Multilingual interface

Rob Cozens rcozens at pon.net
Sat Jan 19 11:33:01 CST 2002


>Who has bright ideas on how to handle multilingual projects?

Hi Terry,

Here is how I handle them:

* Dates, times, and numbers are are stored unformatted in a database and
are formated when displayed according to Mac OS Control Panel
specifications.

* Data labels and other on-screen literal text are replaced with icons.

* The application is 100% button driven, and the function of each active
button is displayed in a Help field when the cursor enters the button.

* There is a Translation screen where the user is presented each button
prompt & other help message in turn, and can translate them to another
language.

* There is a Configuration screen where the user selects a language and the
help prompts & other text for that language are loaded into the stack.

* The user manual is written in html so the user can translate it with any
html editor.

To see my design in action (in HyperCard), download the Mac demo at
http://www.oenolog.com/apple_demo.htm.  When OenoLog Version III was
released, I touted it to the press as the world's first "globalized"
business application: capable of end-user translation and world-wide
distribution (on Macs) in a single version.

I can't help you with the menu bar, since my application hides it.  I know
the Mac Human Interface Guideline police don't like that but:

A.  OenoLog softwqre was originally designed as a dedicated driver for
specialized instrument, not as a cooperative application to work seamlessly
with other Mac apps; and

B.  Frankly, I consider the menubar of today to be the DOS Prompt (">") of
yesteryear.  The menubar GUI was developed close to 30 years ago.  Ever
notice how most major software apps use a palette in addition to the
menubar today?  I believe "point & click" is superior to "pull down &
select" in most user interfaces, and I find a button-driven interface MUCH
easier to program than a menu-driven interface...especially one where the
menubar changes with different tool selections.


Rob Cozens
CCW, Serendipity Software Company

"And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."

from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631)



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