
is difficult to maintain the size of my ego but the flattery is very good for
the soul. I am astounded that only 6 years away from the inception of the Web, I
can find over 1200 creditable on-line dictionaries in more than 200 different

= And your worst experience?

The worst experience is finding my website copied with my name removed from it.
I have always been able to resolve the problem, however. My experience with the
Internet has been very positive and if yourDictionary.com succeeds, it will be
even more positive.

MICHAEL BEHRENS (Bielefeld, Germany)

#In charge of the digital library of the digital library of the Bielefeld
University Library

* Interview of September 25, 1998

= When did you begin your digital library?

It depends what you understand this term to mean. To some here, "digital
library" seems to be everything even remotely to do with the Internet. The
library started its own web server in summer 1995. There's no exact date because
it took some time for us to get it to work in a reasonably reliable way. Before
that, it had been offering most of its services via Telnet, which wasn't used
much by customers, although in theory they could have accessed a lot of material
from home. But in those days hardly anybody had Internet access at home. We
started digitizing rare prints from our own library, and some that were sent in
via library loan, in November 1996.

= How many digitized texts do you have?

In that first phase of our attempts at digitization, starting in November 1996
and ending in June 1997, 38 rare prints were scanned as image files and made
available on the Web. In the same period, there were also a few digital
materials prepared as accompanying material for lectures held at the university
(image files as excerpts from printed works). These are, for copyright reasons,
not available outside the campus. The next step, which is just being completed,
is the digitization of the Berlinische Monatsschrift, a German periodical from
the Enlightenment, comprising 58 volumes -- 2,574 articles on 30,626 pages.

A rather bigger project to digitize German periodicals from the 18th and early
19th century is planned. This will involve about a million pages. These
periodicals will be not just be from this library's stock, but the project would
be coordinated here and some of the technical work done here too.


#Respectively scientific director and consultant at the CEVEIL (Centre
d'expertise et de veille inforoutes et langues - Centre for Assessment and
Monitoring of Information Highways and Languages)

The CEVEIL, set up in 1995, is a non-profit-making body based in Quebec whose
main purpose is to think about the use and processing of languages on
information highways, from a French-language viewpoint, through strategic
monitoring activity and creating a network of exchanges and evaluation. The
CEVEIL also focuses on the language industry in general (voice recognition,
machine translation and optical character recognition, for example) and related
fields such as strategic management of data, knowledge management, setting norms
and standardisation. The CEVEIL is part of the CEFRIO (Centre francophone
d'information des organisations - French-language Centre for Information on

*Interview of August 23, 1998 (original interview in French)

= What did using the Internet affect the CEVEIL?

First, the Web is one of the reasons for CEVEIL's existence, because we focus on
things like language use and processing on the Internet.

The Web is also where we get most of our information on the topics we're
interested in. We regularly monitor sites that supply daily and weekly news. So
we definitely make more use of the Internet than we do other written sources.

We also use electronic mail a great deal to keep in touch with our contributors,
to obtain information and carry out projects. CEVEIL is a "network structure"
which might not survive without the Internet to link all the people involved in

The Web is also the most important means for distributing our products to target
clients -- sending electronic news to our subscribers, creating an online
magazine, and distributing information and documents through our website.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Multilingualism on the Internet is the logical and natural consequence of the
diversity of human beings. Because the Web was first developed and used in the
United States, it's not really surprising it started out as -- and still is --
essentially Anglophone. But this is beginning to change, because most new users
will not have English as their mother tongue and because non-English-speaking
communities already on the Web will no longer accept the dominance of English
and will want to use their own language to some extent.

We can envisage, in a few years time, a situation similar to the one in
publishing concerning use of different languages. This means only a small number
of languages will be used (compared to the several thousand that exist). So we
think the Web should try to further support minority cultures and languages,
particularly in the case of dispersed communities.

The arrival on the Internet of languages other than English, while demanding
genuine readjustment and providing undeniable enrichment, emphasizes the need
for linguistic tools to cope with the situation. These will emerge from research
and promoting awareness in areas such as machine translation, standardization,
searching for information, automatic summarizing, and so on.

= How do you see the future?

The Internet is here to stay. The arrival on it of languages other than English
is also irreversible. So we have to take that into account from an economic,
social, political and cultural point of view. Sectors such as advertising,
vocational training, knowledge management, and work in groups or within networks
will have to change. This brings us back to the need to develop really effective
technology and tools to encourage exchanges in a truly multilingual global

*Interview of March 13, 2000 (original interview in French)

= What has happened since our first interview?

Since then, the CEVEIL has stopped putting out weekly news bulletins and its
monthly magazine. This is not so much because we've changed direction but rather
for want of staff and funding. We don't plan to resume those activities for the

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

Guy Bertrand: It's very important to respect copyright and it's up to the
authors to decide what they want to do about it. The Web is offering more and
more things for free. Authors don't have to accept that, but a growing number of
them are choosing to adapt to it and are benefitting. The business models on the
Web are changing very rapidly and will continue to. New ones will spring up with
a strong free-of-charge content, but copyright will have to be respected in
newer and more original ways by authors and providers of services and content.

Cynthia Delisle: Ideally, copyright should be respected on the Web as it is in
other media such as the radio and the written press. However, the Internet
raises new kinds of problems here because of the ease that data can be
(re)produced and (re)distributed on a huge scale and because of the tradition of
it being available for free. This tradition means people balk at paying for
products and services they'd find it quite normal to pay for in other situations
and they also perhaps have fewer qualms, in the context of the Net, about using
pirated products. I think respecting copyright is one of the biggest issues for
the future of the Net and it'll certainly be very interesting to see what
solutions will emerge to deal with it.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Guy Bertrand: Worldwide e-commerce has grown enormously since 1998 and
businesses are increasingly keen to use the languages of their potential
customers, which is going to boost further this multilingual aspect. E-commerce
won't take over the Web, but its importance is growing as multilingualism
increases there. But the tools for multilingualism on the Web are unfortunately
always one step behind.

Cynthia Delisle: I think the trend which had already begin in 1998 has now
established itself and the future of the Internet is definitely going to be a
multilingual one. The Net is becoming more international and it's hard to see
how this can happen without it becoming linguistically and culturally more
diverse. English will probably always be the Net's most frequently-used
language, but the proportion of sites and pages available in other languages
will steadily increase until a certain equilibrium is reached. I also quite
agree with Mr Bertrand when he points out that the tools to handle this
linguistic diversity are not yet ready. Machine translation, for example, has
made woefully little headway in recent years. Yet the needs are growing all the
time, which is why we need to step up research and development in these areas.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Guy Bertrand: My first one with the site www.neuromedia.com.

Cynthia Delisle: Being in regular touch with my family at little cost through
e-mail while I was abroad for long periods.

= And your worst experience?

Cynthia Delisle: The problem of harrassment, such as constant unsolicited
personal e-mails several years ago, before servers installed spam filters.


#Information systems consultant and writer. The Internet is one of the
"characters" of his novel Sanguine sur toile (Sanguine on the Web).

After studying engineering in France and the US and a job as head of major
projects at Bull, Alain Bron is now an information systems consultant at EdF/GdF
(Electricité de France / Gaz de France).

His second novel, Sanguine sur toile (Sanguine on the Web), is available in
print from Editions du Choucas (published in 1999) and in PDF format from
Editions 00h00.com (published in 2000). It won the Lions Club International
Prize in 2000.

Alain Bron wrote another novel, Concert pour Asmodée (Concert for Asmodée)
(published in 1998 by Editions La Mirandole), and a collection of
psycho-sociological essays, notably La démocracie de la solitude (The Democracy
of Solitude) (with Laurent Maruani, 1997) and La gourmandise du tapir (The Greed
of the Tapir) (with Vincent de Gaulejac, 1996), both published by DDB (Desclée
de Brauwer).

*Interview of November 29, 1999 (original interview in French)

= Can you tell us a bit about your novel Sanguine sur toile?

In French, "toile" means the Web as well as the canvas of a painting, and
"sanguine" is the red chalk of a drawing as well as one of the adjectives
derived from blood (sang). But would a love of colours justify a murder?
Sanguine sur toile is the strange story of an Internet surfer caught up in an
upheaval inside his own computer, which is being remotely operated by a very
mysterious person whose only aim is revenge.

I wanted to take the reader into the worlds of painting and enterprise, which
intermingle, escaping and meeting up again in the dazzle of software. The reader
is invited to try to untangle for himself the threads twisted by passion alone.
To penetrate the mystery, he will have to answer many questions. Even with the
world at his fingertips, isn't the Internet surfer the loneliest person in the

In view of the competition, what's the greatest degree of violence possible in
an enterprise these days? Does painting tend to reflect the world or does it
create another one? I also wanted to show that images are not that peaceful. You
can use them to take action, even to kill.
What part does the Internet play in your novel?

Internet is a character in itself. Instead of being described in its technical
complexity, it's depicted as a character that can be either threatening, kind or
amusing. Remember the computer screen has a dual role -- displaying as well as
concealing. This ambivalence is the theme throughout. In such a game, the big
winner is of course the one who knows how to free himself from the machine's
grip and put humanism and intelligence before all else.

= Can you also tell us about your issue: Internet: anges et démons! (The
Internet: Angels and Devils!)?

Cultures en mouvement (Cultures in Movement), a magazine I sometimes write for,
asked me in April 1999 to guest-edit a special issue on cyberculture. I brought
together specialists from very different fields -- an economist, a sociologist,
a psychiatrist, an artist, the head of an association -- to talk about the
Internet. We quickly agreed that the Internet brings out the best as well as the
worst. So we called the special issue Internet: anges et démons! (The Internet:
Angels and Devils!). The articles were published in the magazine at the same
time as we opened a site with the same name hosted by place-internet.com. The
media praised the site, which presents the Internet calmly and with a healthy

= What exactly is your professional activity?

I spent about 20 years at Bull. There I was involved in all the adventures of
computer and telecommunications development. I represented the computer industry
at ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and chaired the network
group of the X/Open consortium. I also took part in the very beginning of the
Internet with my colleagues of Honeywell in the US in late 1978. I'm now an
information systems consultant at EdF/ GdF (Electricité de France / Gaz de
France), where I keep the main computer projects of these firms and their
foreign subsdiaries running smoothly. And I write. I've writing since I was a
teenager. Short stories (about 100), psycho-sociological essays, articles and
novels. It's an inner need as well as a very great pleasure.

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

As I fell into computers when I was very young, I don't think I was affected by
the Internet. I can look at it with enough distance to recognize the mistakes I
made with it and to warn about its misuse, while avoiding veteran's fatigue and

= How do you see the future?

The important thing about the Internet is the human value that's added to it.
The Internet can never be shrewd about a situation, take a risk or replace the
intelligence of the heart. The Internet simply speeds up the decision-making
process and reduces uncertainty by providing information. We still have to leave
time to time, let ideas mature and bring an essential touch of humanity to a
relationship. For me, the aim of the Internet is meeting people, not increasing
the number of electronic exchanges.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

I regard the Web today as a public domain. That means in practice the notion of
copyright on it disappears: everyone can copy everyone else. Anything original
risks being copied at once if copyrights are not formally registered or if works
are available without payment facilities. A solution is to make people pay for
information, but this is no watertight guarantee against it being copied.
Anyway, with novels, I prefer them in paper form.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Different languages will still be used for a long time to come and this is
healthy for the right to be different. The risk is of course an invasion of one
language to the detriment of others, and with it the risk of cultural
standardization. I think online services will gradually emerge to get around
this problem. First, translators will be able to translate and comment on texts
by request, but mainly sites with a large audience will provide different
language versions, just as the audiovisual industry does now.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

After my second novel, Sanguine sur toile, was published, I got a message from a
friend I'd lost touch with more than 20 years ago. He recognized himself as one
of the book's characters. We saw each other again recently over a good bottle of
wine and swapped memories and discussed our plans.

= And your worst experience?

Viruses, "happiness" chain letters, business soliciting, extreme right-wing
sites and unverified information are spreading very quickly these days. I'm
seriously asking myself: "What kind of baby did I help to bring into the world?"

TYLER CHAMBERS (Boston, Massachusetts)

#Creator of The Human-Languages Page (who became iLoveLanguages in 2001) and The
Internet Dictionary Project

The Human-Languages Page (created by Tyler Chambers in May 1994) and the
Languages Catalog of the WWW Virtual Library redesigned the site in 2001 to
become iLoveLanguages in 2001. It is now a comprehensive catalog of more than
2.000 language-related Internet resources in more than 100 different languages.

Tyler Chambers' other main language-related project is The Internet Dictionary
Project, initiated in 1995. Its "goal is to create royalty-free translating
dictionaries through the help of the Internet's citizens. This site allows
individuals from all over the world to visit and assist in the translation of
English words into other languages. The resulting lists of English words and
their translated counterparts are then made available through this site to
anyone, with no restrictions on their use." (extract from the website)

*Interview of September 14, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

My professional life is currently completely separate from my Internet life.
Professionally, I'm a computer programmer/techie (in Boston, Massachusetts) -- I
find it challenging and it pays the bills. Online, my work has been with making
language information available to more people through a couple of my Web-based
projects. While I'm not multilingual, nor even bilingual, myself, I see an
importance to language and multilingualism that I see in very few other areas.
The Internet has allowed me to reach millions of people and help them find what
they're looking for, something I'm glad to do. It has also made me somewhat of a
celebrity, or at least a familiar name in certain circles -- I just found out
that one of my Web projects had a short mention in Time Magazine's Asia and
International issues. Overall, I think that the Web has been great for language
awareness and cultural issues -- where else can you randomly browse for 20
minutes and run across three or more different languages with information you
might potentially want to know? Communications mediums make the world smaller by
bringing people closer together; I think that the Web is the first (of mail,
telegraph, telephone, radio, TV) to really cross national and cultural borders
for the average person. Israel isn't thousands of miles away anymore, it's a few
clicks away -- our world may now be small enough to fit inside a computer

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Multilingualism on the Web was inevitable even before the medium "took off", so
to speak. 1994 was the year I was really introduced to the Web, which was a
little while after its christening but long before it was mainstream. That was
also the year I began my first multilingual Web project, and there was already a
significant number of language-related resources online. This was back before
Netscape even existed -- Mosaic was almost the only Web browser, and web pages
were little more than hyperlinked text documents. As browsers and users mature,
I don't think there will be any currently spoken language that won't have a
niche on the Web, from Native American languages to Middle Eastern dialects, as
well as a plethora of "dead" languages that will have a chance to find a new
audience with scholars and others alike on-line. To my knowledge, there are very
few language types which are not currently online: browsers have now the
capability to display Roman characters, Asian languages, the Cyrillic alphabet,
Greek, Turkish, and more. Accent Software has a product called "Internet with an
Accent" which claims to be able to display over 30 different language encodings.
If there are currently any barriers to any particular language being on the Web,
they won't last long.

= How do you see the future?

