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On Tuesday 23 November 2004 10:04 am, Asko Kauppi wrote:
> The question with them, again, is where to draw the line.
>
> Generally, me thinks, Win95 did a fairly useful localization (to
> Finnish) but.. instead of just calling the user-visible thingy
> 'Työpöytä' (desktop) they _also_ made the directory name (which, imho,
> is never even visible to the user) do the same.  With umlauts, well,
> you can imagine the hell.. ;)

I think some translations are good and some are just stupid.  I think 
documentation should always be translated, and screen messages too.  maybe 
even (most) menu commands; but never keyboard shortcuts.  why the spanish 
version of internet explorer uses 'Alt-U' for "new window" ??? it doesn't 
make any sense; "nuevo" starts with the same letter as "new".  of course, 
when i use a translated software in windows, i have to use menu commands, it 
would be foolish to try to memorize the shortcuts.  people who learn first on 
the translated version are totally unable to use the english version.

even worse is translating internal strings, never seen by the user.  what's 
the rationale there?  nothing, just that some companies hire translators that 
have no idea of programming, they just do a big search/replace on the strings 
table

> There's a similar thing in Apple OS X, where certain folders (s.a.
> Applications) do sometimes show up with their local names. Here,
> however, the underlying Unix filename is always in English.

Apple has a nice separation between the user interface and the internal 
strings.  even system folders that are identified by name can be safely 
translated, because there's an API to let the apps to find them by codes.  
For example, (in classic mac os), to get the 'preferences' folder, you call a 
function (named FindSysFolder or something like this) with a selector code of 
'pref'.  the system gives you the right folder, no matter if it's a 
translated system.  In OS X, it's even more pervasive, with a full 
translation API, that lets every application register several sets of 
strings, and the user can change languages on the fly, without restarting.  
it's great when you share a machine with different people.  (even if you 
don't use different user accounts)

but the worst of all translations (for me, at least) is translating the 
programming language.  remember, even if its based on english, it's not real 
english.  when you use 'function' in Lua, you don't have to learn all the 
real meanings and uses of that word in english.  you just learn to use that 
word in lua.  even if you don't know a single word in english, it's just a 
very small datum extra to learn.

of course, i think that anyone interested in programming should learn a bit of 
english, or else he won't be able to participate in any forum..., just like 
anyone interested in filosophy has to learn french an german, (and maybe 
greek)


-- 
Javier

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