Re: Cost of Translating Screen Shots

Subject: Re: Cost of Translating Screen Shots
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 08:56:56 -0700

John P. replies:

> Maybe I'm missing something, but the screen shots are what the user
> would see on the software screen.
> Either the screens in the software have been translated and you can take
> a screen shot of the translated screen or you should leave the screens
> in the language that they will be seen in the software. No?
The process it takes to create a screen capture is the same in one language
as in another, as far as I know. The cost may vary depending on where the
task is being done (that is, if the localization engineering department does
it or the desktop publishing group does it). The real issue with screen
captures is the dependency created by having them in the project to begin
with. This is especially true in help systems when you can compare the cost
and schedule impact to the value added. The help can be translated at the
same time as the software, but the screen captures have to wait until after
the software has been localized. This dependency can create problems in
scheduling, especially with the validation step. Add shed graphics to this
mix, and now you have to resize the hot spots for all captions. If the
screen captures are going into hard-copy or online documentation, you then
have to validate help, docs, and software together. If inconsistencies are
found, it takes more time to resolve them. Screen captures create a lot of
logistical concerns and complications.

In 32-bit help systems, where developers can incorporate What's This? style
help and tool tips, screen captures and shed graphics just add another step
in the localization process. Since the help is typically used in context, I
just don't see much value in using screen captures. I typically avoid them,
unless I can capture controls that don't have captions. (Of course, this
practice doesn't lessen work either if the icons are specific to a
culture--for example, the mailbox icon.)

Bill Burns - Eccentric Technology Consultant
ILE Communications Group
billdb -at- ile -dot- com
Call me fishmeal.

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