As I've said before, I think that the future of the Internet is even more
multilingualism and cross-cultural exploration and understanding than we've
already seen. But the Internet will only be the medium by which this information
is carried; like the paper on which a book is written, the Internet itself adds
very little to the content of information, but adds tremendously to its value in
its ability to communicate that information. To say that the Internet is
spurring multilingualism is a bit of a misconception, in my opinion -- it is
communication that is spurring multilingualism and cross-cultural exchange, the
Internet is only the latest mode of communication which has made its way down to
the (more-or-less) common person. The Internet has a long way to go before being
ubiquitous around the world, but it, or some related progeny, likely will.
Language will become even more important than it already is when the entire
planet can communicate with everyone else (via the Web, chat, games, e-mail, and
whatever future applications haven't even been invented yet), but I don't know
if this will lead to stronger language ties, or a consolidation of languages
until only a few, or even just one remain. One thing I think is certain is that
the Internet will forever be a record of our diversity, including language
diversity, even if that diversity fades away. And that's one of the things I
love about the Internet -- it's a global model of the saying "it's not really
gone as long as someone remembers it". And people do remember.


#Policy analyst with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in

"The mandate of the Office of the Commissioner is: to ensure recognition of the
status of English and French, Canada's two official languages; to ensure respect
for the Official Languages Act; to provide information about the services of the
Office of the Commissioner, aspects of the Official Languages Act and its
importance to Canadian society. The Commissioner protects: the right of members
of the public to use English or French to communicate with federal institutions
and receive services from them as provided for in the Act and its regulations;
the right of federal employees to work in either official language in designated
regions; the right of all English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking
Canadians to enjoy equal opportunities for employment and advancement in federal
institutions." (extract from the website)

Alain Clavet analyses policies related to linguistic duality in the Internet and
in broadcasting. In August 1999 he wrote a report called The Government of
Canada and French on the Internet. In the introduction, he says: "The Internet
can have a profound influence on the organization of the Government of Canada
and how it provides services to and communicates with Canadians. The English
language predominates on all electronic works, including the Internet. It is
therefore vital that the Commissioner ensure that French has its equitable place
in exchanges that use this new method of communication and publication."

*Interview of September 3, 1999 (original interview in French)

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

The Internet became one of my main fields of interest. I also use it as a
research and communication tool and to broaden my views on matters to do with
Canada's official languages (English and French).

= What are your new projects?

At the moment, I'm giving a series of lectures about the report I wrote called
The Government of Canada and French on the Internet. Over the next few years,
I'll investigate this subject further.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

We need software that can charge the user a fee when necessary. Governments
should make available as many documents and services as possible, especially in
What practical suggestions do you have for the growth of a multilingual Web?

There are several suggestions in my report (see chapter V: Observations and

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Discovering all the uses of a cable modem. It's very fast and showed me the
power of this communication device. The Internet as a universal encyclopaedia is
also essential for me.

= And your worst experience?

The fact it was so slow, but the problem has now been solved.


#Editor of Chroniques de Cybérie, a weekly report of Internet news

Chroniques de Cybérie was launched in November 1994 as a weekly newsletter sent
by email. Since April 1995, it has been available on the Web. Both versions are
currently available: the e-mail version (5,000 subscribers) and the Web version.

In The New York Times, Bruno Giussani wrote: "Jean-Pierre Cloutier (...) is one
of the leading figures of the French-speaking Internet community. Cloutier
writes one of the most intelligent, passionate and insightful electronic
newsletters available on the Internet (...) an original mix of relevant Internet
news, clear political analysis and no-nonsense personal opinions, (...) a
publication that gave readers the feeling that they were living 'week after week
in the intimacy of a planetary revolution'."

*Interview of June 8, 1998 (original interview in French)

= Could you tell us about your professional work?

There are two different things. First I was a translator (after working in
communications). I got connected to the Internet at the request of my small
translation company's customers because it made it easier to receive the work to
translate and then send the result back to them. Quite quickly, I began to get a
broader range of customers, including some in the US.

Then I made a switch. I stopped translating and became a columnist. At first I
was doing it part-time, but it soon became my main activity. For me it was a
return to journalism, but in a very different way. In the beginning, Chroniques
de Cybérie dealt mainly with news (new sites and new software). But gradually I
tackled more fundamental aspects of the Internet, and then branched out into
current national and international social, political and economic events.

With basic issues, it's fairly simple because all these resources (official
documents, news stories, commentary and analysis) are online. You can delve into
them, quote them, broaden the analysis and go on with the research. For current
events, the choice of subject depends on available resources, and resources are
not always easy to find. So you're in the same situation as radio or TV, that if
there aren't any audio clips or pictures, even a major event becomes less
interesting on the Internet.

= How do you see the future?

For Chroniques de Cybérie, we could introduce and maintain a formula because
entry costs are quite low in this medium. However, everything will depend on the
extent of what's called media "convergence" and on whether production costs rise
if we need to offer audio and video material to stay in the game. If that
happens, we'll have to rethink our strategic partnerships, such as the one
linking us to the Ringier group which enabled us to relaunch Chroniques after
six months of silence. But however much "convergence" there is, I think there'll
always be room for written work and for in-depth analysis of the main questions.

*Interview of August 6, 1999 (original interview in French)

= What has happened since our first interview? Any new projects, new ideas...?

No real new projects. New ideas, yes, but I'm still working on them.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web? What practical
suggestions do you have?

That's a very big subject.

First there are the copyright and reproduction rights of big companies. These
are relatively well supported legally, either through internal legal means or by
hiring specialized companies.

There's no doubt the "dematerialization" of information, brought about by the
Internet and digitization, makes it easier to undermine intellectual property in
various ways.

The danger is real for small producers/distributors of "original" content, who
don't have the means to monitor the theft of their products, or to take legal
action to ensure their rights are respected.

But all this is the "official" part -- cases of plagiarism that can be found in
"rematerialized" works. There is perhaps a more insidious form of plagiarism,
which is the theft of ideas, concepts, formulas, etc., with no mention of their
origin. It's hard to "prove" such plagiarism because it is not just a matter of
"copy and paste". But it's another aspect of the issue which is often obscured
in the debate.

What's the solution? We need a system where you can register free of charge an
article, book or piece of music with an international organization that can take
legal action against plagiarism. This wouldn't solve all the problems, but would
at least establish a basic structure and, who knows, might deter the thieves.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web? What practical suggestions do
you have?

We passed the milestone this summer. Now more than half the users of the
Internet live outside the United States. Next year more than half of all users
will be non English-speaking, compared with only 5% five years ago. Isn't that

At the same time, the Internet has became multi-faceted and now requires more
and more efficient tools because of the "enrichment" of content (or rather of
what contains it, because as far as the real content is concerned, there's no
enrichment, except of the firms that sell it). The Internet needs strong
systems, with good memory and powerful microprocessors. Development of the non
English-speaking Web will be mainly aimed at people who have no way of getting
powerful systems or the latest software and operating systems, or of upgrading
or renewing it all every year. Also, communication infrastructure is sorely
lacking in many places outside Europe and the United States. So there is a
problem of bandwidth.

I've been noticing this phenomenon since the very beginning of Chroniques. Some
readers (in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, South America and the Pacific) tell me they
like being able to suscribe to an e-mail version. They can get Chroniques as a
single message, read it off-line and choose the sites they want to consult
later. Often they have to plan their time online carefully because of poor
communication links.

The Web is going to grow in these non English-speaking regions. So we've got to
take into account the technical aspects of the medium if we want to reach these
"new" users.

I think it's a pity there are so few translations of important documents and
essays published on the Web -- from English into other languages and vice-versa.

Let me explain. Jon Katz published on the Web an analysis of the "Goth" culture
which the perpetrators of the Littleton slaughter were into, and of the term
"Goth". The French-speaking press quoted one or two sentences of his analysis,
lifted a few of his ideas, made an article out of it and that's all. But it
wasn't enough to allow one to understand Katz and his analysis of this youth

In the same way, the recent introduction of the Internet in regions where it is
spreading raises questions which would be good to read about. When will
Spanish-speaking communications theorists and those speaking other languages be

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

It's not a very cheerful one and has nothing to do with the significant
influence Chroniques de Cybérie has gained over the years.

At the beginning of 1996, I got a message which roughly said: "My son, in his
early twenties, has been very ill for months. Every week, he looked forward very
much to getting your newsletter in his electronic mailbox. As he could no longer
leave the house, the newsletter allowed him to 'travel', to open his mind and
think about something else other than his pain. He died this morning. I just
wanted to thank you because you lightened his last months with us."

When you get a message like this, you don't care about speaking to thousands of
people, you don't care about lots of statistics, you tell yourself you're
talking to one person at a time.

= And your worst experience?

I haven't really had a "big bad" experience. Lots of small and irritating ones,
though. The system is fragile, content takes second place, the human resources
aren't talked about much and lots of new software is inundating us. But we can
live with it all quite easily.


#Student at Yale University

*Interview of September 1, 1998

= How do you see the relationship between the print media and the Internet?

This is still being worked out, of course. So far, all I've been able to see is
that electronic media undermines the print form in two ways:

a) providing completely alternative presses that draw attention away from the
previous strongholds, and

b) forcing the print publications to spend resources trying to counteract this
trend. Both forms of media critique one another and proclaim their superiority.
Print media operates under a self-important sense of credibility. And the
electronic media operates under a belief that they are the only purveyors of
unbiased truth.

There are issues of niche and finance that need to be resolved. The Internet is
certainly a more accessible and convenient medium, and thus it would be better
in the long run if the strengths of the print media could be brought online
without the extensive costs and copyright concerns that are concomitant. As the
transition is made, the neat thing is a growing accountability for previously
relatively unreproachable edifices. For example, we already see e-mail addresses
after articles in publications, allowing readers to pester authors directly.
Discussion forums on virtually all major electronic publications show that
future is providing not just one person's opinion but interaction with those of
others as well. Their primary job is the provision of background information.
Also, the detailed statistics can be gleaned about interest in an advertisement
or in content itself will force greater adaptability and a questioning of
previous beliefs gained from focus groups. This means more finely honed content
for the individual, as quantity and customizability grows.

= How did using the Internet change your life?

The Internet has certainly been a distraction. ;) But beyond that, an
immeasurable amount of both trivial and pertinent information has been gleaned
in casual browsing sessions.

= How do you see the future?

In my personal future, I'd like to get a B.S., M.S., and M.Eng, working in the
industry for a while before moving on to write about the medium for some
reputable publication.

The future of the Internet in general I see as becoming more popular and yet
more fraught with conflict over the growth of commercialism and the perception
that the Net's devolutionary spirit has been undermined. There will also be a
need to deal with a glut of information - already we see Internet search engines
reinventing themselves to try to provide a more optimal and efficient portal.


#Consultant at the CEVEIL (Centre d'expertise et de veille inforoutes et langues
- Centre for Assessment and Monitoring of Information Highways and Languages)

[Joint interview with Guy Bertrand. See: Guy Bertrand.]


#Webmaster of the Pasteur Institute Library

"The Pasteur Institutes (...) are exceptional observatories for studying
infectious and parasite-borne diseases. They are wedded to the solving of
practical public health problems, and hence carry out research programmes which
are highly original because of the complementary nature of the investigations
carried out: clinical research, epidemiological surveys and basic research work.
Just a few examples from the long list of major topics of the Institutes are:
malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, yellow fever, dengue and poliomyelitis." (extract
of the website)

* Interview of August 10, 1999 (original interview in French)

= Can you tell us about the website you've created?

The main aim of the Pasteur Institute Library website is to serve the Institute
itself and its associated bodies. It supports applications that have became
essential in such a big organization: bibliographic databases, cataloging,
ordering of documents and of course access to online periodicals (presently more
than 100). It's also a window for our different departments, at the Institute
but also elsewhere in France and abroad. It plays a big part in documentation
exchanges with the institutes in the worldwide Pasteur network. I'm trying to
make it an interlink adapted to our needs for exploration and use of the
Internet. The website has existed in its present form since 1996 and its
audience is steadily increasing.

= What exactly is your professional activity?

I build and maintain the web pages and monitor them regularly. I'm also
responsible for training users, which you can see from my pages. The Web's an
excellent place for training and it's included in most ongoing discussion about

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

Our relationship with both the information and the users is what changes. We're
increasingly becoming mediators, and perhaps to a lesser extent "curators". My
present activity is typical of this new situation: I'm working to provide quick
access to information and to create effective means of communication, but I also
train people to use these new tools.

= How do you see the future?

I think the future of our job is tied to cooperation and use of common
resources. It's certainly an old project, but it's really the first time we've
had the means to set it up.

As for my professional future, I especially hope the Internet will eventually
allow me to work from home, at least part of the time. It would avoid two and a
half hours of travelling every day...

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

I haven't followed these discussions. But I think it's going to be hard to
maintain the community spirit which was the basis of the Internet in the

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

I think a multilingual Web's a very positive thing. The Internet doesn't belong
to any one nation or language. It's a vehicle for culture, and the first vector
of culture is language. The more languages there are on the Net, the more
cultures will be represented there. I don't think we should give in to the
kneejerk temptation to translate web pages into a largely universal language.
Cultural exchanges will only be real if we're prepared to meet with the other
culture in a genuine way. And this effort involves understanding the other
culture's language. This is very idealistic of course. In practice, when I'm
monitoring, I curse Norwegian or Brazilian websites where there's isn't any

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

The day I won a box of Swiss chocolates on the Health On the Net site. But don't
rush to this site, the game doesn't exist any more.

= And your worst experience?

The abuse of e-mail: bad-mannered people take advantage of the distance and
relative anonymity to say not very nice things and take really juvenile
attitudes with, alas, consequences which are not always the kind you find in a
children's world. For example, I once forwarded an email to somebody I thought
would be interested in the subject and the person wrote directly to the original
sender and discredited me.


#Founder of the Ulysses Bookstore (Librairie Ulysse), the oldest travel
bookstore in the world

Located in central Paris, on the Ile Saint-Louis in the middle of the river
Seine, Librairie Ulysse is the oldest travel bookstore in the world and has more
than 20,000 books, maps and magazines, out of print and new, including some in
English, about all countries and all kinds of travel. It was set up in 1971 by
Catherine Domain, a member of the French National Union of Antiquarian and
Modern Bookstores (Syndicat national de la librairie ancienne et moderne
(SLAM)), the Explorers' Club (Club des Explorateurs) and the International Club
of Long-Distance Travelers (Club international des grands voyageurs).

Catherine has travelled all over the world for many years, visiting 136
countries, and she is still on the move. In 1998 she went sailing in Kiribati
and the Marshall Islands in the the Pacific. In 1999, as a judge in the Island
Book Prize (Prix du livre insulaire) contest, she visited the French island of
Ushant. She also sailed around Sardinia in September.

*Interview of December 4, 1999 (original interview in French)

= Can you tell us about your website?

My site is still pretty basic and under construction. Like my bookstore, it's a
place to meet people before being a place of business.

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

The Internet is a pain in the neck, takes a lot of my time and I earn hardly any
money from it, but that doesn't worry me...

= How do you see the future?

I'm very pessimistic, because it's killing off specialist bookstores.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

I must say I'm more concerned about the WTO (World Trade Organization) than
about copyright.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Isn't it already multilingual? I think it's going to kill the French language as
well as many others.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

A daily chat with my sister who lives in Sri Lanka and the friends I have in
Mexico, the USA, the UK, South Africa etc., because I've travelled a lot, for
long periods all over the world.

= And your worst experience?

My first year with a computer and the Internet. It was one long technical agony!

