External localization?

Subject: External localization?
From: Emily Berk <emily -at- armadillosoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 08:13:57 -0800


My suggestion is that in addition to looking at the printout of the string file, you also look at the strings in context by running through a copy of the application in at least ONE of the languages.

I try to do this while sitting with a programmer, because sometimes a single string is re-used in several places (and, sometimes, you need to encourage the programmer to NOT re-use the string in certain places and explain why. If it's early enough in the development process, it is usually not difficult for the programmer to ADD strings, although that DOES necessitate re-compilation.)

If you can get a chance to see the strings as the end user will see them, you are more likely to understand how the strings should read in their original language as well as in translation. In fact, for strings that are used in complicated ways, you might want to print screen shots in addition to the external string file.

And, by the way, making changes to these string files is not very difficult and there are probably situations where the tech writer could do this just as easily as the programmer.


On Fri, 19 Mar 2004 15:58:09 -0500, Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca> wrote:

>Guy Haas wondered: <<Has anyone here encountered a scheme in which the
>constant strings, particularly the diagnostic messages, of a software
>product are separated from the software itself?>>
>Not exactly what you wanted, but: The programmers at my former employer
>and current client create all the text strings in external .pas files
>(they're using Delphi), which are basically text format and thus easily
>editable. They send me the files, and I print a copy* so I can compare
>the English against the French to make sure they both say the same
>thing. ...
>Works like a charm, with one exception: the text strings are entirely
>"out of context" (i.e., it's not always clear what part of the
>interface they refer to). But that's why Microsoft made the comment
>function in Word. ("If this is in the X dialog box, this should be X
>instead of Y. Y is correct if this refers to the Y dialog.")
>--Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
>(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)

Emily Berk


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