Re: Internationalization--the next generation

From: Chris Lilley (
Date: Thu May 27 1999 - 10:52:44 EDT

Suzanne Topping wrote:

> Some of the tougher issues are metaphors like using a desktop rather than
> drawers and folders, or the way certain cultures move their eye across a
> screen. Westerners tend to look at a screen the same way we read a page; top
> to bottom, left to right. Other cultures obviously read differently, and
> therefore look at a screen differently. Should dialog items therefore be
> moved around so that they are more logically located when localizing to a
> right-to-left reading culture?

Yes, of course. Like the Alis Tango browser, which when you switch its
user interface from French to Arabic not only presents the menu titles
and items in Arabic, but puts the File menu in the top right of the
toolbar rather than the top left, and changes the URL pointed to from
Quoi de Neuf (What's New) to point to an Arabic rather than French site.

If you haven't seen that browser, you should.

> It's a tricky business. None of our internationalization or localization
> processes are set up to deal with these issues. (Let alone are our American
> corporations willing to pay for the changes!)

Some are. Richard Ishida from Xerox gives excellent talks about these
sorts of issues, and Xerox is a (largely American) corporation.


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