Software strings for mobile phone
Thread poster: sylver

sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:49
English to French
Jul 23, 2003

Not my idea of fun, definitely.

The code is simple, but most strings are 1 to 3 words long and I am dying for context.

Usually, when translating software strings, I get to review the compiled software or online application, to rectify the mistakes due to missing context.

Here however, the software is supposed to run on a mobile phone (which of course I do not have) and that leave me without any way to see what most strings mean in the context.

"call" could be a verb or a noun. Each could have several definitions, but French doesn't allow me to keep those ambiguities. I have to decide which it is, and of course, without context, it's a coin flipping decision.

Any idea as to how my PM could give me the context in which the strings appear?

Of course, I would love it if they could give me the mobile phone itself, but that seems quite unlikely.


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Stéphan Goldsmith
Local time: 00:49
English to French
+ ...
Screenshots Jul 23, 2003

Maybe your PM could try to get hold of screenshots (like the ones that would be inserted in a user's guide) or a copy of the phone and/or application user's guide ?

Stéphan

[Edited at 2003-07-23 18:33]


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Rocío Boada del Sol
Local time: 06:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just ask Jul 23, 2003

Well, I think that the only thing you can do is to ask, or to look other mobiles to see the "stile" they use.
But I suggest you to ask your client, tell him about especific problem and tell him that you cannot localize it unless you have some extra information.
Moreover, I think that testing should be done and those problems would be solved then.


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:49
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
New model - no manual :( Jul 24, 2003

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

If you know the trademark of that phone, that is which phone your are translating,download manuals of these Mobile phones from respective Producer. I mostly do some research on manuals before translation.
In fact manuals explains how to use the phone but certainly each case explain that strings you have to translate.
If you have a Call, Forward, etc.. string there is an equivalant of it in manual explaining this time to user how to use this function.
Another problem, is terminological consistency, you may translate it as you wish, but if User's Manual were translated by anyone else, this person will not be aware of your terminological preferences (and they will not see that strings blindly translate them) and therefore just a terrible mess will arise.
Keeping the same terminology of past manuals of that phone will also eliminate such kind of problems to some degree.



Thanks to all for your suggestions. Unfortunately, this brand does not seem to have manuals online and this particular model is not even mentionned there anyway. In fact, it is possible that the manual has not been written up yet.

I had already asked the PM for whatever context he had, of course, and the only reference available to him was 1 page spec list with a photo of the model.


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:49
English to German
+ ...
Offer proofreading to the client Jul 24, 2003

sylver wrote:

Thanks to all for your suggestions. Unfortunately, this brand does not seem to have manuals online and this particular model is not even mentionned there anyway. In fact, it is possible that the manual has not been written up yet.

I had already asked the PM for whatever context he had, of course, and the only reference available to him was 1 page spec list with a photo of the model.


In this case, I would tell the client about these problems and offer to proofread any of the translation after some reference material is available. In any case, make it clear to them that this kind of "blind translation" will almost surely lead to mistakes and wrong translations.

Sonja


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:49
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 24, 2003

Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:

sylver wrote:

Thanks to all for your suggestions. Unfortunately, this brand does not seem to have manuals online and this particular model is not even mentionned there anyway. In fact, it is possible that the manual has not been written up yet.

I had already asked the PM for whatever context he had, of course, and the only reference available to him was 1 page spec list with a photo of the model.


In this case, I would tell the client about these problems and offer to proofread any of the translation after some reference material is available. In any case, make it clear to them that this kind of "blind translation" will almost surely lead to mistakes and wrong translations.

Sonja

I think you're right, Sonja. That's probably the only option I have left. I can't invent a context anyway, so...


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ask for your client's support Jul 26, 2003

Hello,

From my experience, you should contact your client and explain them that you really need to have more context for those instances you can't be 100% certain. Explain them that certain terms depend highly on context. Most of the times they do provide context when asked to do so. Also, most probably your client will need to contact their client/maker do get that material/data.

I have worked on that area too but always got the context and string explanation together with text for translation. Also, when I still need further explanation I just ask and tell my client I can't really translate the strings if I don't know if, e.g. a verb/noun applies. After the explanation, I usually get all support.

Hope this helps
Best regards,
Mónica


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Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:49
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Compile a comprehensive query file Jul 26, 2003

A pretty standard procedure in sw loclization is to keep a "questions doc": a table with list of queries, clearly identifying string ID (if available from the format you are working in; if not, any other reference to help the client identify the problem string), original English string and query (in your case, providing the meaning of the various possible solutions by rephrasing the English or giving an example of likely context).
Usually the client or the PM would provide you with their own standard form, to ensure all the necessary information is supplied.

The PM would then pass this comprehensive list to the client who should be able to provide his answer.

It is quite common to work on strings translation before there is any documentation available for reference; sometimes screenshots can help prividing more context, but not always, hence the importance of requesting client's feedback during the translation.

As suggested by others, the translation should always be followed by a proofing/testing stage (usually done internally by the agency) so as to catch any linguistic issues or problems (like strings too long and chopped off).

HtH,
Roberta


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Roald Toskedal  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 06:49
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Similar approach. Jan 25, 2004

Stéphan Goldsmith wrote:

Maybe your PM could try to get hold of screenshots (like the ones that would be inserted in a user's guide) or a copy of the phone and/or application user's guide ?

Stéphan

[Edited at 2003-07-23 18:33]


Hi!

I once did a job on a hand-held GPS thingy, and the agency (a very nice French one) supplied me with a test program that would run under Windows and display all UI strings in context, complete with graphics and all.

This is the very way to do it, in my view, as it can be 100% impossible to discern between possible meanings of a word, e.g. in this project, I had several references to 'port', which can mean both a signal entry point for an apparatus, and a harbour. I got it all wrong, as the text was referring to sea charts, so I naturally thought it was about harbours.

However, with the test program, I could see at a glance that they were referring to signal ports. I am sure others can tell about similar experiences! We should demand appropriate references/tools tro make the context understandable in jobs like this!

Best regards,

Roald


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compJPN
Local time: 22:49
English to Japanese
+ ...
Don't have phone, then try emulators. Aug 15, 2004

You can download emulators on most of phones.
The emulator is the program that shows the screen shot and screen behavior of phone on your PC.

I am not sure which brand of phone you are interested,
so I tell you some list.

Nokia
Docomo i-mode
Openwave (browser emulator for phones)
J-phone
Motorola

let me know if you are interested in particular ones. I can point you to the right emulator to use.


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