HELEN DRY (Michigan)

#Moderator of The Linguist List

The website of The Linguist List gives an extensive series of links on
linguistic resources: the profession (conferences, linguistic associations,
programs, etc.); research and research support (papers, dissertation abstracts,
projects, bibliographies, topics, texts); publications; pedagogy; language
resources (languages, language families, dictionaries, regional information);
and computer support (fonts and software).

The Linguist List is moderated by Helen Dry (Eastern Michigan University),
Anthony Aristar (Wayne State University) and Andrew Carnie (University of
Arizona). Helen Dry, who is interviewed here, is a professor of linguistics at
Eastern Michigan University. Her major research interests are linguistic
stylistics, corpus linguistics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis.

*Interview of August 18, 1998

= Is The Linguist List multilingual?

The Linguist List, which I moderate, has a policy of posting in any language,
since it is a list for linguists. However, we discourage posting the same
message in several languages, simply because of the burden extra messages put on
our editorial staff. (We are not a bounce-back list, but a moderated one. So
each message is organized into an issue with like messages by our student
editors before it is posted.) Our experience has been that almost everyone
chooses to post in English. But we do link to a translation facility that will
present our pages in any of 5 languages; so a subscriber need not read Linguist
in English unless s/he wishes to. We also try to have at least one student
editor who is genuinely multilingual, so that readers can correspond with us in
languages other than English.

*Interview of July 26, 1999

= What has happened since our last interview?

We are beginning to collect some primary data. For example, we have searchable
databases of dissertation abstracts relevant to linguistics, of information on
graduate and undergraduate linguistics programs, and of professional information
about individual linguists. The dissertation abstracts collection is, to my
knowledge, the only freely available electronic compilation in existence.

BILL DUNLAP (Paris & San Francisco)

#Founder of Global Reach, a methodology for companies to expand their Internet
presence through a multilingual website

Founder of Global Reach, Bill Dunlap specialized in international online
marketing and e-commerce among mainly American companies. Global Reach is a
methodology for companies to expand their Internet presence into a more
international framework. This includes translating a website into other
languages and actively promoting it, to increase local website traffic from
countries by a promotional campaign.

Bill Dunlap, an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) graduate, has made a
life of bringing high-tech products and services to the international markets.
When the microcomputer industry was in its early stages in the early 1980s, he
set up a company to export popular Apple and PC software to top European
markets. This led to a thorough familiarity with the European PC distribution
business, and he worked then as AST Research's first European sales manager.
Further opportunity brought him into Compaq Computer's newly established Paris
office, where he became Compaq's first sales manager in France. He continued
with Compaq afterwards at their European headquarters in Munich and managed
Scandinavian sales.

Since the mid-1980s, Bill Dunlap has developed the international marketing
consultancy Euro-Marketing Associates from Paris and San Francisco. In 1995,
Euro-Marketing Associates was restructured into a virtual consultancy called
Global Reach, a group of top online marketers throughout the world. The goal is
to promote clients' websites in each targeted country, thus attracting more
online traffic: more traffic, more sales.

*Interview of December 11, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

Since 1981, when my professional life started, I've been involved with bringing
American companies to Europe. This is very much an issue of language, since the
products and their marketing have to be in the languages of Europe in order for
them to be visible here. Since the Web became popular in 1995 or so, I've turned
these activities to their online dimension, and have come to champion European
e-commerce among my fellow American compatriates. Most lately at Internet World
in New York, I spoke about European e-commerce and how to use a Website to
address the various markets in Europe.

= What is the purpose of the Global Reach program?

Promoting your Web site is at least as important as creating it, if not more
important. You should be prepared to spend at least as much time and money in
promoting your Web site as you did in creating it in the first place. With the
Global Reach program, you can have it promoted in countries where English is not
spoken, and achieve a wider audience... and more sales. There are many good
reasons for taking the online international market seriously. Global Reach is a
means for you to extend your Web site to many countries, speak to online
visitors in their own language and reach online markets there.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

There are so few people in the U.S. interested in communicating in many
languages -- most Americans are still under the delusion that the rest of the
world speaks English. However, here in Europe (I'm writing from France), the
countries are small enough so that an international perspective has been
necessary for centuries.

*Interview of July 23, 1999

= What practical suggestions do you have for the development of a multilingual

After a website's home page is available in several languages, the next step is
the development of content in each language. A webmaster will notice which
languages draw more visitors (and sales) than others, and these are the places
to start in a multilingual Web promotion campaign. At the same time, it is
always good to increase the number of languages available on a website: just a
home page translated into other languages would do for a start, before it
becomes obvious that more should be done to develop a certain language branch on
a website.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Working in tandem with hundreds of people, without any pressure. It's a great

= And your worst experience?

Several times, I've published an online forum, in which several insulting
individuals started sending nasty mail to the forum. It went out to hundreds of
people, and then they started sending nasty mail back. It had a snowball effect,
and I remember waking up one morning with over 4,000 messages to download. What
a mess!


#Specialist in the information technology industry, "facilitator" between the
United States and Europe, and journalist

Created in 1993, Jacques Gauchey's consultancy G.a Communications assists
start-up Internet and IT (information technology) companies in building their
European strategies, partnerships, and visibility. To fulfill its clients'
international business development needs, G.a Communications maintains a
close-knit network of competences worldwide.

Jacques Gauchey was a director of the Multimedia Development Group (MDG) in
1996-97. He led MDG's International Group from 1994 to 1996, with projects
ranging from MDG's M3 conference (1994) to publishing the 1995 and 1996 editions
of the guide Going Global: Multimedia Marketing & Distribution.

He was a moderator at such events as the European ETRE & Asian ATRE
only-for-CEOs IT conferences (1990, '91 & '92), MDG's "World Multimedia: A
Mosaic of Markets" (San Francisco, 1994), Multimedia Live! (San Francisco,
1995), the A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) Soft International Partners seminar
(Tokyo, 1996), etc. He moderates focus groups for the IT industry.

From 1985 to 1992, he was the West Coast correspondent for La Tribune, a Paris
business daily. He worked previously for Le Figaro and Le Point.

*Interview of July 31, 1999 (original interview in French)

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

Totally. The whole world is on my computer screen. Everyone now has access to a
global database. They have to learn to navigate their way through it or get

= How do you see the future?

All my clients now are Internet companies. All my working tools (my mobile
phone, my PDA and my PC) are or will soon be linked to the Internet.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

Copyright in its traditional context doesn't exist any more. Authors have to get
used to a new situation: the total freedom of the flow of information. The
original content is like a fingerprint: it can't be copied. So it will survive
and flourish.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Technology may solve the problem. May the best one win. The Internet really took
off in the US because of a revolutionary concept: only one language -- English.
The "politically correct" movement for mandatory multilingual teaching in US
schools and respect for the various subcultures is a disaster for the future of
this country (as it already is in Europe). Individuals have to decide at home if
they want to learn another language.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Four years ago I published a few issues of a free English newsletter on the
Internet. It had about 10 readers per issue until the day (in January 1996) when
the electronic version of Wired Magazine created a link to it. In one week I got
about 100 e-mails, some from French readers of my book La vallée du risque -
Silicon Valley (published by Plon, Paris, at the end of 1990), who were happy to
find me again.

= And your worst experience?

The Internet is a medium and, like any medium, can be lead to evil. The shooting
spree by a day trader in Atlanta in July 1999. Pornography. The unrestricted
online sale of guns. Junk mail.


#Head of the French Section of the Swiss Federal Government's Central Linguistic

*Interview of January 14, 1999 (original interview in French)

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

To work without the Internet is simply impossible now. Apart from all the tools
used (e-mail, the electronic press, services for translators), the Internet is
for us a vital and endless source of information in what I'd call the
"non-structured sector" of the Web. For example, when the answer to a
translation problem can't be found on websites presenting information in an
organized way, in most cases search engines allow us to find the missing link
somewhere on the network.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

We can see multilingualism on the Internet as a happy and irreversible
inevitability. So we have to laugh at the doomsayers who only complain about the
supremacy of English. Such supremacy isn't wrong in itself, because it's mainly
based on statistics (more PCs per inhabitant, more people speaking English,
etc.). The answer isn't to "fight English," much less whine about it, but to
build more sites in other languages. As a translation service, we also recommend
that websites be multilingual.

= How do you see the future?

The increasing number of languages on the Internet is inevitable and can only
boost multicultural exchanges. For this to happen in the best possible
circumstances, we still need to develop tools to improve compatibility. Fully
coping with accents and other characters is only one example of what can be

*Interview of January 25, 2000 (original interview in French)

= Can you tell us about your website?

Our website was first conceived as an Intranet service for translators in
Switzerland, who often deal with the same kind of material as the federal
government's translators. Some parts of it are useful to any translators,
wherever they are. The electronic dictionaries (Dictionnaires électroniques) are
only one section of the website. Other sections deal with administration, law,
the French language and general information. The site also hosts the pages of
the Conference of Translation Services of European States (COTSOES).

= What exactly is your professional activity?

I'm head of the French Section of the Swiss Federal Government's Central
Linguistic Services, which means I'm in charge of organising translation matters
for all the linguistic services of the Swiss government.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

There's a problem here and the solution isn't obvious. It's a pity the battle
against this kind of fraud will eventually justify, along with other abuses, a
"Web police," which sadly is very far from the spirit in which the Web was

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

We now have a multilingual Internet. We have to build it up and ensure it's easy
to access, which'll probably take a bit longer.


#Editor of Ethnologue: Languages of the World

The Ethnologue is a catalogue of more than 6,700 languages. A paper version and
a CD-ROM are also available.

*Interview of August 18, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

We have found the Internet to be useful, convenient, and supplementary to our
work. Our main use of it is for e-mail. It is a convenient means of making
information more widely available to a wider audience than the printed
Ethnologue provides.

On the other hand, many people in the audience we wish to reach do not have
access to computers, so in some ways the Ethnologue on the Internet reaches a
limited audience who own computers. I am particularly thinking of people in the
so-called "third world".

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Multilingual web pages are more widely useful, but much more costly to maintain.
We have had requests for the Ethnologue in a few other languages, but we do not
have the personnel or funds to do the translation or maintenance, since it is
constantly being updated.

*Interview of January 15, 2000

= Can you tell us about the Ethnologue?

It is a catalog of the languages of the world, with information about where they
are spoken, an estimate of the number of speakers, what language family they are
in, alternate names, names of dialects, other sociolinguistic and demographic
information, dates of published Bibles, a name index, a language family index,
and language maps.

= What exactly is your professional activity?

I am the editor of the 8th to 14th editions, 1971-2000.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

Any copyrights should be respected, just as with print matter.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Receiving corrections and new reliable information.

= And your worst experience?

Unkind criticism or that which does not include corrections.


#Founder of Doctrine Publishing Corporation, the oldest digital library on the Internet

Doctrine Publishing Corporation, set up by Michael Hart in 1971 when he was a student at the
University of Illinois (USA), was the Internet's first information provider.
From the beginning, its mission has been to put at everybody's disposal, free,
as many books as possible whose copyright has expired. It is now the biggest
digital library on the Web in terms of the number of books (3,700 e-texts in
July 2001) that have been patiently digitized in text format by 600 volunteers
from all over the world. Some old documents are typed line by line, mainly
because the originals are unclear, but most works are scanned using OCR (optical
character recognition) software. Then they are read and corrected twice,
sometimes by two different people. At first they were just books in English, but
now ones in other languages are being digitized.

*Interview of August 23, 1998

= How do you see the relationship between the print media and the Internet?

We consider e-text to be a new medium, with no real relationship to paper, other
than presenting the same material, but I don't see how paper can possibly
compete once people each find their own comfortable way to e-texts, especially
in schools.

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

My career couldn't have happened without the Internet, and neither could Project
Gutenberg have happened. I presume you know that Doctrine Publishing Corporation was the first
information provider on the Net.

= What are your new projects?

My own personal goal is to put 10,000 Etexts on the Net, and if I can get some
major support, I would like to expand that to 1,000,000 and to also expand our
potential audience for the average Etext from 1.x% of the world population to
over 10%, thus changing our goal from giving away 1,000,000,000,000 Etexts to
1,000 time as many, a trillion and a quadrillion in US terminology.

*Interview of July 23, 1999

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

The kind of copyright debate going on is totally impractical. It is run by and
for the "Landed Gentry of the Information Age." Information Age? For whom? No
one has said more against copyright extensions that I have, but Hollywood and
the big publishers have seen to it that our Congress won't even mention it in

= What are exactly these copyright extensions?

Nothing will expire for another 20 years. We used to have to wait 75 years. Now
it is 95 years. And it was 28 years (+ a possible 28 year extension, only on
request before that) and 14 years (+ a possible 14 year extension before that).
So, as you can see, this is a serious degrading of the public domain, as a
matter of continuing policy.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

We will eventually have a really good Babelfish (AltaVista's translation
software). I am publishing in one new language per month right now, and will
continue as long as possible.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

The notes I get that tell me people appreciate that I have spent my life putting
books, etc., on the Internet. Some are quite touching, and can make my whole

= And your worst experience?

Getting called on the Chancellor's carpet because Oxford University call him and
really shook him up... but I had a team of 6 lawyers, half from the University
of Illinois, who backed me up, so we made Oxford back down. You might say that
was a good memory, but I hate that kind of politicking... the Chancellor was Tom
Cruise's uncle, so that was fun.


#Head of the digital library of the electronic magazine Venezuela Analítica

Roberto Hernández Montoya has a literature degree from the Central University of
Venezuela. He is a columnist at El Nacional, Letras, Imagen and Internet World
Venezuela. He is a member of the editorial board of Venezuela Cultural,
Venezuela Analítica and Imagen. He studied discourse analysis at the School of
High Studies in Social Sciences (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales -
EHESS), Paris. He was the founding president of the Venezuelan Association of
Editors, and the editor of the Ateneo de Caracas.

Venezuela Analítica, an electronic magazine conceived as a public forum to
exchange ideas on politics, economics, culture, science and technology, created
in May 1997 BitBlioteca, a digital library which contains material mostly in
Spanish, and also in French, English and Portuguese.

*Interview of September 3, 1998 (original interview in French)

= How do you see the relationship between the print media and the Internet?

The printed word can't be replaced, at least not in the foreseeable future. The
paper book is a wonderful thing. We can't leaf through an electronic text in the
same way. But we can find words and groups of words much more quickly. We can
read an electronic text more carefully, even with the inconvenience of reading
it on the screen. It is less expensive and can be more easily distributed
worldwide (not counting the cost of the computer and Internet connection).

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

The Internet has been personally very important for me. It's become the centre
of my life. It's meant that our organization can now communicate with thousands
of people -- something we couldn't have afforded if we'd published a paper
magazine. I think the Internet is going to be the chief means of communication
and exchanging information in the future.

RANDY HOBLER (Dobbs Ferry, New York)

#Internet Marketing Consultant, among others at Globalink, a company specialized
in language translation software and services

Randy Hobler has been a consultant in Internet& marketing at IBM, Johnson &
Johnson, Burroughs Wellcome, Pepsi, Heublein, etc. In 1998, he was an Internet
Marketing Consultant for Globalink, a company specialized in language
translation software and services. He wrote: "The joy for me is the ability to
combine my vocational skills in high-tech and marketing with avocational
interests like language into one. To love what you do and do what you love."
Globalink was bought by Lernout & Hauspie in 1999.

