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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.















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.


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?


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?