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Translating software - what to translate, what to leave as-is
Thread poster: Colette Kinsella

Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 21:40
German to English
Mar 13, 2008

I've just received an Excel list to translate. It's a list of programming terms and I'm not sure of what to translate and what to leave as it is. I've done a lot of software and hardware-related material, but I've never had anything like this. Below is an extract from the Excel table:

PB-Slave 3 an PB System 1, Steckplatz 1: @3W%t#ErrTextLib@ an Kanal @2W%1d@\nName: A01BS01\nBaugruppe: PM-E DC24..48V\nPeripherieadresse: E2038

So, for instance, should the translation of "\nPeripherieadresse" be "\nPeriphery address" with a space between the two English words?

I'd appreciate any feedback in this regard.


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Hector Aires
Local time: 18:40
Member
English to Spanish
My opinion Mar 13, 2008

Hello Colette,
First of all, your name is really nice, indeed.
Please see the text below, extracted from my technical translation procedures sheets:
"H) Translation of software’s manuals - In these special translations we can find two clearly different cases:
H.1) The texts within software’s windows, text boxes, dialogs, tabs, etc. will remain in English. In this case, those texts included in the manual explanations will be translated into Spanish followed by the English text between brackets. Examples: “TCP/IP Protocol Properties” goes into “Propiedades del protocolo TCP/IP (TCP/IP Protocol Properties)”; “Press Enter” goes into “Pulse Aceptar (Enter)”.
H.2) The texts within software’s windows, text boxes, dialogs, tabs, etc. should be translated into Spanish. In this case the first thing to be done is to translate the software’s strings. Once the translation of the software’s strings has been accepted by the customer we shall start with the manual’s translation."

However, software strings can have some space limitations due to the number of characters, therefore, some sort of "telegraphic" text should be implemented, like "You Jane, me Tarzan". For instance, the above example (in Spanish) "Propiedades del protocolo TCP/IP" may go into "Propiedades protocolo TCP/IP" or ""Propiedades TCP/IP"
I wouldn't place a space in your example.

Hope it helps.
All the best
El Étor


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 21:40
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Translating software strings Mar 13, 2008

Thanks for the reply, Hector, to get the ball rolling.

So it seems that what I'm translating are strings? I'll take your suggestion re. spaces on board.

Will be interesting to see if anybody else will have something else to contribute.

Thanks again.


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Hector Aires
Local time: 18:40
Member
English to Spanish
Sorry Colette, I made a mistake Mar 13, 2008

I'm doing several things at the same time.
YES, I would place a space between the words in the example.

El Étor


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:40
Member
English to French
Meaning of \n Mar 13, 2008

See it as a line break.
When incorporated into the software program, it looks like somthg like this:

Name: ...
Baugruppe: ...
Peripherieadresse: ...

Usually, anything with a backslash is some code meaning things like tab, hard break, soft break, unbreakable space, curly quotation marks, etc.

Such things like @3W%t#ErrTextLib@ are likely to be variables. in the program, they are replaced with the actual values (which may be numbers, strings, whatever)

Note that I don't know anything about programming, so what I write comes only from my experience with such texts. I may be wrong.

I would also put a space. This looks like a screen that displays some info after some user action, so it should be plainly legible.

If there were space restrictions (such as LCD displays on satellite receivers, calculators or other devices), the customer would have told not to exceed so many characters in length.

Philippe


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Hector Aires
Local time: 18:40
Member
English to Spanish
Philippe is right Mar 13, 2008

[quote]Philippe Etienne wrote:


Such things like @3W%t#ErrTextLib@ are likely to be variables. in the program, they are replaced with the actual values (which may be numbers, strings, whatever)

Note that I don't know anything about programming, so what I write comes only from my experience with such texts. I may be wrong.


That's ok. I have already translated software strings on Excel files and those strange characters should remain as they are. Generally, customers notice you about that.

All the best
El Étor


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 22:40
French to English
+ ...
It's a string table Mar 13, 2008

In "proper" programming establishments all text strings that are going to be shown to a user in any way are stored in the string table (instead of being hard-coded in the actual program) so the program can easily (well, relatively) be translated.

Some points:

1) Your translations should, if possible, be the same length or shorter than the original. As you are translating DEU->ENG, this is pretty much a given anyway. When working for a major multi-national, we always did the German dialogs first - if it fit in German, it would fit in any language! German compound nouns should be broken out to seperate English words as you would for any other translation.

2) As others have noted, the strings between the @ signs are variable names that will be replaced with text at run time. These must not be changed under any circumstances.

3) Characters preceded by a backslash are what is called escape characters. Originally, these contained instructions to a printer but now have been extended to all sorts of uses. \n is a new line. You may also encounter \t which is a tab character and \\ which prints/displays an actual backslash. These should not be changed.

From the context, "Peripherieadresse" is more likely to be "Peripheral address".

Terry.


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 21:40
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Great feedback Mar 13, 2008

Thanks to you all for your input. It all makes sense now and I'll plough on. Thanks again.

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