Localized names of character ranges

From: Lukas Pietsch (lukas.pietsch@pluto.uni-freiburg.de)
Date: Sun Dec 01 2002 - 06:44:05 EST

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    I just wondered if anybody at Microsoft has noticed that the names of
    the Unicode ranges used in German localized editions of MS Office are
    woefully inadequately translated. It's been an long-standing cause of
    irritation when working with Word97, and if I remember correctly it
    hasn't been corrected so far, at least not in Word2000. I'm referring to
    the names as they are used in the Insert-Symbol dialog.

    Some of these mistranslations are really far off. To the average user,
    they will just make no sense at all, but for people on this list they
    may actually be quite funny. So, just for your enjoyment, here goes:

    "Spacing modifier letters" has been translated as if it meant "letters
    that modify the spacing" ("Buchstaben zur Abstanddefinition"). The
    average user would probably expect to find things like em-space and
    en-space in that range? Or has somebody succeeded in getting control
    characters added to Unicode that encode some kind of kerning
    information? W.O., perhaps? ;-)

    In a similar vein, "Alphabetic presentation forms" have come out as
    "characters for alphabetic display". ("Zeichen zur alphabetischen
    Darstellung".) Same goes for the Arabic presentation forms.

    Less severely, "combining diacritical marks" have been mistaken for
    "combined diacritical marks" ("kombinierte diakritische Kennzeichen").
    What would you expect in such a range, things like Greek Dialytika
    Tonos, or even precomposed letter combinations?

    The same confusion about "combining/combined" goes for the combining
    characters in the U+20Dx "Combining Marks for Symbols" range
    ("kombinierte diakritische Sonderzeichen"). Also, the "for Symbols" part
    has not been rendered at all, and the difference between "Sonderzeichen"
    and "Kennzeichen" will probably not mean anything to the average user.

    Finally, "Georgian" has been translated as "Georgianisch" (perhaps by
    analogy with "Gregorianisch"?) instead of correct "Georgisch".

    Is there anybody here who could bring this to the attention of the
    localization people at MS, if appropriate? I'd really hate having to use
    "Buchstaben zur Abstanddefinition" for the next 20 years...

    Just to be constructive, here's my suggestions for a better translation:

    "Spacing modifier letters" = "Nichtkombinierende Diakritika" (I know
    it's not very precise, but I couldn't come up with anything better)
    "Combining diacritical marks" = "Kombinierende Diakritika"
    "Combining marks for symbols" = "Kombinierende Symbolzusätze"
    "Alphabetic presentation forms" = "Alphabetische Präsentationsformen"
    "Arabic presentation forms" = "Arabische Präsentationsformen"
    "Georgian" = "Georgisch"


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