Nick Harris


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Supporting multiple languages in an app is hard. One of the hardest things is finding spot on translations.

Jay Graves tweet today, and my response, got me thinking about words that when translated seem benign but are completely different.

NewsGator Inbox, at one point of its life, supported a handful on languages. NewsGator outsourced the translation. We gave them our English string files and they gave us back translated versions. We would test them for UI layout but nothing else.

The nomenclature of RSS at the time was to refer to blog enteries as “posts”. When our partner got one of our translated builds they were not happy to see all blog enteries referred to as “fence posts” – the translation of the word our service used in all of our apps strings.

When writing my book I also noticed this. Wiley had multiple levels of copy editing and I realized as they went on that the purpose was to have copy that was easy to translate. It was a fascinating process.

I guess the moral of the story is that if you invest in translation, pay for a company that will know dialect and apply it wisely. Having a plan to verify the translations independently sounds like a good idea too.

Written by Nick Harris

January 20, 2015 at 6:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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