Target Audience: Manager, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Marketer, Other: Web site designer

Level of Session: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

This tutorial is being repeated due to its popularity at the last two conferences in San Jose and Boston. It tackles an 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 all kinds of on-screen text, eg. web pages, java, JavaScript, 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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8 Jun 1999, Webmaster