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Subject:Re: US vs. UK English From:Bob Gembey <bob -at- SUPERNOVA -dot- NL> Date:Mon, 10 May 1999 13:24:43 +0200
Boy, if all those English get sore because we don't localize American
English into British variants, how about all those in non-English speaking
countries who have to suffer because the product they want to use is only
available in English, to begin with.
In an ideal world (and with the financial resources of Microsoft, or even
of Apple, who make British and American versions of their desktop --
"trash" becomes "dustbin"), it would be possible to provide products not
only localized to a specific country, but maybe even to dialects or
minority languages within that country? Can you get Windows 95 in Welsh,
Gaelic, Catalan, or Frisian? I know that there's an Arabic version of
Windows, but is it the Arabic spoken in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, or
Algeria or Morocco? How about the Byelorussian, Ukranian, versions, or is
there only a Russian one? And then there's Georgian and Armenian, and who
knows what else?
So, before we start looking for the Mancunian or Scouse version of
software, or for that matter, the (US) Georgian, Brooklyn or Boston
editions, let's sit back and be realistic.
It's not a question of laziness, but of cost -- translating a manual into
another language is costly enough -- usually modifying the software is even
a greater expense. So, most companies will choose for what they consider
the most economical and financially responsible. Now, if, in spite of the
fact, that most non-native English speakers learn British English, most
software is produced in American English (or, more correctly, either
created in America or intended to succeed on the American market), then,
although ISO has not put its seal on it, it's a de facto standard. For
better or for worse, if it looks like it, smells like it, feels like it and
tastes like it, it probably is it, whether we like it or not.
I'll consider making a British English version of my product, after I've
been able to afford German, French or Spanish localizations. I think that
they may have a harder time understanding my product than the English do.
Then again, I could be wrong on that ... ;-)