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Question about the length of words in a String doc
Thread poster: Sophieanne

Sophieanne  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:41
English to French
+ ...
Jun 18, 2005

There's a beginning to everything... I've been asked to translate string terms in an Excel document, for the localization of a medical device. I know what most of the terms mean, since I've translated the main body of document in question.
I'm not used to localization however, and wonder about the following:
'Bitmaps Translation is Case Sensitive and requires exact text length as shown below'.
Each term is followed by a number, corresponding to the number of characters...
For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3
Does that mean my translation should not exceed 3 letter?
Therefore, I should translate by "NOU" for the French word "NOUVEAU"?
Are there localization dictionaries that have accepted equivalents?
Any help would be greatly appreciated...


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:41
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Ask for any clafrification you need Jun 18, 2005

Sophieanne wrote:
...
'Bitmaps Translation is Case Sensitive and requires exact text length as shown below'.
Each term is followed by a number, corresponding to the number of characters...
For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3
Does that mean my translation should not exceed 3 letter?
...


There is no absolute answer. Only the customer or agency that commissioned the work to you can answer with competence.
Don't be afraid to ask. Read the instructions carefully, and if there are still doubts, ask for clarifications.

Regarding the 'standard' abbreviations, YOU are the linguist. This is exactly the service they are requiring from you.

Whenever a string needs to be dramatically shorter than the full words, it is up to you to make make the right choices, to ensure that the meaning is still understandable by the users of the product.
You may also look at similar products, for inspiration, if that helps a bit.


bye
Gianfranco


[Edited at 2005-06-18 14:26]


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:41
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mistake in project preparation Jun 18, 2005

Sophieanne wrote:
For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3


"NEW" should be followed by a higher number, corresponding to the max size of the window available. The person preparing the text must have somehow selected "max size = actual lenght", which of course is not suited for interface translation, especially not for EN>FR translation!

If this is the case (i.e. al strings are followed by their actual length), I think you should talk to the client and ask for a new source file, or for permission to ignore the limitation, where necessary.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Underdeveloped User Interface Jun 18, 2005

Sophieanne wrote:
...For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3
Does that mean my translation should not exceed 3 letter?
Therefore, I should translate by "NOU" for the French word "NOUVEAU"?

Exactly. An alternative would be to leave out the vowels first.
The result will be pretty ugly, but if your client can neither provide fields of appropriate size nor have the forms localised (e.g. using Catalyst or the original environment), there is no other way.

If this was my client, I would ask him whether he is sure that he will be able to sell this software. Otherwise, he won't.

The 2nd project in the translation agency where I started my career was of this kind. The translation had cost about hundred thousend EUR and when it was finished the client did not even try to sell it..

BTW, the rates for UI lists are usually 5 to 8 times higher than for the word count of a contiguous text.


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Sophieanne  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:41
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm beginning to get it Jun 18, 2005

Luca Tutino wrote:

Sophieanne wrote:
For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3


"NEW" should be followed by a higher number, corresponding to the max size of the window available. The person preparing the text must have somehow selected "max size = actual lenght", which of course is not suited for interface translation, especially not for EN>FR translation!

If this is the case (i.e. al strings are followed by their actual length), I think you should talk to the client and ask for a new source file, or for permission to ignore the limitation, where necessary.

I think... I eventually noticed the cells won't accept anything beyond a certain length. Everytime I used a word that was too long, the little figure on the right would turn into a greek sign. But I can use longer words than English, just not TOO long. Thanks a lot for your help...


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Sophieanne  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:41
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... Jun 18, 2005

Harry_B wrote:

Sophieanne wrote:
...For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3
Does that mean my translation should not exceed 3 letter?
Therefore, I should translate by "NOU" for the French word "NOUVEAU"?

Exactly. An alternative would be to leave out the vowels first.
The result will be pretty ugly, but if your client can neither provide fields of appropriate size nor have the forms localised (e.g. using Catalyst or the original environment), there is no other way.

If this was my client, I would ask him whether he is sure that he will be able to sell this software. Otherwise, he won't.

The 2nd project in the translation agency where I started my career was of this kind. The translation had cost about hundred thousend EUR and when it was finished the client did not even try to sell it..

BTW, the rates for UI lists are usually 5 to 8 times higher than for the word count of a contiguous text.
about the BTW... I won't get that much, but being that I've already translated 99% of the abbreviations in the longer text, it's really a pasting job for me (that's why the length thing puzzled me, as the client wants me to use the termes I've already used before)... But I'll know better next time I have to negociate this type of work!


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Sophieanne  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:41
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jun 18, 2005

Gianfranco Manca wrote:

Sophieanne wrote:
...
'Bitmaps Translation is Case Sensitive and requires exact text length as shown below'.
Each term is followed by a number, corresponding to the number of characters...
For instance, "NEW" is followed by #3
Does that mean my translation should not exceed 3 letter?
...


There is no absolute answer. Only the customer or agency that commissioned the work to you can answer with competence.
Don't be afraid to ask. Read the instructions carefully, and if there are still doubts, ask for clarifications.

Regarding the 'standard' abbreviations, YOU are the linguist. This is exactly the service they are requiring from you.

Whenever a string needs to be dramatically shorter than the full words, it is up to you to make make the right choices, to ensure that the meaning is still understandable by the users of the product.
You may also look at similar products, for inspiration, if that helps a bit.

Your advice is helpful... I needed a bit of guidance and that's just what I got.


[Edited at 2005-06-18 14:26]


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Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 00:41
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...

MODERATOR
hi, Jun 19, 2005

I run into the same question while localizing in Russian (mobile phones strings, etc.). but my customer asked me just to shorten the words in any way, and all. So I did my best, contriving different ways of shortening, leaving out vovels, inseting hyphens,etc. notwithstanding the fact that very often these shortenings looked a bit obscure

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