*Interview of September 3, 1998

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

85% of the content of the Web in 1998 is in English and going down. This trend
is driven not only by more websites and users in non-English-speaking countries,
but by increasing localization of company and organization sites, and increasing
use of machine translation to/from various languages to translate websites.

Because the Internet has no national boundaries, the organization of users is
bounded by other criteria driven by the medium itself. In terms of
multilingualism, you have virtual communities, for example, of what I call
"Language Nations"... all those people on the Internet wherever they may be, for
whom a given language is their native language. Thus, the Spanish Language
nation includes not only Spanish and Latin American users, but millions of
Hispanic users in the US, as well as odd places like Spanish-speaking Morocco.

= Can you tell us about the future of machine translation?

We are rapidly reaching the point where highly accurate machine translation of
text and speech will be so common as to be embedded in computer platforms, and
even in chips in various ways. At that point, and as the growth of the Web
slows, the accuracy of language translation hits 98% plus, and the saturation of
language pairs has covered the vast majority of the market, language
transparency (any-language-to-any-language communication) will be too limiting a
vision for those selling this technology. The next development will be
"transcultural, transnational transparency", in which other aspects of human
communication, commerce and transactions beyond language alone will come into
play. For example, gesture has meaning, facial movement has meaning and this
varies among societies. The thumb-index finger circle means 'OK' in the United
States. In Argentina, it is an obscene gesture.

When the inevitable growth of multi-media, multi-lingual videoconferencing comes
about, it will be necessary to 'visually edit' gestures on the fly. The MIT
(Massachussets Institute of Technology) Media Lab, Microsoft and many others are
working on computer recognition of facial expressions, biometric access
identification via the face, etc. It won't be any good for a US business person
to be making a great point in a Web-based multi-lingual video conference to an
Argentinian, having his words translated into perfect Argentinian Spanish if he
makes the "O" gesture at the same time. Computers can intercept this kind of
thing and edit them on the fly.

There are thousands of ways in which cultures and countries differ, and most of
these are computerizable to change as one goes from one culture to the other.
They include laws, customs, business practices, ethics, currency conversions,
clothing size differences, metric versus English system differences, etc.
Enterprising companies will be capturing and programming these differences and
selling products and services to help the peoples of the world communicate
better. Once this kind of thing is widespread, it will truly contribute to
international understanding.

*Interview of September 10, 2000

= What do you think about e-books?

E-books continue to grow as the display technology improves, and as the hardware
becomes more physically flexible and lighter. Plus, among the early adapters
will be colleges because of the many advantages for students (ability to
download all their reading for the entire semester, inexpensiveness, linking
into exams, assignments, need for portability, eliminating need to lug books all

EDUARD HOVY (Marina del Rey, California)

#Head of the Natural Language Group at USC/ISI (University of Southern
California / Information Sciences Institute)

The Natural Language Group (NLG) at the Information Sciences Institute of the
University of Southern California (USC/ISI) is currently involved in various
aspects of computational/natural language processing. The group's projects are:
machine translation; automated text summarization; multilingual verb access and
text management; development of large concept taxonomies (ontologies); discourse
and text generation; construction of large lexicons for various languages; and
multimedia communication.

Eduard Hovy, his director, is a member of the Computer Science Departments of
USC and of the University of Waterloo. He completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science
(Artificial Intelligence) at Yale University in 1987. His research focuses on
machine translation, automated text summarization, text planning and generation,
and the semi-automated construction of large lexicons and terminology banks. The
Natural Language Group at ISI currently has projects in most of these areas.

Dr. Hovy is the author or editor of four books and over 100 technical articles.
He currently serves as the President of the Association of Machine Translation
in the Americas (AMTA). He is Vice President of the Association for
Computational Linguistics (ACL), and has served on the editorial boards of
Computational Linguistics and the Journal of the Society of Natural Language
Processing of Japan.

*Interview of August 27, 1998

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

In the context of information retrieval (IR) and automated text summarization
(SUM), multilingualism on the Web is another complexifying factor. People will
write their own language for several reasons -- convenience, secrecy, and local
applicability -- but that does not mean that other people are not interested in
reading what they have to say! This is especially true for companies involved in
technology watch (say, a computer company that wants to know, daily, all the
Japanese newspaper and other articles that pertain to what they make) or some
government intelligence agencies (the people who provide the most up-to-date
information for use by your government officials in making policy, etc.). One of
the main problems faced by these kinds of people is the flood of information, so
they tend to hire "weak" bilinguals who can rapidly scan incoming text and throw
out what is not relevant, giving the relevant stuff to professional translators.
Obviously, a combination of SUM and MT (machine translation) will help here;
since MT is slow, it helps if you can do SUM in the foreign language, and then
just do a quick and dirty MT on the result, allowing either a human or an
automated IR-based text classifier to decide whether to keep or reject the

For these kinds of reasons, the US Government has over the past five years been
funding research in MT, SUM, and IR, and is interested in starting a new program
of research in Multilingual IR. This way you will be able to one day open
Netscape or Explorer or the like, type in your query in (say) English, and have
the engine return texts in all the languages of the world. You will have them
clustered by subarea, summarized by cluster, and the foreign summaries
translated, all the kinds of things that you would like to have.

You can see a demo of our version of this capability, using English as the user
language and a collection of approx. 5,000 texts of English, Japanese, Arabic,
Spanish, and Indonesian, by visiting MuST (Multilingual information retrieval,
summarization, and translation system).

Type your query word (say, "baby", or whatever you wish) in and press
Enter/Return. In the middle window you will see the headlines (or just keywords,
translated) of the retrieved documents. On the left you will see what language
they are in: "Sp" for Spanish, "Id" for Indonesian, etc. Click on the number at
left of each line to see the document in the bottom window. Click on "Summarize"
to get a summary. Click on 'Translate' for a translation (but beware: Arabic and
Japanese are extremely slow! Try Indonesian for a quick word-by-word
"translation" instead).

This is not a product (yet); we have lots of research to do in order to improve
the quality of each step. But it shows you the kind of direction we are heading

= How do you see the future?

The Internet is, as I see it, a fantastic gift to humanity. It is, as one of my
graduate students recently said, the next step in the evolution of information
access. A long time ago, information was transmitted orally only; you had to be
face-to-face with the speaker. With the invention of writing, the time barrier
broke down -- you can still read Seneca and Moses. With the invention of the
printing press, the access barrier was overcome -- now anyone with money to buy
a book can read Seneca and Moses. And today, information access becomes almost
instantaneous, globally; you can read Seneca and Moses from your computer,
without even knowing who they are or how to find out what they wrote; simply
open AltaVista and search for "Seneca". This is a phenomenal leap in the
development of connections between people and cultures. Look how today's
Internet kids are incorporating the Web in their lives.

The next step? -- I imagine it will be a combination of computer and cellular
phone, allowing you as an individual to be connected to the Web wherever you
are. All your diary, phone lists, grocery lists, homework, current reading,
bills, communications, etc., plus AltaVista and the others, all accessible (by
voice and small screen) via a small thing carried in your purse or on your belt.
That means that the barrier between personal information (your phone lists and
diary) and non-personal information (Seneca and Moses) will be overcome, so that
you can get to both types anytime. I would love to have something that tells me,
when next I am at a conference and someone steps up, smiling to say hello, who
this person is, where last I met him/her, and what we said then!

But that is the future. Today, the Web has made big changes in the way I shop (I
spent 20 minutes looking for plane routes for my next trip with a difficult
transition on the Web, instead of waiting for my secretary to ask the travel
agent, which takes a day). I look for information on anything I want to know
about, instead of having to make a trip to the library and look through
complicated indexes. I send e-mail to you about this question, at a time that is
convenient for me, rather than your having to make a phone appointment and then
us talking for 15 minutes. And so on.

*Interview of August 8, 1999

= What has happened since our first interview?

Over the past 12 months I have been contacted by a surprising number of new
information technology (IT) companies and startups. Most of them plan to offer
some variant of electronic commerce (online shopping, bartering, information
gathering, etc.). Given the rather poor performance of current non-research
level natural language processing technology (when is the last time you actually
easily and accurately found a correct answer to a question to the Web, without
having to spend too much time sifting through irrelevant information?), this is
a bit surprising. But I think everyone feels that the new developments in
automated text summarization, question analysis, and so on, are going to make a
significant difference. I hope so!--but the level of performance is not
available yet.

It seems to me that we will not get a big breakthrough, but we will get a
somewhat acceptable level of performance, and then see slow but sure incremental
improvement. The reason is that it is very hard to make your computer really
"understand" what you mean--this requires us to build into the computer a
network of "concepts" and their interrelationships that (at some level) mirror
those in your own mind, at least in the subjects areas of interest. The surface
(word) level is not adequate -- when you type in "capital of Switzerland",
current systems have no way of knowing whether you mean "capital city" or
"financial capital". Yet the vast majority of people would choose the former
reading, based on phrasing and on knowledge about what kinds of things one is
likely to ask the Web, and in what way.

Several projects are now building, or proposing to build, such large "concept"
networks. This is not something one can do in two years, and not something that
has a correct result. We have to develop both the network and the techniques for
building it semi-automatically and self-adaptively. This is a big challenge.

= What do you think about the debate concerning copyright on the Web? What
practical solutions would you suggest?

As an academic, I am of course one of the parasites of society, and hence all in
favor of free access to all information. But as a part-owner of a small startup
company, I am aware of how much it costs to assemble and format information, and
the need to charge somehow.

To balance these two wishes, I like the model by which raw information (and some
"raw" resources, such as programming languages and basic access capabilities
like the Web search engines) are made available for free. This creates a market
and allows people to do at least something. But processed information, and the
systems that help you get and structure just exactly what you need, I think
should be paid for. That allows developers of new and better technology to be
rewarded for their effort.

Take an example: a dictionary, today, is not free. Dictionary companies refuse
to make them available to research groups and others for free, arguing that they
have centuries of work invested. (I have had several discussions with dictionary
companies on this.) But dictionaries today are stupid products -- you have to
know the word before you can find the word! I would love to have something that
allows me to give an approximate meaning, or perhaps a sentence or two with a
gap where I want the word I am looking for, or even the equivalent in another
language, and returns the word(s) I am looking for. This is not hard to build,
but you need the core dictionary to start with. I think we should have the core
dictionary freely available, and pay for the engine (or the service) that allows
you to enter partial or only somewhat accurate information and helps you find
the best result.

A second example: you should have free access to all the Web, and to basic
search engines like those available today. No copyrights, no license fees. But
if you want an engine that provides a good targeted answer, pinpointed and
evaluated for trustworthiness, then I think it is not unreasonable to pay for

Naturally, an encyclopedia builder will not like my proposal. But to him or her
I say: package your encyclopedia inside a useful access system, because without
it the raw information you provide is just more data, and can easily get lost in
the sea of data available and growing every hour.

*Interview of September 2, 2000

= What has happened since our last interview?

I see a continued increase in small companies using language technology in one
way or another: either to provide search, or translation, or reports, or some
other communication function. The number of niches in which language technology
can be applied continues to surprise me: from stock reports and updates to
business-to-business communications to marketing...

With regard to research, the main breakthrough I see was led by a colleague at
ISI (I am proud to say), Kevin Knight. A team of scientists and students last
summer at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland developed a faster and otherwise
improved version of a method originally developed (and kept proprietary) by IBM
about 12 years ago. This method allows one to create a machine translation (MT)
system automatically, as long as one gives it enough bilingual text. Essentially
the method finds all correspondences in words and word positions across the two
languages and then builds up large tables of rules for what gets translated to
what, and how it is phrased.

Although the output quality is still low -- no-one would consider this a final
product, and no-one would use the translated output as is -- the team built a
(low-quality) Chinese-to-English MT system in 24 hours. That is a phenomenal
feat -- this has never been done before. (Of course, say the critics: you need
something like 3 million sentence pairs, which you can only get from the
parliaments of Canada, Hong Kong, or other bilingual countries; and of course,
they say, the quality is low. But the fact is that more bilingual and
semi-equivalent text is becoming available online every day, and the quality
will keep improving to at least the current levels of MT engines built by hand.
Of that I am certain.)

Other developments are less spectacular. There's a steady improvement in the
performance of systems that can decide whether an ambiguous word such as "bat"
means "flying mammal" or "sports tool" or "to hit"; there is solid work on
cross-language information retrieval (which you will soon see in being able to
find Chinese and French documents on the Web even though you type in
English-only queries), and there is some rather rapid development of systems
that answer simple questions automatically (rather like the popular web system
AskJeeves, but this time done by computers, not humans). These systems refer to
a large collection of text to find "factiods" (not opinions or causes or chains
of events) in response to questions such as "what is the capital of Uganda?" or
"how old is President Clinton?" or "who invented the xerox process?", and they
do so rather better than I had expected.

= What do you think about e-books?

E-books, to me, are a non-starter. More even that seeing a concert live or a
film at a cinema, I like the physical experience holding a book in my lap and
enjoying its smell and feel and heft. Concerts on TV, films on TV, and e-books
lose some of the experience; and with books particularly it is a loss I do not
want to accept. After all, it's much easier and cheaper to get a book in my own
purview than a concert or cinema. So I wish the e-book makers well, but I am
happy with paper. And I don't think I will end up in the minority anytime soon
-- I am much less afraid of books vanishing than I once was of cinemas

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

I define cyberspace as the totality of information that we can access via the
Internet and computer systems in general. It is not, of course, a space, and it
has interesting differences with libraries. For example, soon my fridge, my car,
and I myself will be "known" to cyberspace, and anyone with the appropriate
access permission (and interest) will be able to find out what exactly I have in
my fridge and how fast my car is going (and how long before it needs new shock
absorbers) and what I am looking at now. In fact, I expect that advertisements
will change their language and perhaps even pictures and layout to suit my
knowledge and tastes as I walk by, simply by recognizing that "here comes
someone who speaks primarily English and lives in Los Angeles and makes $X per
year". All this behaviour will be made possible by the dynamically updatable
nature of cyberspace (in contrast to a library), and the fact that computer
chips are still shrinking in size and in price. So just as today I walk around
in "socialspace" -- a web of social norms, expectation, and laws -- tomorrow I
will be walking around in an additional cyberspace of information that will
support me (sometimes) and restrict me (other times) and delight me (I hope
often) and frustrate me (I am sure).

= And your definition of the information society?

An information society is one in which people in general are aware of the
importance of information as a commodity, and attach a price to it as a matter
of course. Throughout history, some people have always understood how important
information is, for their own benefit. But when the majority of society starts
working with and on information per se, then the society can be called an
information society. This may sound a bit vacuous or circularly defined, but I
bet you that anthropologists can go and count what percentage of society was
dedicated to information processing as a commodity in each society. Where they
initially will find only teachers, rulers' councillors, and sages, they will in
later societies find people like librarians, retired domain experts
(consultants), and so on. The jumps in communication of information from oral to
written to printed to electronic every time widened (in time and space)
information dissemination, thereby making it less and less necessary to re-learn
and re-do certain difficult things. In an ultimate information society, I
suppose, you would state your goal and then the information agencies (both the
cyberspace agents and the human experts) would conspire to bring you the means
to achieve it, or to achieve it for you, minimizing the amount of work you'd
have to do to only that is truly new or truly needs to be re-done with the
material at hand.


