I have built my career around evangelizing for perfection in internationalization and localization. I achieve this through conformance with open standards, like Unicode and the W3C body of standards, as well as culture-aware and locale-sensitive design, implementation, and quality control throughout the whole technology stack.
After all, as the old Mozilla internationalization motto goes, “English is just another language”.
Localization Engineer (Los Gatos, CA)
Netflix, Inc., Content Platform Engineering, 2015 (Current)
Software Localization and Internationalization Engineer (San Jose, CA)
HighTech Passport, Ltd., 2011 – 2015
- Refactored the existing codebase of individual scripts (in Perl) with high code redundancy to a unit-tested library of common functionalities with a lower defect-per-line ratio. This library is used in customizing the internal localization engineering pipeline and web-based MVC tools.
- Planned and conducted internal and client training sessions on new technologies, tools, and best practices in internationalization. A recent example was consulting Sony Computer Entertainment International on internationalization needs of PS4™ during development of the core operating system, and pre-launch QA and defect triage, and rolling out of online services by Sony Network Entertainment International.
- Bidirectional localization engineering based on directives of Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm for products in Hebrew, Arabic, and Urdu for products of very high visibility (e.g. Yahoo, PayPal, and Dolby Laboratories).
- Researched calendrical calculations for Gregorian, Eastern Orthodox, and Hebrew lunisolar calendar to confirm important dates.
- Communication with Unicode Technical Committee as the representative.
- Using the data from CLDR/ICU for precision and integrity of internationalization practices.
- Internationalization research (calendars, collation, etc) and localizability assessment study for projects.
- Automated sets of localization and internationalization tasks and tests.
- Deployed common TMS/CAT software (Idiom WorldServer, Trados Studio, etc.).
- Preparation of translation kits (markup, externalization, segmentation) and delivery in various formats depending on client requirements.
Creative Engineer (Linz, Austria)
Ars Electronica FutureLab, 2008 – 2011
- Consulted the team on use and implementation of Arabic script and typography in media installations.
- Developed a Python framebuffer library for Ars Electronica Center LED media facade suitable for rapid prototyping of project ideas.
- Functional and computer vision development for Hexapod robotic platform in Python.
- Planned and performed the migration of Ars Electronica website from proprietary legacy code in ASP to Wordpress multi-site platform.
- Web development on LAMP for Ars Electronica (http://www.aec.at), 80+1 project (http://www.80plus1.org), and Austrian Chamber of Commerce (https://wkoforum.at/).
- Designed and developed a database-driven plugin for Wordpress for calendar and event management (http://www.aec.at/center/en/calendar/).
Freelance Internationalization Engineer
HighTech Passport, Ltd., 2009 – 2011
Technical Translator and Documenter (Tehran, Iran)
Sharif FarsiWeb, Inc. 2007 – 2008
- Technical writing, translation, and localization QA for packages included with Sharif Linux, a Linux distribution made, customized, and localized for Iranian users.
- Developed technical and legal standards for The Encyclopaedia of Iranian Architectural History focusing on use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and copyleft licensing for the content.
- Consulted Iranian national body, The Institute of Standards & Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), on Iran's vote on ISO proposal DIS-29500 (Microsoft OOXML).
- Technical writing for GCompris for Sharif Linux (School Edition).
Assistant to CTO (Tehran, Iran)
Kyansoft Co., 2007
- Integrated the bug tracking system with customer-facing issue tracking platform.
- Communicated the client issues and requests to the development team.
- Participated and presented the software to the potential clients in demo sessions.
- Performed A/B testing with selected clients.
- Participated in on-site installation of the software system.
QA/QC Staff (Tehran, Iran)
Kyansoft Co., 2006 – 2007
- Implemented and maintained the bug tracking system to replace spreadsheet documents which were previously used for this purpose. Ad-hoc reports for the system contributed to a substantial reduction in cost per defect.
- Developed automated test suites for load and functional testing of the software using TestComplete native scripting and available SDK.
- Performed black/grey box testing of the software.
- Training the QA/QC team for using the bug tracking system.
Sheikh Bahaee University (Esfahan, Iran)
B.Sc. in Computer Engineering (Software), 2006.
Linz University of Art and Industrial Design (Linz, Austria)
M.A. in Interface Culture, 2009 – 2011 [unfinished].
Skills & Expertise
- SDL Idiom WorldServer/Desktop Workbench;
- Trados Studio 2009/2011 and Multiterm;
- Okapi Framework;
- Proprietary and FOSS Statistical Machine Translation systems;
- Python: My programming language of choice for almost any task.
- Perl: Old time favorite. Unprecedented power for string processing. The language of code poets.
- Php: Most of my web development has been database-driven with PHP. Additionally I have also developed for Wordpress (themes and plugins API) and Mediawiki.
- Sql: I have used SQL on various RDBMS environments (e.g. Oracle 10g, SQL Server, MySQL). It was my favorite language in school and for a while I was thinking it is the Holy Grail of programming languages to model everything in the world.
- Java: I use Java where Python falls short; e.g. the best way to work with ICU is ICU4J.
- Mac OS X
- Version tracking: SVN, Git, Mercurial.
- Bug tracking: Atlassian Jira, Bugzilla, IBM Rational ClearQuest.
- Documentation: Mediawiki, LaTeX, Doxygen.
- CMS: Wordpress, Drupal.
Roland Haring, Hideaki Ogawa, Christopher Lindinger, Horst Hörtner, Shervin Afshar, and David Stolarsky. 2010. The city at hand: media installations as urban information systems. In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries (NordiCHI '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 667-670.
Shervin Afshar, Computer Internetworks Management; Tools, Methods and New Approaches, B.Sc. final thesis, under the supervision of professor Ahmad Baraani Dastjerdi, 2004 – 2006.
Member of Unicode Technical Committee (since 2012), CLDR Technical Committee, and Unicode Emoji Sub-committee.
Afshar, Shervin, and Pournader, Roozbeh. Proposal to Encode Arabic Letter Teh with Small Teh Above for Bravanese (http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14293r-bravanese-small-teh-above.pdf), 30 October 2014.
Afshar, Shervin, and Pournader, Roozbeh. Six New Symbols from Chinese Folk Religion (http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14278r2-folk-symbols.pdf), 30 October 2014.
Afshar, Shervin, and Pournader, Roozbeh. Emoji and Symbol Additions - Religious Symbols and Structures (http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2014/14235r3-relig-sym.pdf), 28 October 2014.
Wikipedia: Administrator (2005 – 2007), and the first elected bureaucrat (2006 – 2007) on Persian Wikipedia.
Free Software: Contributed to Persian localization and technical manuals for FOSS applications such as Audacity, Songbird, VLC, and Gimp.
Honors & Awards
- Stadt der Kulturen 2010 award (category "social and cultural integration of immigrants") from City of Linz for the interactive installation project "The Evidence of Things Not Said" with David Brunnthaler and Henning Schulze.
- Persian: Native language.
- English: Full proficiency. Able to speak, write, read, and translate fluently. Scored 107/120 in TOEFL iBT, June 2012.
- German: Intermediate proficiency. Passed 400 hours of language education in Duetsches Sprachinstitute in Teheran, Goethe Institute in Tehran, 2007 – 2008. Scored 101 in TestAS ("Test für Ausländische Studierende").
- Arabic: Basic proficiency.