slide 76
Copyright © 2005 W3C (MIT, ERCIM, Keio)
Some lessons from this presentation
What this means to me
Use topic-comment arrangements for composite messages, if you can, rather than sentential arrangements
Use coding approaches that allow syntactic flexibility when creating composite messages
Be careful about reuse of text strings - ensure that the context of reuse is always the same
Think about how to cope with text that expands in translation - for example, use larger background images and avoid placing labels to the side of form entry fields, if you can
Separate content from presentation - including in JavaScript (use id or class names)
Don't assume that people format dates, addresses, names, etc like you. Allow for alternative approaches, where appropriate.
Ensure that you indicate clearly how users should enter information such as dates - in fact, consider graphical approaches that allow you to pick a date from a pop-up.
Think carefully about how you intend to break up and reuse things like names and addresses, and the implications of that for multicultural formats.
Be prepared to change graphics if they represent a particular culture or set of cultural aspirations. Also be careful about assuming common understanding of symbols, color, and ways of doing things. Design in a way that allows for adaptation, where necessary, and use in-country knowledge to check that things work as you expected.
Be careful about how you write your text if you expect non-native speakers of English to read your content.
Remember that graphics may need to be translated - not just text.
Keep text out of graphics where you can. Where you can't, supply layered files for translation.
Check out whether you are incorrectly assuming that people in other parts of the world see their world and do things in the same way as you.
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Slide 76 of 81
This slide summarizes some of the practical takeaways from this presentation.
The presentation is not designed to give you a thorough overview of potential internationalization and localization issues - we would need longer for that. It aims to provide you with a few practical takeaways, but more importantly it aims to get you thinking about what internationalization is all about - to take you out of your comfort zone, and help you realize that if you want your content to wow people outside your own culture and language, you need to build in certain flexibilities and adopt certain approaches during the design and development - not as an afterthought. Otherwise you are likely to be creating substantial barriers for worldwide use.
The presentation also aims to show that, although using Unicode is an extremely good start to making your stuff world-ready, using a Unicode encoding such as UTF-8 throughout your content, scripts and databases is only a start. You need to worry about whether translators will be able to adapt your stuff linguistically, but you also need to also consider whether graphics and design are going to be culturally appropriate or can be adapted, and whether your approaches and methodologies fit with those of your target users.