More thoughts on non-English developers

I went back to China earlier this year in June for another conference, but just to attend, not to speak. GMTC 2019 is an annual front-end conference organised by the same team who does QCon. The vibe was different from that of a community-focused conference like CSSConf China.

It felt more like a conference whose main audience was developers from companies who had the budget to send their teams to attend, and hence the content of the conference focused on large-scale applications, developer tooling and takeaways that attendees could apply to their work.

Personally, I prefer attending conferences like CSSConf China, where the vibe is more inspirational and creative. Some of the things covered may not be applicable to large-scale commercial applications, but highlight the possibilities of the web platform. But there is definitely room in our industry for both styles of conference.

One of the speakers I met at CSSConf China, Zhang Xinxu (张鑫旭), was also a speaker at GMTC. As one of the most well-known developers in the Chinese frontend world, he is one of the most eloquent and charming speakers I've ever had the privilege of watching live. And his stage presence is captivating.

As far as I know, he has not given any talks outside of China. I consider myself fairly lucky to be fluent in more than one language, namely English and Chinese. And having more than a rudimentary understanding of either language has exposed me to so many more ideas and perspectives than if I was monolingual.

Throughout CSSConf China, I couldn't help but think what the non-Chinese speaking world was missing. The experiences of the Chinese developers gave them a perspective that I personally found refreshing. And each of the speakers had such unique personalities that really shown through on stage.

I'm starting to think more about how to bridge the gap between developers who do not share a common language, because it is way more than just making everyone use the same language. Language, in and of itself, holds many nuances that reflect the culture and perspectives of the people who use it, and there is value in preserving that.

The challenge here is minimising the nuance lost when translating from one language to another. Or maybe I'm just over-thinking things. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