We have already had tutorials at the conference which explain that if you are developing products or web pages which will be localised you need to internationalise your code, architecture and html, and consider the implications of cultural bias.

This new tutorial tackles another absolutely fundamental (but often neglected) aspect of designing international products - translatability issues. Most developers are surprised at both the nature of the pitfalls here, and the severity of the quality, cost and schedule problems their previous ignorance causes for localisation. These concepts apply to creation of web pages, java applets, on-line help, software UIs, etc.

The tutorial will start by introducing some key linguistic differences between English (or Japanese) and most other languages. These differences account for many of the problems you will encounter. Because the translation vendor or group is also your customer, there follows a brief overview of the computer-assisted translation process. This has a bearing on how you package the data for delivery to the translation group.

The main body of the tutorial will put you in the localiser's shoes. You will perform pseudo-translations of four files (with help from the speaker!) into a number of languages, and then review your work on pictures of the rebuilt user interface. This will not only help you to better understand the needs of the translator, but will force you to think about how you should deal with issues such as managing screen space and layout, fragmentation and re-use of text, use of variables, good source text creation, short-cut keys, text extraction and ordering, the importance of context, etc..

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23 January 1999, Webmaster