2011-11-01

user changes can help with localization

10.23: adde/gui/user changes help with localization:

. there should be a wrench icon
by every command
that leads to this message:
"(if you figured out what this does,
and you can think of a better word in your language,
please do tell by emailing here ...)
even better,
the gui should be editable so that when you figure something
you can give it your own words or icons .
. the program keeps a config file of this,
and every time they change it,
you can remind them that when they
feel satisfied with their gui
they can share it with others
(at this email ...).
. make sure they confirm that their understood language
is in fact what they think they're targeting;
and allow comments that include dialects or locations
that they think it's special to ?

-- source of that idea's inspiration:
news: Software Localization Paradox:
Like any other translation,
software localization is best done by people who know well
both the original language in which
the software interface was written – usually English,
and the target language.
People who don’t know English strongly
prefer to use software in a language they know.
If the software is not available in their language,
they will either not use it at all
or will have to memorize lots of
otherwise meaningless English strings
and locations of buttons.
People who do know English often prefer to
use software in English
even if it is available in their native language.
The two most frequent explanations for that is
that the translation is bad
and that people who want to use computers
should learn English anyway.
The problem is that for various reasons
lots of people will never learn English
even if it would be mandatory in schools
and useful for business.
They will have to suffer the bad translations
and will have no way to fix it.
So this is the paradox
– to fix localization bugs,
someone must notice them,
and to notice them, more people who know English
must use localized software,
but people who know English
rarely use localized software.
That’s why lately i’ve been evangelizing about it.
Even people who know English well
should use software in their language
– not to boost their national pride,
but to help the people who
speak that language and don’t know English.
They should use the software especially if it’s translated badly,
because they are the only ones who can
report bugs in the translation
or fix the bugs themselves.
(A side note: Needless to say,
Free Software
is much more convenient for localization,
because proprietary software companies are usually
too hard to even approach about this matter;
they only pay translators if they have a reason to believe
that it will increase sales.
This is another often overlooked advantage
of Free Software.)
I am glad to say that i convinced most people to whom i spoke
about it at Wikimania
to at least try to use Firefox in their native language
and taught them where to report bugs about it.
I also challenged them to write at least
one article in the Wikipedia
in their own language,
such as Hindi, Telugu or Kannada
– as useful as the English Wikipedia is
to the world,
Telugu Wikipedia is much more useful
for people who speak Telugu, but no English.
I already saw some results.
I am now looking for ideas and verifiable data
to develop this concept further.
What are the best strategies to convince people
that they should use localized software?
For example:
How economically viable is software localization?
What is cheaper for an education department of a country
– to translate software for schools
or to teach all the students English?
Or: How does the absence of localized software
affect different geographical areas
in Africa, India, the Middle East?

Translatewiki.net
. a localisation platform for translation communities,
language communities, and free and open source projects.
-- found by gui translator who refered to
 wikimedia's localizion paradox .
from an Interview with Wikimedia’s Amir Aharoni .