Burckhardt Rueffer

Burckhardt grew up in Germany and the US. He holds degrees in Computer Science, Graphic and Industrial Design, as well as Social Sciences.



Throughout his professional career he has always been interested in communication across boundaries. Starting with "Visual Communication" in the 70s, his goal was to make information and content available to recipients regardless of the language they spoke or the place where they lived.

While studying at the School of Art and Design in Kassel, Germany, he was influenced by teachers from the Bauhaus tradition, such as Arnold Bode and Jupp Ernst. Their teachings emphasized the link between an image and its meaning and became pillars of modern pictograms and - much later - the user interface icons that we have come to accept as a standard means of communication.

Triggered by his interest in these pictograms and symbols, their sometimes universal and at other times very specific use, he also studied oriental rugs and the stories behind them, traveling to many exotic places, learning about the fascinating historical backgrounds that often lie hidden behind such master pieces. Here he experienced that every picture tells a story and that helping others understand such stories is a task worth working for.

Burckhardt's first encounters with computers happened at a time when "personal computing" was still a dream. Learning RPG-II on an IBM System/32 was a task that was fascinating, challenging and rewarding. When the first "Personal Computer" was released, he was prepared ... to start learning all over again. And while PCs became the replacement for "smart" typewriters in many offices, it became apparent that they would soon be used for personal tasks as well. The need for computers that "understood" languages other than English was born, and with it came the need for localization.

In the late 80s, he became the co-founder of one the industry's first localization companies. His background and experience with visual and non-verbal communication was essential in understanding the challenges of communication across cultural boundaries. For many years now he has helped clients like Microsoft, Intel, Mitsubishi and others make their products available to world-wide audiences, using the languages and images of these markets.

Burckhardt's passion for international communication is one of the driving forces behind BeatBabel. As co-founder and CEO of BeatBabel, he will be happy to speak with anyone about the opportunities of starting your own company and the challenges of localization and he can share a few anecdotes of localization projects and their unexpected outcomes. Just ask him, and he might tell you a story...

Specialties: Patience

Nickname:  "B", because I've seen too many variations already.
Chinese Zodiac: Earth ox. (Did not know that about myself, but someone found out)
Favorite Hangout: keeps changing, but needs to be cozy.
Can’t live without: the ability to go places and meet people
Currently reading: The Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov (again...)
Last concert seen: Stephen Stills, Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well
Favorite things to do on the weekends: Read
If you could have another career, what would it be: Archeologist