RE: Combining Marks and Keyboard Input on GUI systems (was: Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters)

From: Paul Dempsey (Exchange) (
Date: Tue Oct 05 1999 - 19:38:56 EDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adrian Havill []
> Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 1999 10:04 AM
> To: Unicode List
> Subject: Re: Combining Marks and Keyboard Input on GUI
> systems (was: Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters)
> Aren't you not supposed to localize/internationalize the
> hot-keys? If you did, you would break keyboard macro
> short-cut programs (they would have to have a localized
> version of the macro file for each language).

In Microsoft Visual Studio (the product I work on), The menu access
keys are preserved when localising the interface into a non-Latin
script (e.g. Japanese, Chinese). However, they are often changed when
translating the menus into a Latin-based script. For example, the
&File menu ('&' precedes the access key) is &Datei in German. We leave
it to the localizers to make the most appropriate choice for that
language market.

> As a person that's done support for international (or,
> "internationally lost") users-- i.e. English speakers that
> can't read Japanese and are using a Japanese app or vice
> versa, this is also a blessing as you can guide someone over
> the phone on how to set their software via the hotkeys (even if
> they can't read the setting screen).

This is a fortunate consequence of preserving the English access
keys, at least for the solely-English-speaking developer
or support person. If this weren't so, I personally would have a
much harder time fixing those problems that occur only on
East Asian systems.

> I believe there's some other issues (accessibility? for those
> that need to use the hot-keys, you don't want to complicate
> the input (e.g. the use of dead keys or an IME)), which is
> why hotkeys are not I18Nized/L10Nized.

Yes, it's a matter of accessibility for ALL users, not just the
disabled. If keyboard input is too complicated, it becomes too
difficult to learn, remember, and repeat with enough accuracy
to generate the desired command. As a practical matter, the only
keys that most people learn and use are very simple two-key

For some of our applications, the accelerators _are_ localized
in some special cases. This is done only when the key assigned
for the English product is impossible or difficult to generate
in the keyboard layout of the localized language, or the key is
reserved for other purposes. For example, Ctrl+Space brings up
the IME in Chinese windows, so this key can't be used for a
command in the Chinese version of the product.

--- Paul Chase Dempsey
Microsoft Visual Studio Text Editor Development

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