RE: Translation of on-screen menus

Subject: RE: Translation of on-screen menus
From: "Cassandra Greer" <cassandra -at- greer -dot- de>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 23:18:29 +0200

> I'm writing a user manual for a patient monitor with a sorta kinda
> Windows-like GUI. That is, there is a menu bar with drop-down menus.
> Some of the menu selections open dialogs. In other words, the visual
> metaphors are friendly and familiar, even if there aren't actual windows
> you can close.
> In the initial draft I included screen shots of the menus and dialogs in
> the course of writing task-based procedures.
> The client, in reviewing the draft, is concerned that the cost of
> translation into something like ten target languages will be greatly
> increased because of the need to generate substitute screen shots and
> has suggested, as an alternative, that we mock up the menus and dialogs
> using text tables (the deliverable is in Word). The result would be
> logically equivalent to screen shots of the actual menus, but it would
> not be graphically identical.
> What does the gathered usability jury say? Would this be a reasonable
> compromise or would users find it confusing? One risk I foresee--and
> that I'll mention in my response--is that the menus and dialogs as
> translated by the translation agency might not be identical to the menus
> and dialogs as translated ahead of time by the company for their
> on-screen display.
> Thoughts? Any been-there-done-that stories, positive or negative?

You mean text boxes? Sounds messy and more of a PTIA than just inserting the
strings, recompiling for each language and taking the applicable screenshots
in the end. I as a translator HATE working with text boxes because I alway
have space issues and they are not easy to work with with many CAT tools.

Anyway if the company decides on what they want the translations to be,
these translations can be sent to the translation company and the
translators would use them and it would all be consistent. Though does the
company have the in-house resources to do a good job for all the target
languages? At any rate, the translation company needs to know how many
characters are allowed for each command/option/whatever if that is going to
be an issue.

NB: Skimping on translation in the beginning is pretty much _always_ a
recipe for disappointment and higher costs in the end.


Cass :)


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Translation of on-screen menus: From: Dick Margulis

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