FW: Translating documentation/insertion of screen shots?

Subject: FW: Translating documentation/insertion of screen shots?
From: "Don Kobes" <dkobes -at- home -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 20:22:46 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Hobrough [mailto:ted -at- thelanguagebureau -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 7:50 PM
To: Don Kobes
Subject: Re: Translating documentation/insertion of screen shots?


Labels referring to a list of words is an excellent idea. In fact, it seems
to me to be the only thing that makes sense. The list of words refereed to
could be in any language at all. However, just comparing one list with the
other, item by item, will miss all contextual matters and will result in
the occasional clanger getting through.

The idea that the translated documents can be checked by someone not
intimately familiar with the target language is too ludicrous for printable
words. If the checker is going to have an incomplete knowledge of either
language, it had better be the source, never the target.

Spanish need not expand quite as much as French but it is generally 10 to
15% more letters than English to accomplish a given paragraph. Individual
words can usually be dealt with. Furthermore, Spanish-speakers are typically
more tolerant of small mangle-ations of their language than are the French.

Neither translation nor the proofing of translation is a cheap process.
There is a reason why international conventions vest copyright with the
translator, not the source language author.

Ted Hobrough
Managing Partner
The Language Bureau
Translators and Interpreters
Vancouver Canada

----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Kobes" <dkobes -at- home -dot- com>
To: "Ted Hobrough" <ted -at- thelanguagebureau -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, 03 May, 2001 7:00 AM
Subject: FW: Translating documentation/insertion of screen shots?

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-68257 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-68257 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Hart, Geoff
> Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 9:05 AM
> Subject: Translating documentation/insertion of screen shots?
> Laurah Limbrick is working on her first project that involves translation:
> <<Our current doc set is several thousand pages, with commensurate screen
> shots. The plan for doc translation is that we (the documentation team)
> be provided with the translated GUI, and, using our current user docs as a
> guide, will replace all screen shots in the English doc with the
> shots by stepping through the foreign language GUI.>>
> Your localisation vendor should already have done this for you as part of
> their formal quality control process, but if you haven't worked with them
> before, you should consider hiring a local person who's skilled in the
> language to do a reality test. You may find out that the localizers did
> excellent work, and that you can trust them fully in the future, or you
> find out that you need to insert a penalty clause (cost per error) in
> contracts and hire someone in your area to check everything locally. You
> could have that local person check every single line of the translation,
> just do some random sampling to identify whether there's a general
> the latter is less expensive, but the former is more likely to spot errors
> that arise only occasionally. Both jobs would be easier if your
> vendor will provide a complete list of their equivalent terms (this may be
> unavailable for technical or commercial reasons) that would let you look
> the correct translations and let you compare the screenshots yourself.
> <<The language for this first go-round is Spanish, and so the assumption
> been made that "everything in the GUI will be in the exact same place", so
> that lack of knowledge of the target language should (theoretically) not
> a problem.>>
> That may be a reasonable assumption, but in French (another one of the
> "romance" languages), text expands by an average of 25% or more. If
> behaves similarly, you may discover that some fields or buttons have
> or that some text labels have been cut off, and in some cases, it may not
> obvious where things have moved or what's been cut off.
> <<Future customers may not be using Roman alphabets, which may be an issue
> in that "just count three items over on the menu bar, then count down two
> the drop-down menu" may not be an option, especially as it concerns data
> entry and keyboard mapping.>>
> My pet developers <g> program in Delphi, and use external "resource" files
> to store the labels for all fields and buttons or whatevers; in effect,
> anything in the interface that ends up with a text label is assigned an ID
> number, and the text that's assigned to that number exists in a separate
> file that's integrated with the software only when it's compiled. This
> it easy for me to edit the labels, since I can simply print these files
> place them side by side. All I have to do is check that the text matches
> each numbered ID. If you can adopt this or a similar approach yourself, it
> will greatly facilitate the task of checking the translations for
> consistency, and a match between languages. If the translations meet these
> criteria, you must still confirm that the resulting screens are usable
> (e.g., labels don't overlap or get cut off), but with modern visual design
> tools, doing so and correcting any problems is a piece of cake.
> <<How do you account for the lack of knowledge of the target language?>>
> In my case, I know both languages (English and French) well enough that I
> can do the quality control myself. If not, you need to hire someone with
> excellent skills in the language of the translation and good skills in the
> source language to do the work for you. There's no way around this.
> the translation vendor should have done this step, everyone makes
> and the number of mistakes are directly proportional to the number of
> (or screenshots) in the manual.
> <<We don't have the luxury of using a side-by-side computer approach (one
> English, one in Spanish).>>
> Which is why paper still works best for some things. Print out both sets
> manual pages, set them side by side on a table in a quiet room, and check
> them line vs. line.
> --Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
> geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
> "User's advocate" online monthly at
> www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/usersadvocate.html
> "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that
> English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words;
> on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
> unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."-- James D. Nicoll


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