Computing – having come of age in what many call “the American century” – is largely based upon English, and therefore, so is the architecture of the internet.
In 2019, Gretchen McCulloch, linguist and author of the “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language,” found that “software programs and social media platforms are now often available in some 30 to 100 languages.” That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize there are something like 6,000 or 7,000 languages spoken on the planet.
While computers are language-agnostic, the platforms they run upon are not, which raises a barrier to enormous swathes of the world.
But with computer pioneers working in the US, English became computing’s lingua franca. While that may be limiting to non-English speakers who wish to pursue careers in coding, anyone who wants to use a computer or the internet has had to wait for a ‘customized’ version which suits their own language.