Saturday, May 09, 2009

Localisation "Arrrrgh"

Julie from Traduxis warns about the pitfalls of localising your code. Here are her ten tips:

1. Try to team up with a translator as soon as possible.

2. Identify all data that will require localization.

3. Punctuation/spacing: Punctuation and spacing rules differ according to language and region.

4. Avoid Compound messages/string concatenation.

5. Use UTF-16 in coding.

6. Make sure your string comparison methods use the right algorithm for sorting Unicode values.

7. Thinking of machine translation? Think again! To avoid mistranslations, have the help files ready for the translator, screenshots, technical notes or any other documents that will provide context.

8. Make up your mind about terminology and stick to it. These error messages all mean the same thing, but will raise your localization cost needlessly.

9. Once your application is up and running in many languages, keep track of changes you make to your next version, so that only those changes will be translated.

10. Present your customers with a well translated web site.

There is also an interesting posting on "pseudo-translation" - the pre-translation of strings into a fake but legible idiom that mimics a variety of languages. This should expose the following:

1. It will detect problems with encoding across all languages.

2. It will detect problems with string length/height.

3. It will detect hard coded strings.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at

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