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2008年4月25日

Ready for Localization?

Is your software or document ready for localization?
It usually is not that simple to localize anything. Giving you "Hello world" and ask you to localized it into several languages might already have some problems to be resolved first before localizing it.

People who speak English may not be aware of that the nouns have gender in several languages. People who wrote technical document in German might not be aware of that other people might not be able to know how to translate it properly due to it's too specific in a particular area.

Imagine if you receive this word "Entropy", how should you translate it properly if there is not enough context to be reference?
"Entropy" is a physic term and widely used in physics, thermodynamic, and some other fancy area such as image processing.
If you are familiar with PhotoShop, then you probably know the term "entropy" appeared there. Translator will need to look up many different areas' dictionaries and might also need to consult some professors in order to translate it properly.

Imagine I now send you "%s Power" and then ask you to translate it into French, the translated result may not be good due to I did not give you enough information. See below examples (translated results from Google Translate):
Maximum Power ==> La puissance d'attaque
Minimum Power ==> Moins d'énergie
Efficient Power ==> Puissance efficace

So, how can you translate it properly if I only give you "%s Power"? If I only give you that, that means it's not ready to be localized. Actually it's an I18N issue that the codes are trying to manipulate strings, which should not happen if you are going to localize it into several languages.

2008年4月18日

專業的配音品質

過去在作一些專案是必須要將原本英文的語音配錄各國翻譯後的語音,事前的講稿翻譯與審搞自然是必要的,翻譯完成之後的講稿轉給各個國家的錄音室進行錄音,錄音完成之後仍必須有審閱的動作,確保配音員有照著講稿念,以及腔調與一些特定用語的發音方式是正確的(例如「2007年」應該念成「貳零零七年」或是「兩千零七年」必須要統一)。

其中難免因為一些區域性差異或是偶有不慎某些詞語漏了,重新錄音便將會不可避免的。然而,整個語音有相當多的段落,在實際播放時這些段落是一個接著一個的,其中錯了某個部份,第二次錄音可能已經離第一次錄音相隔了好幾天,為了避免因不同時間進行錄製,有時必須要整個聲音稿全部重新錄製。

但過去合作的日本公司,我告知他們為了避免聲音的差異性,請他們整段重錄,該公司交回來的卻只有錯誤的那一個段落,而非整個重新錄製。然而,我前後重複聽了相當多次,卻怎麼也感覺不出來這是不同時間錄製的語音。

這是個很有趣的經驗,專業的配音應該要達到這樣的水準。

2008年4月16日

愚民政策

十多年前台灣還是個有黨禁、有報禁、電視台節目必須送審、廣播電台不能自由申請設立、連歌曲的歌詞都可能因為很荒謬的理由(例如太過背情)而禁止出版的年代。在那時候,從大眾媒體上看到什麼,大概就信以為真。

猶記小學時學校教育還教導過所謂對岸的人民生活在水深火熱的困境中,說很多窮苦的人因沒飯吃只能野外雜草樹枝亂吃一通,弄的肚子奇異的大之類的。若干年後兩岸交流較為開放後,才聽說原來對岸也曾經這樣教育過說在台灣的人民生活是多麼的困苦。

最近發生軍隊鎮壓西藏的事件,國際社會與媒體的看法普遍支持西藏獨立,斥責中國政府與軍隊暴力與冷血的打壓;但中國官方的說法卻是兩極的另一端,指稱西藏本是中國的一部份,不容切割之類,並說明中國軍隊均是盡量的和平處理,反而是西藏不法份子肆意作亂。

由於中國的媒體不是自由的,前些時候中國政府甚至禁止國外媒體進入西藏,所有消息均只有官方消息。這樣的結果是什麼?在連網際網路都可以管制的國家,於是,看到在對岸的朋友打出的口號是:「抵制法國連鎖超市家樂福」,理由竟是「該公司支持達賴喇嘛」。理由甚至包括「除了資助達賴,法國人還在巴黎火炬傳遞過程中同西藏分離勢力站在一起,因此決不能買法國東西,讓法國人賺錢」。不知道如果新聞自由後,當眾人知道真相之後,是否想法就跟著改觀?

言論自由受到嚴格的管控,這只能說是愚民政策吧。

2008年4月9日

UN for Taiwan

An old news from BBC:



Tuesday, 24 July 2007

UN rejects Taiwan membership bid

Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations for the first time under the name Taiwan, rather than the official title Republic of China, has been rejected.

A UN spokesman said the application had been rejected in line with a 1971 resolution, under which the UN switched recognition from Taiwan to China.

Taiwan, which has tried to join the UN more than 14 times, said it deeply regretted the world body's decision.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province of the mainland.

Though both have been governed separately since the civil war in 1949, China has vowed to use force if it ever moves towards independence.

The Chinese foreign ministry last week said Taiwan's UN bid was "doomed to failure".

Referendum plans

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian submitted a letter of application to the UN Secretary General last week, arguing that Taiwan, as the world's 18th largest economy and seventh largest investor, should not be excluded from the body.

Rejecting the application on Tuesday, the UN cited its adherence to the One China policy agreed under the 1971 resolution, which acknowledges Taiwan is a part of China.



Until 1971, the government in Taipei held the UN seat for China rather than Beijing.

Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman David Wang said the government regretted the UN move, saying it had been blocked "for political reasons".

"The 1971 resolution should be reviewed, as it fails to address the question of the right of representation and participation by the Taiwanese people," he said.

The decision to apply to the UN under the title Taiwan for the first time rather than the Republic of China reflects efforts by the independence-leaning President Chen to stress the island's distinctiveness from mainland China, the BBC's Caroline Gluck in Taipei says.

Despite the setback, the government still plans to push ahead with a referendum on joining the UN alongside presidential and legislation elections next year, despite concerns from Washington and Beijing, our correspondent adds.

2008年4月2日

Doing L10N Testing, Asking If It's I18N Ready?

Still, some vendors are not aware of the localization industry, or maybe some vendors' employees are not actually familiar with that, but doing the tasks.

I saw some project team members including the PM and the testers are not aware what they are testing. They thought they are doing software L10N testing, but are they? And are they sure the software is I18N ready?

If you are doing L10N testing, please ask yourself first, do you think the software is I18N ready? Are you really very sure what you are asked to perform the testing is part of L10N testing?

Are you spending too much time on checking the functionalities are working fine or not in localized version? And do you discover many functional defects which are reproducible in more than one localized version or even the English version?

2008年4月1日

Some more thought about Quality-Cost-Delivery

Quality, Cost, and Delivery (Schedule), the three most important elements for a project, become a triangle force form inside a circle.

Ideally the full-balance force form looks like below:



Imagine cost is not an issue, quality is the most important, and the schedule is flexible. Then the force form become below:



But normally client is pushing the deliver date, or client delay the handoff but still want the package to be handed-back at the same time. Which means the delivery date is not negotiable. Then how worse the project could be? Add more resource to ensure the quality? Keep the same resource but loss some part of quality?