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Scott Swanson - What about translating help to other languages?

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Scott Swanson, lead program manager on the Visual Studio team, talks about how the help team works to internationalize their content. They've learned some interesting things. What? For instance, people don't trust the translations. See how they decided to handle that mistrust.

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  • I'm not a developer, I 'just use Windows', and I don't like i18n all that much. Not so much because I distrust the local version, but when I spend time online for example, my mind is set to English. I'm Dutch by the way. If I bump into something Dutch when I don't expect it it actually confuses me for a moment.

    Here's one great example I Just stumbled in an hour ago. I was reading Scobleizer's blog and he mentioned MSN Messenger 6.2 shipped today. When I clicked the link [to the MSN Messenger page] the whole site was in Ducth. My first reaction was: "what's this? Oh, it's Dutch." To me it was even a bit frustrating not finding a way to change the language to my preferred website reading language English so I could set my mind back to English.

    Just my 2 cents...
  • I don't care much for translated technical documents. And I dislike the way the knowledgebase bugs me with  Swedish articles just because I run Swedish IE. I hope VS won't start doing the same.

    My distrust comes from experience. Quite often the translators don't understand the text they are translating. And the result is unreadable.

    /Lars.

  • Don't forget Portuguese is the 4th language in the world, but don't loose your time translating technical articles in Portuguese. We prefer to read those subjects in English . It is more difficult for us to look for what it means in English, if its written in Portuguese.
    Miguel Simoes
    Lisboa-Portugal
  • Joe Average wrote:
    I'm not a developer, I 'just use Windows', and I don't like i18n all that much. Not so much because I distrust the local version, but when I spend time online for example, my mind is set to English. I'm Dutch by the way. If I bump into something Dutch when I don't expect it it actually confuses me for a moment.

    Here's one great example I Just stumbled in an hour ago. I was reading Scobleizer's blog and he mentioned MSN Messenger 6.2 shipped today. When I clicked the link [to the MSN Messenger page] the whole site was in Ducth. My first reaction was: "what's this? Oh, it's Dutch." To me it was even a bit frustrating not finding a way to change the language to my preferred website reading language English so I could set my mind back to English.

    Just my 2 cents...


    I'm from Belgium and my native language is Dutch. But as a developer only use English. This goes from my OS and apps to methode and member names and buglists.
    There are many reasons for this, but one of the main ones is the folowing. Try googling Usenet with a Dutch error message from some Windows component.
    If the new systems includes the translations of different error message and exceptions, this would be great, but I doubt I would use it.

    And I would prefer Englsh as the main development language, cause now I do have a real problem communicating and understanding French developers. I do understand French, but when it gets down to the technical side and core concepts like OOP, I just have to give up.
    The French translate everything and it's realy confusing for me going from French to Dutch to English to understand what they are trying to say. Most Dutch developers I know just adopt English terms.
  • JtbJtb
    Hi,

    I also prefer not using the local version (German) of VS.Net.. There are several translation errors which leads to buggy-programs and/or long(er) bug-search..

    btw: you can specify the language for sites in IE (see options-language)..
  • Jtb wrote:
    Hi,

    I also prefer not using the local version (German) of VS.Net.. There are several translation errors which leads to buggy-programs and/or long(er) bug-search..

    btw: you can specify the language for sites in IE (see options-language)..


    For specific sites or just for all of them?
    The last one is easy : IE->Tools->Options->General->Languages
  • Sorry for getting a bit offtopic. I have found that as i prefer to use English Windows, but have my localization etc settings non-english, some places (Office update for example) offer me the non-english file versions of patches for english version of Office. I haven't noticed any big problems caused by this, but for example if I go DxDiag there is two language versions of the Dx files and I don't have idea where the non-english even came from.

    Edit: I know you can setup IE to make websites prefer English content, but I want websites to prefer my native content, but software updates to be English. There's a problem for you (me)..

    Edit2: Joe Average: If you really want multilang websites to be English go to IE/Tools/Options/General/Languages, add English and move it to the top.
  • Joe,

    By default, the Whidbey Help system will select the same language you are running the VS IDE in.  If you don't like that, you can select any of languages for which you have content installed locally.  Or, for online sources, you can select a primary langauage, and then the results of all other languages will be prioritized after the primary language.

     -Scott
  • To everyone who has sent feedback on this thread regarding language selection in the Help system - Thank you!!!  This is great feedback.  The good news is that by the time we reach Beta 2, the Help system will be complete and we should have all of your scenarios covered.  Beta 2 probably seems like a long way off, since we haven't released Beta 1 yet. Keep checking out the Beta and community releases of Whidbey.  We will be bringing functionality online in the community drops as it is complete.  Watch my Blog http://weblogs.asp.net/scottsw for announcements of new functionality included in the Beta and community releases.  As you check out the new features, we'd really like to hear your feedback.

     -Scott
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