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Report: The State of Digital Security Localization in Southeast Asia

Human and digital rights defenders, in their reliance on digital technologies to do their work, are increasingly exposed to digital security risks and threats. But while they are often the first line of defence against digital surveillance, online censorship, and other forms of cyberattacks, they are sometimes left with no choice but to use less secure tools, in part because these are the only tools available that are adapted and localized for their specific contexts.

EngageMedia, in partnership with localization and community consultant Erin McConnell, has produced the report titled “The State of Digital Security Localization in Southeast Asia: A Snapshot”. This scoping review looks at the ecosystem that supports the localization of digital security tools and guides into five major Southeast Asian languages: Burmese (မြန်မာဘာသာ), Filipino, Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ), and Thai (ไทย). The September 2022 report also assesses whether, and to what extent, these resources are localized and kept up to date.

The report found that while localization in Southeast Asia has generally improved in recent years, significant challenges remain. These include narrowing the translation-to-review gap for the localization of digital security tools, localizing more digital security guides, and ensuring quality of translations for all resources.

Report: The State of Digital Security Localization in Southeast Asia

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This report is part of EngageMedia’s broader Localization project that aims to enhance the capacity of civil society organisations and community groups to identify and manage digital security through resources tailored to cultural and linguistic contexts.

The contents of this report are meant to inform the next activities of the Localization project, from the upcoming sprints to the technologies that localizers in the region should focus on translating and adapting to their national contexts.