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Working on a corporate project designed for localization
Thread poster: Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang  Identity Verified
French to English
Jul 12, 2003

I am new to translating and have never done localization. I work as a programmer for a company that is starting to get an international presence and the project I am on is being desgined to be localized by putting all text that will appear on pages in a resource properties file and will be referenced on the page by a property label. To localize all that would be needed is then to create another properties file for the new language. This is cumbersome to develop because if means a lot of extra typing up front. It seems from reading the forum that most translators doing localization are working with HTML pages and doing translations of text that exist on them. If anyone has ever worked with the system I have described (it is Java under IBM Websphere and is turning into a standard for designing apps that can be localized) I would be interested in hearing if you feel it is an improvement, if it saved time, etc.

Just for some info, I am trying to get started doing French-English translation part time, I have a DALF certification and have done some interpreting.

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Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Pros: consistency, efficiency; Cons: lack of fluency, inappropriate style Jul 26, 2003

Hi, Stephen.
I have been involved in the translation of similar contents trhough an agency, so I'm not sure about the original format supplied by the client.
What I recieved where various paragraphs of text, with different tags (identifying them as headlines, subheads, bullet point, bullet headers, etc.) and a sheet specifying the use to which each type of paragraph would be destined to.
The various paragraphs would then be assembled by picking whichever would be needed for a particular page/document (so the same text gets re-used for brief web pages, detailed web pages, printed product brochures, product packaging, etc).
There is obviously a clear advantage from the point of view of overall consistency and efficiency.
The downside is that the translator does not get to see the resulting assembled pages and has to use a lot of imagination to guess what will be the actual flow of the overall text. This may lead to not very fluent text and inappropriate style. What sounds perfectly ok on its own, may become unacceptable depending on what comes just before and after it; you cannot pull a sentence out of its overall context and expect a translation that will fit n different uses.
It takes some getting used to, and you would achieve good results only if you can count on the same translator/reviewer handling this type of translation over time.
The other thing that would help achieving quality translation is to include in the localization process a revision cycle where the different "assembled" versions are provided to the reviewer in their final look (layout, formatting, correct sequence), with the possibility to amend the source text to achieve best possible results.

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Stephen Lang  Identity Verified
French to English
thanks for reply Roberta Jul 27, 2003

What I am finding is there are a lot of different ways that localization is done. The way you described is yet another way and you are right, if the company gave access to the web site so you could see all the text on one page it would help; I am sure there are some potentially amusing situations which can occur. In my case if the project is never localized for another language it will have been an incredibly painful waste of time. I don't think the system I am working on is very widespread at this point.

I got an email response from a translator who said he has spent several years developing his own system after being frustrated, so I guess this has been a source of problems.

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