#Researcher at the INALF (Institut national de la langue française - National
Institute of the French Language)

The purpose of the INaLF -- part of the France's National Centre for Scientific
Research (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS) -- is to design
research programmes on the French language, particularly its vocabulary. The
INaLF's constantly expanding and revised data, processed by special computer
systems, deal with all aspects of the French language: literary discourse
(14th-20th centuries), everyday language (written and spoken), scientific and
technical language (terminologies), and regional languages. This data, which is
an very important study resource, is made available to people interested in the
French language (teachers and researchers, business people, the service sector
and the general public) through publications and databases.

Christiane Jadelot is an expert in computerized lexicography. She is currently
in charge of putting the eighth version of the Dictionnaire de l'Académie
française (Dictionary of the French Academy) (1932-1935) online.

*Interview of June 8, 1998 (original interview in French)

= What is the history of the INaLF website?

At the request of Robert Martin, the head of INaLF, our first pages were posted
on the Internet in mid-1996. I helped set up these web pages with tools that
cannot be compared to the ones we have nowadays. I was working with tools on
Unix, which were not very easy to use. We had little practical experience then,
and the pages were very cluttered. But the INaLF thought it was very important
to make ourselves known through the Internet, which many firms were already
using to sell their products. As we are a "research and services" organization,
we have to find customers for our computer products, the best known being the
text database Frantext. I think Frantext was already on the Internet (since
early 1995), and there was also a draft version of volume 14 of the TLF (Trésor
de la langue française). So we had to publicize INaLF activities in this way. It
met a general need.

= How did using of the Internet change your professional life?

I began to really use it in 1994, with a browser called Mosaic. I found it a
very useful way of improving my knowledge of computers, linguistics,
literature... everything. I was finding the best and the worst, but as a
discerning user, I had to sort it all out and make choices. I particularly liked
the software for e-mail, file transfers and dial-up connections. At that time I
had problems with a programme called Paradox and character sets that I couldn't
use. I tried my luck and threw out a question in a specialist news group. I got
answers from all over the world. Everyone seemed to want to solve my problem! I
wasn't used to this kind of support. The French are more used to working alone,
without reaching out.

= What do you see the future?

I think we have to equip more and more laboratories with high-tech hardware and
software so we can use all these new media. We have got projects for schools and
research centers. The French education ministry has promised to give all schools
cable line access, which is a pressing national need. I saw a TV programme about
a small rural primary school's experience of the Internet. The pupils were
communicating by e-mail with schools all over the world. This is very enriching,
especially when supervised by specially-trained teachers. So that is how I see
the Internet. Now I am equipped at home, more for fun, and I hope to convince my
daughter to use all these tools to the fullest.

*Interview of August 10, 1999 (original interview in French)

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

With its text database Frantext, the INaLF is greatly affected by problems of
copyright and publisher's rights. I think the rules should be more flexible. At
the moment, use of the database is restricted, which reduces its influence and
the spread of French in general.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Personally I have no problem about the use of English, which has to be regarded
as a shared communication tool. But websites should offer access both in English
and in the language of their country of origin.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

It was the one I recalled in 1998, when I got responses from all over the world
to my very trivial question about type-faces.

= And your worst experience?

When I sent an email to someone by mistake. Sometimes this communication tool
has to be used carefully. It goes faster than the human brain and can then be
used by the recipient in a very ugly way.


#Webmaster of cotres furtifs (Furtive Cutter Ships), a website that tells
stories in 3D

The cotres furtifs was launched on October 20, 1998, after they had become a
group. Following a break to show solidarity with the Altern web server (which
fell foul of the inadequate French laws about the Internet), they are now
offering two parts and preparing a third. The aim is to tell stories in 3D and
explore how a 'link' opens the way for 'hyperwriting,' which is a set of
characters, sounds and animations. It gives priority to words.

Jean-Paul is a writer and a musician. In June 1998, he wrote: "The Internet
allows me to do without intermediaries, such as record companies, publishers and
distributors. Most of all, it allows me to crystallize what I have in my head
(and elsewhere): the print medium (desktop-publishing, in fact) only allows me
to partly do that. Then the intermediaries will take over and I'll have to look
somewhere else, a place where the grass is greener..."

*Interview of August 5, 1999 (original interview in French)

= How do you see the future of cyber-literature?

The future of cyber-literature, techno-literature or whatever you want to call
it, is set by the technology itself. It's now impossible for an author to handle
all by himself the words and their movement and sound. A decade ago, you could
know well each of Director, Photoshop or Cubase (to cite just the better-known
software), using the first version of each. That's not possible any more. Now we
have to know how to delegate, find more solid financial partners than Gallimard,
and look in the direction of Hachette-Matra, Warner, the Pentagon and Hollywood.

At best, the status of the, what... hack? multimedia director? will be the one
of video director, film director, the manager of the product. He or she's the
one who receives the golden palms at Cannes, but who would never have been able
to earn them just on their own. As twin sister (not a clone) of the
cinematograph, cyber-literature (video + the link) will be an industry, with a
few isolated craftsmen on the outer edge (and therefore with below-zero

= What exactly is a cutter?

It is called that because it seems to cut through the water. It's sturdy little
naval vessel with a single mast. Cutters were an important part of naval fleets
because they were quick and easy to operate. They were the favourite boats of
pirates, smugglers and... maritime postal workers.

"Now that the earth is flat and the seas desalinated, it's time for our cutters
to thread their way through the 6 billion (soon six and a half billion) stars
that we are. And for them all to link up with each other." (The running cutter)
Why do you use just your first name, instead of your full name?

My reasoning is that, on the Web, there's everything to be done. Except for CERN
(European Center for Particule Research) and the Pentagon (which are going to
make another web, designed just for their own use), nobody knows what exactly it
offers us. So we can work freely while believing that probably everything is
open. And use this unlimited, internal space as widely and quickly as possible
before the rapacious star-spangled banners of 0 and 1 catch up with and overtake

But if it's just a matter of repeating the same things as before, what's the

This business of using a surname (directly linked to the copyright problem)
takes us back to basics, to the central untouchable principle of our planet:
private property. Within the space of a few centuries, we have been reduced to a
name, just one name, all the "cleaner" because it has been stripped of all
humanity and reduced to a social security barcode. It's not something natural,
but a choice of the society, desired by managers. How could we run a modern
society and give back to Caesar his due if each of us could change our
administrative identity several times in our lives, from "Daredevil on Rollers"
to "Motorcycle on the Curves" and then "Hippy Smoking on the Verandah" (you
know, like me, that a simple software programme could easily take care of all
this)? "Human nature is basically evil and all criminals take advantage of that.
But we're here to protect you and your identity." (The Pentagon) And the first
thing a down-and-out person does to assert themselves, someone whose papers are
never in order, is to scribble their name on a billboard advertising some big
commercial product.

On our site, we discreetly try something else.

We exist, we have an address. We know it's hard to speak to each other in
anonymity or in a group, so we keep a few landmarks -- the time factor, the
human factor, and for the cutters, the cutter mailman, who happens to be
Jean-Paul. A first name that is not really one's own name because the thing
about a name is that it isn't ours, it's a name passed down by a dynasty, from a
string of legally-registered names of our male ancestors.

But we're not rejecting our ancestors. They created our world, what we call
reality. But we build up the Web to create another dream. And we launch our
cutters in all directions, to make contacts.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

We don't feel involved.

a) If it means "respect", it's a matter of morality and style, so there's
nothing to discuss. On the Web, as elsewhere, we quote our sources. Complete
respect. For most of us.

b) If it means "copyright", we're on legal ground, which is by nature shaky.
Copyright is a recent notion the French attribute to Beaumarchais, a business
man with a dark side, an arms dealer and great writer. The advent of
digitization, and therefore cloning (which raises a different problem to the one
of copying, which was solved long ago), forces us to reconsider this notion.

c) If it means "author's rights" (in the plural), we're in the economic field,
where we know what the attitude is: competition, withholding information, being
top of the class and stopping others from getting there.

Sony publishes CD (audio and ROM) because it earns them good money. And it makes
CD-engravers (which enable you to clone its own CDs, as well as those of its
rivals) because it earns them more good money. Philips was doing the same thing
until it sold its Polygram division (which, according to the rules of economics,
it could buy back if it wanted).

"It's not enough to be big to be successful but, in a totally globalized
financial world, it helps." (Hervé Babonneau, Ouest-France (French daily
newspaper), August 6, 1999). "A funny aim", says the sturdy cutter. Jurassic
Games and tyrannosaurus more or less rex.

Although it's marginally economic (we have to pay for a domain name and a
subscription to the server), our cutter-space isn't limited to that and we don't
have a competitive attitude. Our site can be freely downloaded, and we download
sites we think are creative.

It's normal to clone someone else's work and give it away as a gift. It's a way
to share. What's disgusting is to sell a clone.

The job of legal experts is to prove the authorities right: yesterday it was the
guillotine for backstreet abortionists, today the social security reimburses the
cost of abortions (in France, though not in Poland).

Copyright or author's rights, a European vision or a US one, which will prevail?
The sacred principle of private property. The property of those who have the
means to keep it. Through the World Trade Organization (WTO), for example, which
is in charge of settling "rights" issues anywhere in the world (even the virtual
world) and, they hope, permanently.

If your house is the path of a future highway, you know the real price of
something untouchable.

So the rights of authors, creators, inventors...

Orson Welles was gobbled up by the big studios, but Kubrick carefully stayed
independent of them. The law made to measure by Uncle Picsou matters little.
Over time, small mammals have eaten tyrannosaurs. And we've cut off the heads of
kings, who supposedly drew their power from the gods. And we did that more

"To give a purer meaning to the words of the tribe", Stéphane Mallarmé wrote.
And when the credit cards have won (apparently in three years time), we must
invent other ways to take us to another Cape of Good Hope, where we can watch
"new stars rise from the distant horizon", like J.M. de Heredia.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Your book (which is really good and useful -- I get something out of it every
time I read it, and it has good addresses too) deals with this whole subject:
"Sooner or later the presence of languages on the Web will reflect their
strength around the world." Depending on the energy of those who speak them.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

How light-headed we felt when we received our first message... coming from
Canada. 10.000 (?) years after the Inuits, our cutters had just discovered

= And your worst experience?

All the sleep I'm missing...

*Interview of June 25, 2000 (original interview in French)

= How did using the hyperlink change your writing?

Surfing the Web is like radiating in all directions (I'm interested in something
and I click on all the links on a home page) or like jumping around (from one
click to another, as the links appear). You can do this in the written media, of
course. But the difference is striking. So the Internet didn't change my life,
but it did change how I write. You don't write the same way for a website as you
do for a script or a play.

But it wasn't exactly the Internet that changed my writing, it was the first
model of the Mac. I discovered it when I was teaching myself Hypercard. I still
remember how astonished I was during my month of learning about buttons and
links and about surfing by association, objects and images. Being able, by just
clicking on part of the screen, to open piles of cards, with each card offering
new buttons and each button opening onto a new series of them. In short,
learning everything about the Web that today seems really routine was a
revelation for me. I hear Steve Jobs and his team had the same kind of shock
when they discovered the forerunner of the Mac in the laboratories of Rank

Since then I've been writing directly on the screen. I use a paper print-out
only occasionally, to help me fix up an article, or to give somebody who doesn't
like screens a rough idea, something immediate. It's only an approximation,
because print forces us into a linear relationship: the words scroll out page by
page most of the time. But when you have links, you've got a different
relationship to time and space in your imagination. And for me, it's a great
opportunity to use this reading/writing interplay, whereas leafing through a
book gives only a suggestion of it -- a vague one because a book isn't meant for


#Director of the WorldWide Language Institute, who initiated NetGlos (The
Multilingual Glossary of Internet Terminology)

One of the WorldWide Language Institute's projects is NetGlos (The Multilingual
Glossary of Internet Terminology), which is currently being compiled from 1995
as a voluntary, collaborative project by a number of translators and other
professionals. Versions for the following languages are being prepared: Chinese,
Croatian, English, Dutch/Flemish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Maori,
Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

*Interview of September 15, 1998

= How did using the Internet change the life of your organization?

Our main service is providing language instruction via the Web. Our company is
in the unique position of having come into existence because of the Internet!

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Although English is still the most important language used on the Web, and the
Internet in general, I believe that multilingualism is an inevitable part of the
future direction of cyberspace.

Here are some of the important developments that I see as making a multilingual
Web become a reality:

1. Popularization of information technology

Computer technology has traditionally been the sole domain of a "techie" elite,
fluent in both complex programming languages and in English -- the universal
language of science and technology. Computers were never designed to handle
writing systems that couldn't be translated into ASCII (American standard code
for information interchange). There wasn't much room for anything other than the
26 letters of the English alphabet in a coding system that originally couldn't
even recognize acute accents and umlauts -- not to mention nonalphabetic systems
like Chinese.

But tradition has been turned upside down. Technology has been popularized. GUIs
(graphical user interfaces) like Windows and Macintosh have hastened the process
(and indeed it's no secret that it was Microsoft's marketing strategy to use
their operating system to make computers easy to use for the average person).
These days this ease of use has spread beyond the PC to the virtual, networked
space of the Internet, so that now nonprogrammers can even insert Java applets
into their webpages without understanding a single line of code.

2. Competition for a chunk of the "global market" by major industry players

An extension of (local) popularization is the export of information technology
around the world. Popularization has now occurred on a global scale and English
is no longer necessarily the lingua franca of the user. Perhaps there is no true
lingua franca, but only the individual languages of the users. One thing is
certain -- it is no longer necessary to understand English to use a computer,
nor it is necessary to have a degree in computer science.

A pull from non-English-speaking computer users and a push from technology
companies competing for global markets has made localization a fast growing area
in software and hardware development. This development has not been as fast as
it could have been. The first step was for ASCII to become Extended ASCII. This
meant that computers could begin to start recognizing the accents and symbols
used in variants of the English alphabet -- mostly used by European languages.
But only one language could be displayed on a page at a time.

3. Technological developments

The most recent development is Unicode. Although still evolving and only just
being incorporated into the latest software, this new coding system translates
each character into 16 bytes. Whereas 8 byte Extended ASCII could only handle a
maximum of 256 characters, Unicode can handle over 65,000 unique characters and
therefore potentially accommodate all of the world's writing systems on the

So now the tools are more or less in place. They are still not perfect, but at
last we can at least surf the Web in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and numerous
other languages that don't use the Western alphabet. As the Internet spreads to
parts of the world where English is rarely used -- such as China, for example,
it is natural that Chinese, and not English, will be the preferred choice for
interacting with it. For the majority of the users in China, their mother tongue
will be the only choice.

There is a change-over period, of course. Much of the technical terminology on
the Web is still not translated into other languages. And as we found with our
Multilingual Glossary of Internet Terminology -- known as NetGlos -- the
translation of these terms is not always a simple process. Before a new term
becomes accepted as the "correct" one, there is a period of instability where a
number of competing candidates are used. Often an English loanword becomes the
starting point -- and in many cases the endpoint. But eventually a winner
emerges that becomes codified into published technical dictionaries as well as
the everyday interactions of the nontechnical user. The latest version of
NetGlos is the Russian one and it should be available in a couple of weeks or so
(end of September 1998). It will no doubt be an excellent example of the
ongoing, dynamic process of "russification" of Web terminology.

