Archive for the ‘i18n’ Category

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CODI 2006: Shelly Neville’s presentation on Information Portal 8.x

2006-10-07

I’m posting this in Atlanta, having forgotten to post earlier. (Uploading 500MB of photos to Flickr takes a while, especially since the Little America hasn’t got an OC-48, and Flock kept losing its connection until about 1:30am. For all the wonders of Web 2.0, I’d have loved to be able to just use ssh, ftp, or even Xmodem-CRC.

There was a question about library-supplied images in combination with Syndetics images; Shelly pointed out that it would be rare to have both kinds of images for the same record, but that you could check boxes on a config screen to modify the layout. I said that you could also use XSLT to display the Syndetics image only if there’s no locally-provided image — just change the stylesheet.

Shelly laughed and said: “Any time a technical person says ‘you can just change the stylesheet’, I worry. I can *spell* XSL and that’s about it.”

You can use location groups to show “local copies”, “other libraries within 20 miles”, “other libraries further away”, etc.; the user would see the first group’s holdings and use a drop-down menu (or a similar control) to choose a different view.

(I hope there’ll be a way to use checkboxes to do something similar — perhaps “just change the stylesheet” to introduce some code that would display each group in a div and then show or hide the divs as the user toggles ‘public libraries’, ‘Pinellas County’, and so on. Heck, there’s an AJAX way to use a slider to say how far away you’re willing to go, but that might not actually be *useful*, just cool.)

Speaking of stylesheets, CSS will be used for layout, so there’s a good chance that the layout could be radically improved without messing around in XSLT.

Language translations will be stored in customer-accessible resource bundles, so we can create a Greek translation, or tweak a Spanish translation to reflect local usage. (Or even make the PAC say ‘your mailing address needs updated’, if that’s how normal people talk in your area.)

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Internationalization

2005-11-07

This afternoon's session on internationalization (or i18n, as geeks call it) was a lot of fun. The new catalog software apparently allows you to supply translations of words and phrases that will be used by people who want their library catalog to appear in Canadian French, Armenian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), etc.

I made a lot of suggestions, since I'm a linguistics geek. For example:

In English and other left-to-right writing systems, it makes sense to offer links like this:

< previous | next >

But in Arabic and Hebrew, it might make more sense for next to be on the left, since that's where the next page is.

Phrases like "You are logged in as " assume that the user's name should come at the end of the sentence. But in some languages, you can't just translate one phrase and follow it with a name, you have to embed the name into the phrase: in the name of Ben Ostrowsky are you logged in. And that's ignoring the languages in which "you are logged in" might be worded slightly differently if the user is male.

And then there were the non-linguistic suggestions like "Hey, if you give us an Export/Import function, then we can share our translations with each other without having to retype all these phrases one at a time."

The presenter said that they obviously need someone like me working for them, and said he knew of a house for sale in the vendor's hometown. I'll stay in touch with them about the idea, since we'll be moving when Jodi picks her next school. Since they already have offices all over the place, they probably would allow telecommuting, especially if my job would involve interviewing native speakers to make sure that we get things translated properly. (You don't want to translate that "Home" link as "Casa", for example. The Spanish equivalent means "main page".)

Some sort of winter-wonderland cocktail hour is starting soon. I saw them setting up Christmas trees, pastel castles, and the like inside the main ballroom. I'll go check it out to get some good pictures and use my free drink ticket. After that, I'll probably go to sleep early. There's a walking tour of Loring Park that meets at 6:30am, and if my knee's up to it, I want to see if I can find the Loring Park Micro geocache.

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