Tag: I18n

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“Hello. Is it .ME You’re Looking For?” L10n Storytelling for Coders

Personalization and Design

Using plain language and reflecting the user’s world are long-established tenets of software user experience (UX). These days we might talk more about context and storytelling as part of our UX communications strategy than usability heuristics, but the message is the same: talk to your users in way that relates to them.

So, I really love this article by Paul Tomkiel (@paul_tomkiel) of CodeL10n.comFirst, Middle, Last – Why Not Full Name?

hellomynameisPaul writes a very compelling article about how to architecture software for the entering and storing of user names in a way that work globally. He’s aimed this important piece at developers using clear, plain language that they’ll understand. Chances are they will read it.

Naturally, Paul begins with a story we can relate to. In my own experience, I’ve found that my Irish surname (Ó Broin) has been stored and printed in many ways (O Broin, O’Broin, Obroin, OBROIN, Broin, and so on), even in Ireland. Outside of Ireland, I think that only the Social Security Administration in the U.S. got it right – and those guys track you by number anyway). At times, I feel like giving up and just using the English form of my surname: Byrne. But then, why should I?

Paul steers clear of the linguistic mumbo-jumbo and language expert jargon that is such a turn-off for developers (and the rest of us). And, the article is refreshingly short. Paul ends with some useful recommendations and examples from the real world of consumer software.

A fine example of developer relations.

Here’s another great plain language, no-nonsense approach to the subject of i18n and L10n education for developers from domain whizz John O’Conner (@joconner): the absolute minimum they need to know.

Live and learn people. Tell that i18n and L10n story well.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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Minimum Viable Product: Globalization

Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

Yes, been waiting to get a Silicon Valley-style allusion to MVP (Minimum Viable Product) into a blog post for ages. And now, thanks to Java and Android guru and i18n veteran John O’Conner (@joconner), here it is:

The Absolute Minimum You Need to Know About Internationalization

A simple, straightforward and understandable list of the key things that developers, designers and product folks need to know to make a product ready for successful global launch. What a contrast to those hectoring tl;dr i18n tomes we’ve had to deal with at times (and we wonder why nobody heeds the advice?)

We’ve come a long way since this example of major #i18nfail I encountered in 1996 (a real case with content changed to protect the starry-eyed innocents of the day):

I18n challenge 1996-style. A real-world example.

I18n challenge 1996-style. A real-world example. Example from the AGIS 2009 Conference Internationalization and Translatability for Beginners workshop.

But not far enough.

Let’s see more posts like John’s to remind us about what’s important and to make it less scary for emerging technologies and startups to understand and integrate internationalization requirements into their processes.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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Localization: Culture and Context Cuts Both Ways

Language in the News, Localization Culture, Translation Technology

We often make the mistake of assuming that all source material intended for localization for a target country or region is in English and that conventions from the source locale content can be easily accommodated in localized versions.

But, here’s an example from Nintendo to show the kind of problems that can arise when localizing for another country, in this case for the US market localization of Tomodachi Life.

Nintendo came under fire from fans and gay rights organizations this past week after refusing to add same-sex relationship options to the game "Tomodachi Life." (Source:  CNET)

Nintendo came under fire from fans and gay rights organizations this past week after refusing to add same-sex relationship options to the game “Tomodachi Life.” (Source: CNET)

We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life,” Nintendo said in a statement released Friday. “Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch.”(Source: AP via NPR)

What internationalization (i18n) teams need to watch out for to enable localization for global markets increases all the time.

The message is assume nothing, which is what i18n and its neutral code approach is all about. Investing time in knowing your market’s cultural, social, and political dimension pays off when developing an architecture that easily accommodates adaptations and changes for target markets.

Reverse engineering is expensive sure, but a loss of revenue from an inability to deliver a localization suitable for the target market and being on the receiving end of negative customer feedback is worse in the long run.

 

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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How to Use the HTML5 Translate Attribute: A Translatability Best Practice

Personalization and Design, Translation Technology

HTML5 introduces a translate attribute that allows fine-grained control over what content should be translated, or not. Richard Ishida of the W3C has all the details of the attribute and its applicability, as well as some interesting insights into how Bing Translator and Google Translate deal with the translatability of content issue.

Here’s an example of the translate attribute’s use, taken from Richard’s blog (the HTML5 spec’s global attributes section has another other nice example, see the Bee Game.):

<p>Click the Resume button on the Status Display or the
<span translate="no">CONTINUE</span> button
on the printer panel.</p>

See how the word CONTINUE is made non-translatable using the translate attribute’s value set to “no”? Blimey! However, there are times when CONTINUE might need to be translated. So, flip that puppy to “yes”.

This HTML5 attribute is a very welcome addition to the content creation and translation tools world, sure.  But, it is very welcome for other reasons too.

This is a time of new interactions and emerging platforms that challenge the established desktop and website norms of what should be translated or not. Mobile, augmented reality, gamification, and other trends, all challenge established norms of content rules. So too, is it a time when companies redefine themselves, cross over, and promote their own design guidance as a differentiator in the market. Oracle, for example, likes to say “Software, Hardware. Complete” so content needs to cross-reference many deliverables. SAP, as another example, recently launched an app in the consumer space (available in German and English) that may require a different style of content and translation from the enterprise applications space. Android has released user experience (UX)  guidance of its own, and so on.

I previously raised such translatability issues in my Don’t Translate: Won’t Translate blog post.  I chipped into the [Bug 12417] discussion about the attribute’s development, too.

Using content to convey a translation instruction, by making a piece of text all uppercase for example, is not a best practice. It is a UX failure, makes personalization and customization difficult, and assumes the consumer of the content is a second-class stakeholder. Frankly, it is also very dangerous. Can you imagine if software developers used text that way in their code, rather than relying on the program logic?

As for the time-honored method of writing a translation note, or description, telling a translator that some content should not be translated, or should be, well such approaches just ain’t reliable or scalable, are they?

Now, there is a clear best practice to follow (and adapt for other formats). The HTML5 translate attribute educates content developers that the best practice for indicating whether content should be translated or not is through the use of markup (or metadata), and not through how the content is written. Translation tools should update to the HTML5 spec requirements and process this attribute asap.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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