4. Linguistic democracy

Whereas "mother-tongue education" was deemed a human right for every child in
the world by a Unesco report in the early '50s, "mother-tongue surfing" may very
well be the Information Age equivalent. If the Internet is to truly become the
global network that it is promoted as being, then all users, regardless of
language background, should have access to it. To keep the Internet as the
preserve of those who, by historical accident, practical necessity, or political
privilege, happen to know English, is unfair to those who don't.

5. Electronic commerce

Although a multilingual Web may be desirable on moral and ethical grounds, such
high ideals are not enough to make it other than a reality on a small-scale. As
well as the appropriate technology being available so that the non-English
speaker can go, there is the impact of "electronic commerce" as a major force
that may make multilingualism the most natural path for cyberspace.

Sellers of products and services in the virtual global marketplace into which
the Internet is developing must be prepared to deal with a virtual world that is
just as multilingual as the physical world. If they want to be successful, they
had better make sure they are speaking the languages of their customers!

= How do you see the future?

As a company that derives its very existence from the importance attached to
languages, I believe the future will be an exciting and challenging one. But it
will be impossible to be complacent about our successes and accomplishments.
Technology is already changing at a frenetic pace. Life-long learning is a
strategy that we all must use if we are to stay ahead and be competitive. This
is a difficult enough task in an English-speaking environment. If we add in the
complexities of interacting in a multilingual/multicultural cyberspace, then the
task becomes even more demanding. As well as competition, there is also the
necessity for cooperation -- perhaps more so than ever before.

The seeds of cooperation across the Internet have certainly already been sown.
Our NetGlos Project has depended on the goodwill of volunteer translators from
Canada, U.S., Austria, Norway, Belgium, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Greece,
Brazil, New Zealand and other countries. I think the hundreds of visitors we get
coming to the NetGlos pages everyday is an excellent testimony to the success of
these types of working relationships. I see the future depending even more on
cooperative relationships -- although not necessarily on a volunteer basis.


#Co-editor of the online magazine Language Today

Geoffrey Kingscott is the managing director of Praetorius, a major British
translation company and language consultancy, and one of the two editors of
Language today, an online magazine for people working in applied languages:
translators, interpreters, terminologists, lexicographers and technical writers.

*Interview of September 4, 1998

= What did using the Internet bring to your company?

The Internet has made comparatively little difference to our company. It is an
additional medium rather than one which will replace all others.

We will continue to have a company website, and to publish a version of the
magazine on the Web, but it will remain only one factor in our work. We do use
the Internet as a source of information which we then distill for our readers,
who would otherwise be faced with the biggest problem of the Web --
undiscriminating floods of information.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Because the salient characteristics of the Web are the multiplicity of site
generators and the cheapness of message generation, as the Web matures it will
in fact promote multilingualism. The fact that the Web originated in the USA
means that it is still predominantly in English but this is only a temporary
phenomenon. If I may explain this further, when we relied on the print and
audiovisual (film, television, radio, video, cassettes) media, we had to depend
on the information or entertainment we wanted to receive being brought to us by
agents (publishers, television and radio stations, cassette and video producers)
who have to subsist in a commercial world or -- as in the case of public service
broadcasting -- under severe budgetary restraints. That means that the size of
the customer-base is all-important, and determines the degree to which languages
other than the ubiquitous English can be accommodated. These constraints
disappear with the Web.

To give only a minor example from our own experience, we publish the print
version of Language Today only in English, the common denominator of our
readers. When we use an article which was originally in a language other than
English, or report an interview which was conducted in a language other than
English, we translate into English and publish only the English version. This is
because the number of pages we can print is constrained, governed by our
customer-base (advertisers and subscribers). But for our Web edition we also
give the original version.

STEVEN KRAUWER (Utrecht, Netherlands)

#Coordinator of ELSNET (European Network of Excellence in Human Language

ELSNET (European Network of Excellence in Human Language Technologies) has 135
European academic and industrial institutions as members. The long-term
technological goal which unites the participants of ELSNET is to build
multilingual speech and NL (natural language) systems with unrestricted coverage
of both spoken and written language. It is funded by the European Commission.

Steven Krauwer, coordinator of ELSNET, is a senior lecturer/researcher in
Computational Linguistics at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS (Utrecht
University, Netherlands). His main interests are: machine translation;
evaluation of language and speech systems; integration of language, speech and
other modalities.

*Interview of September 23, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

It's my chief way of communicating with others and my main source of
information. I'm sure I'll spend the rest of my professional life trying to use
it to remove or at least lower the language barriers.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

As a European citizen, I think multilingualism on the Web is absolutely
essential, because in the long run I don't think it's a healthy situation when
only those who have a reasonable command of English can take full advantage of
what the Web has to offer.

As a researcher (specialized in machine translation), I see multilingualism as a
major challenge: how can we ensure that all information on the Web is accessible
to everybody, irrespective of language differences.

*Interview of August 4, 1999

= What has happened since our first interview?

I've become more and more convinced we should be careful not to address the
multilinguality problem in isolation. I've just returned from a wonderful summer
vacation in France, and even if my knowledge of French is modest (to put it
mildly), it's surprising to see that I still manage to communicate successfully
by combining my poor French with gestures, facial expressions, visual clues and
diagrams. I think the Web (as opposed to old-fashioned text-only email) offers
excellent opportunities to exploit the fact that transmission of information via
different channels (or modalities) can still work, even if the process is only
partially successful for each of the channels in isolation.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

The baseline is of course "thou shalt not steal, even if it's easy". It's
interesting to note that, however complex it is to define legally, most people
have very good intuition about what counts as stealing:

- if I copy info from the Web and use it for my own purposes, I'm not stealing,
because this is exactly why the information was put on the Web in the first

- if I copy info from the Web and re-transmit it to others, giving credit to the
author, I am not stealing;

- if I copy info from the Web and re-transmit it to others, pretending I'm the
author, I am stealing;

- if I copy info from the Web and sell it to others without permission from the
author, I am stealing.

I realize there are lots of borderline cases where it's not immediately clear
what counts as stealing, but let's leave that to the lawyers to figure out.

= What practical solutions would you suggest?

I would adopt the following rules of thumb:

- copying info for your own use is always free;

- re-transmission is OK with proper credit to the author (unless the info is
explicitely labeled as public);

- re-sale of info is OK with permission of the author (unless public).

To back this up one could envisage:

- introducing standard labels (for each mime type) which indicate whether the
info is public, and if not, point to the author;

- making browsers "label-aware", so they can show the content of the label when
displaying text, pictures and movies;

- adopting the convention/rule that info cannot be copied without the label;

- (a bit more adventurous) setting up an ISPN (international standard person
number), similar to ISBN (international standard book number) and ISSN
(international standard serial number), which identifies a person, so that
references to authors in the labels are less dependent on changes in e-mail
addresses and home pages (as long as people keep their addresses in the ISPN
database up-to-date, of course).

= What practical solutions would you suggest for the growth of a multilingual

- At the author end: better education of web authors to use combinations of
modalities to make communication more effective across language barriers (and
not just for cosmetic reasons);

- at the server end: more translation facilities à la AltaVista (quality not
impressive, but always better than nothing);

- at the browser end: more integrated translation facilities (especially for the
smaller languages), and more quick integrated dictionary lookup facilities.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

One night I heard on a foreign radio station a fragment of a song and the name
of a person, and using only the Internet I was able to:

- identify the person as the composer;

- find the title of the song;

- confirm that this was actually the song I'd heard;

- discover that it was part of a musical;

- find the title of the CD-set of the musical;

- buy the CDs;

- find the website of the musical;

- find the country and place where the musical was still being performed,
including when;

- find the phone number and opening hours of the booking office;

- get a map of the city, and directions to get to the theatre.

I could've done my hotel and flight bookings via the Internet too, but it wasn't
necessary in this case.

The only thing I could not do was the actual booking, because they didn't accept
Internet bookings from abroad at the time, for security reasons.

I had a wonderful time at the theatre, and I don't think this would've been
possible without the Internet!

= And your worst experience?

Nothing specific, but there are a few repetitive ones:

- unsolicited commercial e-mails;

- web pages full of ads;

- pages overloaded with irrelevant, time-consuming graphics;

- dead links.

*Interview of June 1st, 2001

= How much do you still work with paper?

I use paper a lot. All important documents are printed out, as they are a lot
easier to consult on paper (easier to browse, never a dead battery). I don't
think that this is going to change for quite a while.

= What do you think about e-books?

Still a long way to go before reading from a screen feels as comfortable as
reading a book.

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

For me the cyberspace is the part of the universe (including people, machines
and information) that I can reach from behind my desk.

= How would you define the information society?

An information society is a society:

- where most of the knowledge and information is no longer stored in people's
brains or books but on electronic media,

- where the information repositories are distributed, interconnected via an
information infrastructure, and accessible from anywhere, and

- where social processes have become so dependent on this information and the
information infrastructure that citizens who are not connected to this
information system cannot fully participate in the functioning of the society.

TIM McKENNA (Geneva)

#Thinks and writes about the complexity of truth in a world of flux

*Interview of October 17, 2000

= What exactly do you do professionally?

I am a mathematics teacher and currently I am taking time off to earn a master's
degree in telecommunications management.

= What exactly do you do on the Internet?

I use the Internet primarily for research.

= How do you see the future?

I hope to see the Internet become more of a tool for accessing news and media
that is not controlled by large corporate accounts.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

Copyright is a difficult issue. The owner of the intellectual property thinks
that she owns what she has created. I believe that the consumer purchases the
piece of plastic (in the case of a CD) or the bounded pages (in the case of
book). The business community has not found a new way to add value to
intellectual property. Consumers don't think very abstractly. When they download
songs for example they are simply listening to them, they are not possessing
them. The music and publishing industry need to find ways to give consumers
tactile vehicles for selling the intellectual property.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

When software gets good enough for people to chat or talk on the Web in real
time in different languages, then we will see whole a new world appear before
us. Scientists, political activists, businesses and many more groups will be
able to communicate immediately without having to go through mediators or

= How much do you still work with paper? Will there still be a place for paper
in the future?

Paper still plays a vital role in my life. Reading is a matter of cultural pride
for me. My background is Irish (Tim is a US citizen). To paraphrase Thomas
Cahil, spirituality has always been closely connected with literacy in Ireland.
I would miss reading and reading from a screen is too burdensome to the eyes.

= What do you think about e-books?

I don't think that they have the right appeal for lovers of books. The Internet
is great for information. Books are not information. People that love books have
a relationship with their books. They reread them, write in them, confer with
them. Just as cyber sex will never replace the love of a woman, e-books will
never be a vehicle for beautiful prose.

= What do you suggest to give blind and partially-sighted people easier access
to the Web?

Software companies need to develop voice activated software with the blind in
mind when it comes to quality and the broad consumer market when it comes to
profitabilty. It will never be profitable and affordable for the blind to have
technology catered to them. However, there are countless examples of
technologies that are developed with the less abled in mind and that have wide
appeal with the masses.

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

Cyberspace to me is the distance that is bridged when individuals use technology
to connect, either by sharing information or chatting. To say that one exists in
cyberspace is really to say that he has eliminated distance as a barrier to
connecting with people and ideas.

= And your definition of the information society?

The information society to me is the tangible form of Jung's collective
consciousness. Most of the information resides in the subconsciousness but
browsing technology has made the information more retrievable which in turn
allows us greater self knowledge both as individuals and as human beings.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

My best experience with the Internet is using e-mail to stay in touch with

= And your worst experience?

My worst experience was learning how to use it before technology surpassed my

MICHAEL MARTIN (Berkeley, California)

#Founder and president of Travlang, a site dedicated both to travel and

Michael Martin created a Foreign Languages for Travelers section on his
university website in 1994 when he was a physics student in New York. A year
later, after its dizzying growth, he launched Travlang, a site that quickly
became a major portal for travel and languages and won a best travel site award
in 1997. Martin, now an experimental physics researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory in California, sold it to GourmetMarket.com in February
1999, who sold it to iiGroup in January 2000. By July 2000, the site was pulling
in two million visitors a month.

Travlang has two main sections. Foreign Languages for Travelers allows you to
learn 70 different languages on the Web. Translating Dictionaries links to free
dictionaries in Afrikaans, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, French,
Frisian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and
Swedish. You can also book your hotel, car or plane ticket, look up exchange
rates and browse 7,000 other language and travel sites.

*Interview of August 25, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

Well, certainly we've made a little business of our website! The Internet is
really a great tool for communicating with people you wouldn't have the
opportunity to interact with otherwise. I truly enjoy the global collaboration
that has made our Foreign Languages for Travelers pages possible.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

I think the Web is an ideal place to bring different cultures and people
together, and that includes being multilingual. Our Travlang site is so popular
because of this, and people desire to feel in touch with other parts of the

I think computerized full-text translations will become more common, enabling a
lot of basic communications with even more people. This will also help bring the
Internet more completely to the non-English speaking world.

YOSHI MIKAMI (Fujisawa, Japan)

#Creator of The Languages of the World by Computers and the Internet, and
co-author of The Multilingual Web Guide

Set up in December 1995 by Yoshi Mikami, The Languages of the World by Computers
and the Internet (known as Logos Home Page or Kotoba Home Page) gives for each
language a brief history, its features, writing system and character set and
keyboard for computer and Internet processing.

Yoshi Mikami is also the co-author (with Kenji Sekine and Nobutoshi Kohara) of
The Multilingual Web Guide, first published in Japanese in August 1997 (O'Reilly
Japan, ISBN 4-900900-23-0), and translated into English, French and German.

*Interview of December 17, 1998

= What is your experience with languages?

My native tongue is Japanese. Because I had my graduate education in the US and
worked in the computer business, I became bilingual in Japanese and American
English. I was always interested in languages and different cultures, so I
learned some Russian, French and Chinese along the way. In late 1995, I created
on the Web The Languages of the World by Computers and the Internet and tried to
summarize there the brief history, linguistic and phonetic features, writing
system and computer processing aspects for each of the six major languages of
the world, in English and Japanese. As I gained more experience, I invited my
two associates to help me write a book on viewing, understanding and creating
multilingual web pages, which was published in August 1997 as The Multilingual
Web Guide, in a Japanese edition, the world's first book on such a subject.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Thousands of years ago, in Egypt, China and elsewhere, people were more
concerned about communicating their laws and thoughts not in just one language,
but in several. In our modern world, most nation states have each adopted one
language for their own use. I predict greater use of different languages and
multilingual pages on the Internet, not a simple gravitation to American
English, and also more creative use of multilingual computer translation. 99% of
the websites created in Japan are written in Japanese.


#Founder of The On-Line Books Page, listing freely-available online books

The On-Line Books Page lists over 12,000 freely-available online books in
English. It was founded in 1993 by John Mark Ockerbloom, who the same year
started the website of the CMU CS (Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science).
In 1998, John graduated from Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) with a
Ph.D. in computer science. He has now moved to Penn (University of
Pennsylvania), where he works with the library and the computer science
department doing digital library research and development. The On-Line Books
Page also joined Penn's digital library, and John hopes it can be greatly
expanded and upgraded while being integrated with other digital library

*Interview of September 2, 1998

= How did your website begin?

I was the original Webmaster here at CMU CS, and started our local Web in 1993.
The local Web included pages pointing to various locally developed resources,
and originally The On-Line Books Page was just one of these pages, containing
pointers to some books put online by some of the people in our department.
(Robert Stockton had made Web versions of some of Doctrine Publishing Corporation's texts.)

After a while, people started asking about books at other sites, and I noticed
that a number of sites (not just Gutenberg, but also Wiretap and some other
places) had books online, and that it would be useful to have some listing of
all of them, so that you could go to one place to download or view books from
all over the Net. So that's how my index got started.

I eventually gave up the webmaster job in 1996, but kept The On-Line Books Page,
since by then I'd gotten very interested in the great potential the Net had for
making literature available to a wide audience. At this point there are so many
books going online that I have a hard time keeping up (and in fact have a large
backlog of books to list). But I hope to keep up my online books works in some
form or another.

= How do you see the future?

I am very excited about the potential of the Internet as a mass communication
medium in the coming years. I'd also like to stay involved, one way or another,
in making books available to a wide audience for free via the Net, whether I
make this explicitly part of my professional career, or whether I just do it as
a spare-time volunteer.

*Interview of August 5, 1999

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

I'm not sure which debate you have in mind. But I think it's important for
people on the Web to understand that copyright is a social contract that's
designed for the public good -- where the public includes both authors and

This means that authors should have the right to exclusive use of their creative
works for limited times, as is expressed in current copyright law. But it also
means that their readers have the right to copy and reuse the work at will once
copyright expires. In the US now, there are various efforts to take rights away
from readers, by restricting fair use, lengthening copyright terms (even with
some proposals to make them perpetual) and extending intellectual property to
cover facts separate from creative works (such as found in the "database
copyright" proposals). There are even proposals to effectively replace copyright
law altogether with potentially much more onerous contract law. I find it much
harder to sympathize with MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) head Jack
Valenti's plea to stop copying of copyrighted movies when I know that if he had
his way, *no* movie would ever enter the public domain. (Mary Bono mentioned
this wish of his in Congress last year.)

If media companies are seen to try to lock up everything that they can get away
with, I don't find it surprising that some consumers react by putting on-line
anything *they* can get away with. Unfortunately, doing that in turn takes away
the legitimate rights of authors.

How to practically solve this? Stakeholders in this debate have to face reality,
and recognize that both producers and consumers of works have legitimate
interests in their use. If intellectual property is then negotiated by a balance
of principles, rather than as the power play it's too often ends up being ("big
money vs. rogue pirates") we may be able to come up with some reasonable

CAOIMHIN O DONNAILE (Island of Skye, Scotland)

#Maintains European Minority Languages on the main site with information on
Scottish Gaelic

Maintained on the site of the college Sabhal Mór Ostaig by Caoimhín P. Ó
Donnaíle, European Minority Languages is a list of minority languages by
alphabetic order and by language family.

*Interview of August 18, 1998

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

I see four main points:

- The Internet has contributed and will contribute to the wildfire spread of
English as a world language.

- The Internet can greatly help minority languages, but this will not happen by
itself. It will only happen if people want to maintain the language as an aim in

- The Web is very useful for delivering language lessons, and there is a big
demand for this.

- The Unicode (ISO 10646) character set standard is very important and will
greatly assist in making the Internet more multilingual.

*Interview of January 15, 2000

= What exactly do you do professionally?

I teach computing (through the Gaelic language) at a college on the island of
Skye in Scotland. I maintain the college website, which is the main site
worldwide with information on Scottish Gaelic.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

I haven't been following the debate, but I think the duration of copyright is
far too long. Other than that I think that copyright should be respected in

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

There is a danger that English will take over the world because of the spread of
the Internet. However, if people are keen to maintain other languages, then the
Internet will help with this.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

[Private matters.]

= And your worst experience?

I don't have any really bad experiences with the Internet. Just the usual -
spam, hackers, but nothing really bad.

*Interview of May 31st, 2001

= What has happened since our last interview?

There has been a great expansion in the use of information technology at the
Gaelic-medium college here. Far more computers, more computing staff, flat
screens. Students do everything by computer, use Gaelic spell-checking, Gaelic
online terminology database. More hits on our web site. More use of sound.
Gaelic radio (both Scottish and Irish) now available continuously worldwide via
the Internet. Major project has been translation the Opera web-browser into
Gaelic - the first software of any size available in Gaelic.

= Do you have anything to add to your previous answers?

I would emphasise the point that as regards the future of endangered languages,
the Internet speeds everything up. If people don't care about preserving
languages, the Internet and accompanying globalisation will greatly speed their
demise. If people do care about preserving them, the Internet will be a
tremendous help.

= How much do you still work with paper?

I work with paper a lot, but far less than with computer delivered information.
I write about 2.000 e-mails per year, compared to about 100 letters and about
500 phone calls and about 15 faxes.

= Will there still be a place for paper in the future?

Yes, there will still be a place for paper for a long long time to come, but its
share will continue to decline compared to computer-delivered information.

= What do you think about e-books?

I don't know much about what e-books are. WWW is the really important thing.


#Management Consultant with the firm Cap Gemini Ernst & Young

*Interview of January 26, 2000 (original interview in French)

= Can you tell us about your company's website?

The Ernst & Young France website was created in 1998. It started out as just an
advertisement for the firm and its activities and grew naturally from there.

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

The Internet changed (and changes) our professional life in two ways:

- It provides our consultants with data about present and possible clients.
These are the communication/information aspects.

- The Internet has generated new needs among firms, so management consultancies
have and are developing e-commerce solutions such as eprocurement, efulfilment,
etc. A whole new range of activities is available. This will revolutionise the
world of consulting and major investments are being made to develop such

= How do you see the future?

In the short term, as consultants, we'll also be affected by the growth of
online services through the Internet. For some consulting, subject matter
experts can answer clients and possible clients through the Web. We're moving
towards online consulting.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

The Internet was conceived as an "open world", so copyright is a tricky probem.
I can't see much of a solution.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Unfortunately, a multilingual Internet is quite unlikely. English is too strong,
and the duplication of texts and data isn't feasible.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

When I can quickly find the information I'm looking for.

= And your worst experience?

The opposite situation -- getting lost when I'm looking for something.


#Head of the Centre for Documentation and Information (CDI) of the OECD
(Organisation for Economic and Co-operation Development)

"The OECD groups 29 member countries in an organisation that, most importantly,
provides governments a setting in which to discuss, develop and perfect economic
and social policy. They compare experiences, seek answers to common problems and
work to co-ordinate domestic and international policies that increasingly in
today's globalised world must form a web of even practice across nations. (...)
The OECD is a club of like-minded countries. It is rich, in that OECD countries
produce two thirds of the world's goods and services, but it is not an exclusive
club. Essentially, membership is limited only by a country's commitment to a
market economy and a pluralistic democracy. The core of original members has
expanded from Europe and North America to include Japan, Australia, New Zealand,
Finland, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Korea. And there are
many more contacts with the rest of the world through programmes with countries
in the former Soviet bloc, Asia, Latin America - contacts which, in some cases,
may lead to membership." (extract of the website)

The Centre for Documentation and Information (CDI) is charged with providing
information to agents of the OECD in support of their research work. It has
about 60,000 monographs and about 2,500 periodical titles in its collections.
The CDI also provides information in electronic format from databases, CD-ROMs
and the Internet.

Peter Raggett, the Head of the CDI, has been a professional librarian for nearly
twenty years, fist working in UK government libraries and now at the OECD since
1994. He has been working with the Internet since 1996. He is in charge of the
CDI Intranet pages, which are one of the chief sources of information for OECD

*Interview of June 18, 1998

= What exactly do you do on the Internet?

I have to filter the information for library users which means that I must know
the sites and the links that they have. I chose several hundred sites to allow
access to them from the OECD Intranet and these sites are part of the virtual
reference desk which the library has made available to the Organisations's
staff. As well as these links, this virtual reference desk contains pages of
references to articles, monographs and web sites corresponding to different
ongoing research projects at the OECD, network access to CD-ROMs and a monthly
list of new titles. The library catalogue will soon be available on the

= How do you see the future?

The Internet has provided researchers with a vast database of information. The
problem for them is to find what they are seeking. Never has the information
overload been so obvious as when one tries to find information on a topic by
searching the Internet. Information managers have a large role to play in
searching and arranging the information on the Internet.

I expect that there will be an expansion in Internet use for education and
research. This means that libraries will have to create virtual libraries where
students can follow a course offered by an institution at the other side of the

Personally, I see myself becoming more and more a virtual librarian. My clients
may not meet me face-to-face but instead will contact me by e-mail, telephone or
fax and I will do the research and send them the results electronically.

*Interview of August 4, 1999

= What has happened since our first interview?

Our Intranet site will be completely renovated by the end of the year, as we
will be putting the library catalogue on the Intranet. This will allow our users
to access the catalogue across our Intranet. The catalogue will be Z39.50

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

The copyright question is still very unclear. Publishers naturally want their
fees for each article ordered and librarians and end-users want to be able
download immediately full text of articles. At the moment each publisher seems
to have its own policy for access to electronic versions and they would benefit
from having some kind of homogenous policy, preferably allowing unlimited
downloading of their electronic material.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

I think it is incumbent on European organisations and businesses to try and
offer websites in three or four languages if resources permit. In this age of
globalisation and electronic commerce, businesses are finding that they are
doing business across many countries. Allowing French, German, Japanese speakers
to easily read one's web site as well as English speakers will give a business a
competitive edge in the domain of electronic trading.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Finding within 10 minutes articles and information on a professor who was
visiting the Organisation.

= And your worst experience?

Connection problems and slow transfer of data.

*Interview of July 31, 2000

= What has happened since our last interview?

The catalogue was mounted onto our Intranet pages in October 1999. This allows
all OECD agents to search the CDI's catalogue easily from their own offices.

= How much do you still work with paper?

We are still providing photocopies of periodical articles, although our use of
paper has diminished slightly, due to the availability of full text articles on
the Internet in PDF format. Our loans of monographs has not decreased since the
advent of the Internet.

= Will there still be a place for paper in the future?

I think that there will still be a place for some use of paper despite the
advent of electronic books. The use of paper will lessen as people get more and
more used to electronic books.

= What do you think about e-books?

It is interesting to see that the electronic book mimics the traditional book as
much as possible except that the paper page is replaced by a screen. I can see
that the electronic book will replace some of the present paper products but not
all of them. I also hope that electronic books will be waterproof so that I can
continue reading in the bath.

= What do you suggest to give blind and partially-sighted people easier access
to the Web?

I predict an increase in the use of sounds, where blind and partially-sighted
people will be able to hear the text of web sites using loudspeakers or

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

Cyberspace is that area "out there" which is on the other end of my PC when I
connect to the Internet. Any ISP (Internet service provider) or web page
provider is in cyberspace as far as his users or customers are concerned.

= And your definition of the information society?

The information society is the society where the most valued product is
information. Up to the 20th century, manufactured goods were the most valued
products. They have been replaced by information. In fact, people are now
talking of the knowledge society where the most valuable economic product is the
knowledge inside our heads.


#Professor in communication technology at Webster University

Henri Slettenhaar has extensive knowledge of communication technology. He joined
the European Center for Particle Research (CERN) in 1958 to work with the first
digital computer and was involved in the development of CERN's first digital
networks. His US experience began in 1966 when he joined a team at the Stanford
Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) for 18 months to build a film digitizer.
Returning to SLAC in 1983, he designed a digital monitoring system, which was
used for more than 10 years. For nearly twenty years now he has been teaching
information technology at Webster University, Geneva. He is the head of the
Telecom Management Program created in Fall 2000. He is also a consultant for
numerous organizations.

In 1992, Henri Slettenhaar founded the (Swiss) Silicon Valley Association (SVA)
and, since then, has been constantly networking between Switzerland and
California, taking study groups to Silicon Valley. These study tours include
visits to outstanding companies, start-up, research centers and universities in
the Silicon Valley and in other high-technology areas such as San Francisco, Los
Angeles, Finland, etc., with the aim of exploring new developments in
information technology such as the Internet, multimedia, and telecommunications.
Participants have the opportunity to learn about state-of-the-art research and
development, strategies and business ventures through presentations and
discussions, product demonstrations and site tours.

*Interview of December 21, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

I can't imagine my professional life without the Internet. Most of my
communication is now via e-mail. I've been using email for the last 20 years,
most of that time to keep in touch with colleagues in a very narrow field. Since
the explosion of the Internet, and especially the invention of the Web, I
communicate mainly by e-mail. Most of my presentations are now on the Web and
the courses I teach are all web-extended. All the details of my Silicon Valley
Tours are on the Web. Without the Internet we wouldn't be able to function. And
I use the Internet is as a giant database. I can find information today with the
click of a mouse.

= How do you see the future?

I think I'll be relying more and more on it for information and activities
related to my work. As for languages, I'm delighted there are so many offerings
in the original language now. I much prefer to read the original with difficulty
than getting a bad translation.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

I see multilingualism as a very important issue. Local communities that are on
the Web should principally use the local language for their information. If they
want to present it to the world community as well, it should be in English too.
I see a real need for bilingual websites.

*Interview of August 23, 1999

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web?

It is an important issue and will be solved like in the past with all new

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

There are two main categories on the Web in my opinion. The first one is the
global outreach for business and information. Here the language is definitely
English first, with local versions where appropriate. The second one is local
information of all kinds in the most remote places. If the information is meant
for people of an ethnic and/or language group, it should be in that language
first with perhaps a summary in English. We have seen lately how important these
local websites are -- in Kosovo and Turkey, to mention just the most recent
ones. People were able to get information about their relatives through these

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Getting pictures directly from space (Jupiter).

= And your worst experience?

Information overload. I get too much and I do not have the tools yet to get only
what I want.

*Interview of August 30, 2000

= What has happened since our last interview?

The explosion of mobile technology. The mobile phone has become for many people,
including me, the personal communicator which allows you to be anywhere anytime
and still be reachable. But the mobile Internet is still a dream. The new
services on mobile (GSM) phones are extremely primitive and expensive (WAP =
Wait and Pay). See my article about Finland (in French).

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

Multilingualism has expanded greatly. Many e-commerce websites are multilingual
now and there are companies that sell products which make localization possible
(adaptation of websites to national markets).

= What do you think about e-books?

I have a hard time believing people would want to read from a screen. I much
prefer myself to read and touch a real book.

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

Our virtual space. The area of digital information (bits, not atoms). It is a
limited space when you think of the spectrum. It has to be administered well so
all the earth's people can use it and benefit from it (eliminate the digital

= And your definition of the information society?

The people who already use cyberspace in their daily lives to such an extent
that it is hard to imagine living without it (the other side of the divide).

*Interview of July 8, 2001

= What has happened since our last interview?

All I can come up with is the tremendous change I am experiencing with having a
"broadband" connection at home. To be connected at all times is so completelely
different from dial-up.

I now receive e-mail as soon as it arrives, I can listen to my favorite radio
stations wherever they are. I can listen to the news when I want to. Get the
music I like all the time.

Today for instance, I heared the comments and saw the score board of Wimbledon
tennis in real time. The only thing which is missing is good quality real time
video. The bandwidth is too low for that.

I now have a wired and a wireless LAN (local area network) in my home. I can use
my laptop anywhere in the house and outside, even at the neighbors and still
being connected. With the same technology I am now able to use my wireless LAN
card in my computer when I travel. For instance during my recent visit to
Stockholm there was connectivity in the Hotel, the Conference center, the
airport and even in the Irish Pub!

MURRAY SUID (Palo Alto, California)

#Writer, works for EDVantage Software, an Internet company specialized in
educational software

Murray Suid lives in Palo Alto (California), in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
He writes educational books (e.g., Ten-Minute Grammar Grabbers), books for kids
(e.g., The Kids' How to Do Almost Everything Guide), multimedia scripts (e.g.,
The Writing Trek), and screenplays (e.g., Summer of the Flying Saucer -- to be
produced by Magma Films, Ireland).

*Interview of September 7, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

Professionally, the Internet has become my major research tool, largely -- but
not entirely -- replacing the traditional library and even replacing
person-to-person research. Now, instead of phoning people or interviewing them
face to face, I do it via e-mail. Because of speed, it has also enabled me to
collaborate with people at a distance, particularly on screenplays. (I've worked
with two producers in Germany.) Also, digital correspondence is so easy to store
and organize, I find that I have easy access to information exchanged this way.
Thus, e-mailing facilitates keeping track of ideas and materials.

The Internet has increased my correspondence dramatically. Like most people, I
find that e-mail works better than snail mail. My geographic range of
correspondents has also increased -- extending mainly to Europe. In the old
days, I hardly ever did transatlantic pen-palling. I also find that e-mailing is
so easy, I am able to find more time to assist other writers with their work --
a kind of a virtual writing group. This isn't merely altruistic. I gain a lot
when I give feedback. But before the Internet, doing so was more of an effort.

= How do you see the relationship between the print media and the Internet?

For one thing, the Internet serves other print media. My recently published
book, The Kids' How to Do (Almost) Everything Guide, would probably not have
been done prior to the invention of e-mail because it would have cost too much
in money/time to locate the experts. So the Internet is a powerful research tool
for writers of books, articles, etc.

Also, in a time of great change, many "facts" don't stay factual for long. In
other words, many books go quickly out of date. But if a book can be web
extended (living partly in cyberspace), then an author can easily update and
correct it, whereas otherwise the author would have to wait a long time for the
next edition, if indeed a next edition ever came out.

Also, in terms of marketing, the Web seems crucial, especially for small
publishers that can't afford to place ads in major magazines and on the radio.
Although large companies continue to have an advantage, in cyberspace small
publishers can put up very competitive marketing efforts.

We think that paper books will be around for a while, because using them is
habitual. Many readers like the feel of paper, and the heft of a book held in
the hands or carried in a purse or backpack. I haven't yet used a digital book,
and I think I might prefer one -- because of ease of search, because of color,
because of sound, etc. Obviously, multimedia books can be easily downloaded from
the Web, and such books probably will dominate publishing in the future. Not yet

= How do you see the future?

I'm not very state-of-the-art so I'm not sure. I would like to have direct
access to text -- digitally read books in the Library of Congress, for example,
just as now I can read back issues of many newspapers. Currently, while I can
find out about books on-line, I need to get the books into my hands to use them.
I would rather access them on-line and copy sections that I need for my work,
whereas today I either have to photocopy relevant pages, or scan them in, etc.

I expect that soon I will use the Internet for video telephoning, and that will
be a happy development.

I do not know if I will publish books on the Web -- as opposed to publishing
paper books. Probably that will happen when books become multimedia. (I
currently am helping develop multimedia learning materials, and it's a form of
teaching that I like a lot -- blending text, movies, audio, graphics, and --
when possible -- interactivity).

*Interview of August 3, 1999

= What has happened since our 1998 interview?

In addition to "web extending" books, we are now web-extending our multimedia
(CD-ROM) products -- to update and enrich them.

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web? What practical
solutions do you have?

The secret, I think, is to create information packages that cannot be
economically stolen. In other words, the product being sold needs to have more
value than a copy. For example, it's currently easier and cheaper for someone to
buy one of our books than to photocopy a book -- in its entirety. So we try to
design our books in a way that makes all the pages valuable, and not just a few

We would like to sell our books online -- in PDF format -- but have not
investigated ways to keep buyers from re-distributing the files. Maybe this is
possible through encryption. But we don't know how to do it.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

Meeting experts and authors who have contributed to our publishing ventures.

= And your worst experience?

Being insulted by a stranger -- someone who assumed that I was bad without
knowing anything about me.

*Interview of October 10, 2000

= What has happened since our last interview?

Our company -- EDVantage Software -- has become an Internet company instead of a
multimedia (CD-ROM) company. We deliver educational material online to students
and teachers.

= How much do you still work with paper?

Very little, though of course there are printouts, especially for meetings when
we review manuscripts.

= Will there still be a place for paper in the future?

I hope not.

= What do you think about e-books?

I haven't used them.

= What is your definition of cyberspace?

Anywhere = Everywhere. The simplest example: My mailbox follows me wherever I

= And your definition of the information society?

A society in which ideas and knowledge are more important than things.


#Manager of the C&IT (Communications & Information Technology) Centre at the
University of Hull

Since its inception in 1989, the C&IT Centre has been based in the Language
Institute at the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and aims to promote and
encourage the use of computers in language learning and teaching. The Centre
provides information on how computer assisted language learning (CALL) can be
effectively integrated into existing courses and offers support for language
lecturers who are using computers in their teaching (e.g. Internet Resources for
Language Teachers and Learners).

Hosted by the C&IT Centre, EUROCALL is the European Association for Computer
Assisted Language Learning. This association of language teaching professionals
from Europe and worldwide aims to: promote the use of foreign languages within
Europe; provide a European focus for all aspects of the use of technology for
language learning; and enhance the quality, dissemination and efficiency of CALL
(computer assisted language learning) materials. EUROCALL supported the creation
of WELL (Web Enhanced Language Learning), which offer high-quality Web resources
in 12 languages, selected and described by subject experts, plus information and
examples on how to use them for teaching and learning.

*Interview of December 14, 1998

= How did using the Internet change your professional life?

The use of the Internet has brought an enormous new dimension to our work of
supporting language teachers in their use of technology in teaching.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

The Internet has the potential to increase the use of foreign languages, and our
organisation certainly opposes any trend towards the dominance of English as the
language of the Internet. An interesting paper on this topic was delivered by
Madanmohan Rao at the WorldCALL Conference in Melbourne, July 1998.

I suspect that for some time to come, the use of Internet-related activities for
languages will continue to develop alongside other technology-related activities
(e.g. use of CDROMs - not all institutions have enough networked hardware). In
the future I can envisage use of Internet playing a much larger part, but only
if such activities are pedagogy-driven. Our organisation is closely associated
with the WELL project which devotes itself to these issues.

PAUL TREANOR (Netherlands)

#Created on his personal website a section on the future of languages in Europe

Created in 1996, this website is divided into six sections: Net/cyberspace
ideology; geopolitics/nationalism; the future of Europe; urban theory/planning;
liberalism and ethics; and academic issues. For legal reasons, some pages with a
high risk of legal action are only located at the duplicate website. In this
way, if the second website is closed down the first can continue operating.

Paul Treanor also writes articles for Telopolis, a German online magazine.

*Interview of August 18, 1998

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

You speak of the Web in the singular. As you may have read (on my website), I
think "The Web" is a political, not a technological concept. A civilization is
possible with extremely advanced computers, but no interconnection. The idea
that there should be "one Web" comes from the liberal tradition of the single,
open, preferably global market.

The Internet should simply be broken up in multiple Nets, and Europe should cut
the links with the US and build a systematically incompatible net for Europe.
(...) Remember that 15 years ago, everyone thought there would be one global TV
station, CNN. Now there are French, German and Spanish global TV channels.

So the answer to your question is that the "one Web" will split up anyway --
probably into these four components:

1. An internal US/Canadian anglophone Net, with many of the original

2. Separate national Nets, with limited outside links

3. A new global Net specifically to link the nets of category 2

4. Possibly a specific EU Net

As you can see, this structure parallels the existing geopolitical structure.
All telecommunications infrastructure has followed similar patterns. (...)

Current EU policy pretends to be neutral in this way, but in fact it is
supporting the growth of English as a contact language in EU communications

*Interview of July 25, 1999

= What has happened since our 1998 interview?

The nature of the Internet has changed dramatically in the last two years. It is
no longer possible to speak of idealistic social or political effects: the Net
is entirely commercialised. I find this entirely predictable. I have always
described the Internet as a liberal structure, a market of information. It is
logical that it is now commercialised.

It is often said the Internet is now like television. Certainly the content is
determined by market forces and is increasingly split into very large sites with
huge quantities of information. In some ways, these are like television
channels, but the metaphor is not completely accurate.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

The future multilingualism of the Net will be determined by market forces. At
present there's no political will to enforce multilingualism. But it is in the
commercial interest of the content providers to have material in local
languages. At least in Europe. For small languages in Africa, there is no market

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

I have no illusions about the Internet. I can't remember any positive exception
to that.

= And your worst experience?

The worst thing I have seen on the Internet recently is the way thousands of
people added the logo of the Belgrade radio B92 to their websites, without
asking what it was and what politics it represented. In fact it was already
broadcasting from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) aircraft. The
campaign shows how easy it is to manipulate the new media scene...


#Founder, chairman and managing director of FTPress (French Touch Press), a
cybermedia company

*Interview of May 20, 2000 (original interview in French)

= What is FTPress?

FTPress (French Touch Press) is a French cyberpress company. It has created the
following websites:

-- www.ftpress.com, which describes the concept, products and structure of the
media company, and gives very informal portraits of the team members.

-- www.internetactu.com, Internet Actu's website, which carries news about the
Internet and new technology. It was launched on 9 September 1999 in its present
form. It replaced LMB Actu (Le Micro Bulletin Actu - The Micro News Bulletin),
published by the Information Systems Department (Délégation aux systèmes
d'information (DSI)) at France's National Centre for Scientific Research (Centre
national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)).

-- www.pixelactu.com, Pixel Actu's website, giving news about digital pictures,
set up on 31 January 2000.

-- www.esanteactu.com, eSanté Actu's website, with news about eHealth -- the
interface between health (as seen by professionals) and the Internet -- launched
on 16 May 2000.

- www.lafontaine.net, the website of Jean de la Fontaine (a 17th century French
poet and writer, renowned for his Fables), containing all his works, as well as
many drawings, pastiches and recordings. It also features a "Daily Fable".

- www.commissairetristan.com, the website of Superintendant Tristan's adventures
(Les aventures du Commissaire Tristan), the first (free) online crime novel,
co-produced by FTPress and AlloCiné and launched in mid-June 2000.

Many projects are planned in the next months.

= What exactly do you do professionally?

Very briefly, developing a company, FTPress, that specializes in the online
press -- for the moment, that is, because things are moving so fast that it
might not be doing that any more in a few months time. The idea of FTPress is to
create professional media, each specialized in an economic area, such as health,
cars, digital pictures, human resources and logistics. Each medium deals with
the economic, technological, political and social aspects of a sector being
changed by the arrival of new technology and the Internet. The first one was
Internet Actu, set up at France's National Centre for Scientific Research in
February 1996, followed by Pixel Actu (February 2000) and eSanté Actu (May
2000). We began with written products, but we're now focusing on multimedia,
including TV programmes in the near future. FTPress also sets up media for
outside customers.

= How do you see your professional future?

I see my professional future as a professional "here and now." If you'd asked me
that two years ago, I would have said that through working with the Internet (as
head of information systems at the CNRS) and writing things about the Internet
(as editor of LMB Actu), I was dreaming of creating an Internet start-up. But I
was wondering how to do that. If you'd asked me the question a year ago, I would
have answered that I'd made the jump, was all set and had told my bosses I was
leaving, to go off and create FTPress. I just didn't want to stay where I was
any more. I was becoming bitter. I wanted to start my own company or else take a
year's sabbatical to do nothing. Today, I'm fully involved in the firm. I feel
I'm living some of the stories we read in the press about start-ups. It's hard
to do physically because it's all growing so fast. So I see my future on the
beach, without the Internet, relaxing with my wife ;-)

= What do you think of the debate about copyright on the Web? What practical
suggestions do you have?

It's a valid debate. Some people, often those hiding behind the authority of an
institution that ought to respect copyright, don't respect it and have no qualms
about putting their names to articles written by somebody else. At FTPress, we
more or less follow the guidelines of the GPL (a public licence used as a basis
by Linux for free software). Our material can be freely reproduced for
non-commercial purposes, with the source mentioned of course. The authors of
these articles are paid at a standard rate, have journalist status and are also
given stock options in the company. This stake in the firm's activity and its
value brings the journalist's pay up to the level for an article written for a
given publication. But FTPress no longer pays authors extra if the article is
sold to a third party for their own use. I think this is a solution to the
problem as far as the press is concerned. But it's a complex issue with many
aspects and no single answer.

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

I don't know how to answer that, except with a truism like "Everyone will keep
their own language, with English as a language of exchange." But do we really
believe all the world's people are going to communicate in every senses? Maybe.
Through written or oral machine translation systems? It's hard to imagine having
in the near future the means to translate nuances of thought unique to a given
country. We'd have to translate more than the language, and set up bridges to
convey feelings. Unless everthing is standardized by globalisation. So I think
the real issue is a multicultural Internet.

= What is your best experience with the Internet?

When we passed the 10.000 subscribers' mark for LMB Actu, at the beginning of

= And your worst experience?

The time when we made a mistake in Internet Actu and angry messages from
subscribers began pouring in just 10 minutes later. We all started panicking
because LMB Actu had just gone private and FTPress, the new company, relied
solely on its successor, Internet Actu. If we'd lost a lot of subscribers,
we'd've been finished. But in the end, all the reaction allowed us to start a
column for readers which was very popular. Mistakes often turn out to be
beneficial, as soon as you admit them openly. These exchanges establish links
between readers and authors.

ROBERT WARE (Colorado)

#Creator of OneLook Dictionaries, a fast finder of words in 650 dictionaries

*Interview of September 2, 1998

= How do you see the growth of a multilingual Web?

On the personal side, I was almost entirely in contact with people who spoke one
language and did not have much incentive to expand language abilities. Being in
contact with the entire world has a way of changing that. And changing it for
the better! I have been slow to start including non-English dictionaries (partly
because I am monolingual). But you will now find a few included.

An interesting thing happened earlier and I think I learned something from it.

In 1994, I was working for a college and trying to install a software package on
a particular type of computer. I located a person who was working on the same
problem and we began exchanging email. Suddenly, it hit me... the software was
written only 30 miles away but I was getting help from a person half way around
the world. Distance and geography no longer mattered!

OK, this is great! But what is it leading to? I am only able to communicate in
English but, fortunately, the other person could use English as well as German
which was his mother tongue. The Internet has removed one barrier (distance) but
with that comes the barrier of language.

It seems that the Internet is moving people in two quite different directions at
the same time. The Internet (initially based on English) is connecting people
all around the world. This is further promoting a common language for people to
use for communication. But it is also creating contact between people of
different languages and creates a greater interest in multilingualism. A common
language is great but in no way replaces this need.

So the Internet promotes both a common language and multilingualism. The good
news is that it helps provide solutions. The increased interest and need is
creating incentives for people around the world to create improved language
courses and other assistance and the Internet is providing fast and inexpensive
opportunities to make them available.

Copyright © 2001 Marie Lebert

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