Home Articles Downloads Forum Products Services Seminar Contact
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rating: 5
Page 1 of 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
#39776 27/07/09 11:13 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21

Well ... not really new as such ... more like a continuation of one I made a start on 18 years ago!

One of my more thoughtful "users" has recently enquired about the possibility of translating the famous TaskMaster system into Spanish. Tarea de Maestro? I've had a quick play and reckon I have code already in place that could form the basis of a "look-up table" to translate the field labels that appear on the forms. Basically, I would adapt an existing datafile which is already used to enforce standardised descriptions, correct "typos", and such.

"Eqpt type code" would appear as "Codigo del tipo" if a Country field was set to "ES", for instance. And "Manufacturer" would appear as "Fabricante", and all the rest. The bulk of the work required be in the translation of the Help file, however. I have zero Spanish (or any other language) skills myself, of course, but would need to rely upon an on-line translator. I see a long Summer of work stretching ahead of me (so much, then, for any thoughts about digging out my bucket and spade)! frown

All this has re-kindled memories of an attempt I made on a (much) earlier version to "translate" technical words in a dBASE database from English to Arabic. Because that needed an Arabic character set, and the program was running under good old DOS back in those days, I had used an old version of Nafitha. But I had to rely upon Arab friends (who were, in actual fact, not all that reliable, especially as they never seemed able to agree upon this word or that), coupled with a fair amount of detective work on my own, to work out my Arabic translations. First I made a list of phonetic spellings (so "maintenance" became "al-seena", for example) then used Nafitha to provide the corresponding Arabic script (right to left, of course). That was a long time ago now (yes, 18 years, as already mentioned), but I reckon it would be easier now with modern tools (and character sets)!

Those dBASE databases were quite useful to me at the time. There were three fields. When in a browse you would see the English word in the left-hand column ("grease", let's say), then in the next column we would have entered the phonetic "Arabic" spelling ("sha-ham")* and in the third (thanks to the magic of Nafitha) we would put in the Arabic script. This was very handy for non-Arabic speakers (like me) as I could pronounce the Arabic word whilst understanding what it meant! Ultimately, my aim was to produce the Arabic billing documents required by our client, automatically from my program (and my data).

Why am I mentioning all this? Well, perhaps the time has come to have another go. English to French, Italian, Spanish ... should be straight forward enough. But what about Polish, Tagalog and Turkish, for example? And what about languages that don't use Latin characters (eg, Arabic, Malayalam, Urdu)? Would a simple phonetic "translation" be any use? At the moment I don't see any easy way for the programming languages that I use to call another character set (Arabic, for example) directly to the screen, but this may well be possible. But at the moment I have to rely upon the extended ASCII character set, and switching between Code Pages if necessary and/or possible (that is, nothing esoteric like Unicode).

So, if anyone has any translation data already available, or indeed would like to collaborate on this Great International Gesture, feel free to shout (crier, gridare, gritar ... whatever)! smile

I wonder whether HTML is the answer?


* In cases where more than one word was available to correspond to the English, I would always default to the common, or "street" version!


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 36
Visionary
Offline
Visionary
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 36
Su proyecto podría probar difícil pero este sitio puede ayudar un poco. smilewink

http://translate.google.com/translate_t#


Cardinal Health
Tel: 07502 390043
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21

Not so difficult, Paul, just time consuming.

But I may well give it a go, anyway. You know, just for the craic as it were. smile

Thanks for the link. I hope that others will use it when I call for help! As I say, with all these tools at our disposal, there's no excuse, really. The episode I referred to from one of my previous lives was conducted, shall we say, in splendid isolation. No phones, no networks, no nothing ... it was all done from "first principles" (or not at all) back then (back there)!

Ciao!

Originally Posted By: Geoff Hannis
"Eqpt type code" would appear as "Codigo del tipo" ...

I meant, of course, "Codigo de tipo" (I told you my Spanish was, er, culo?)


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Newbie
Offline
Newbie
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Hi Geoff,

Have you considered converting your exiting help source into XML? Because of their inherent separation of content and structure, XML documents are often preferred by human translators, and perhaps by machine translators these days too. Although XML source is UTF-8 by default, you can specify other character encodings if necessary.

I like the sound of your project and would enjoy collaborating with you. I don't have any language skills, but I've recently come back into the Biomed field after a dozen or so years working as a technical writer, a second career for me after starting out in Biomed in the late 70s. During a stint with IBM, I wrote help documentation in XML and prepared it for translation into 13 languages, so that experience might be useful.

Drew

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21

Hello Drew, and welcome to the forum.

What you're saying is interesting. I'll bear it in mind (chew it over, or whatever). At the moment I'm thinking in terms of a straight forward look-up table being called each time a form is opened that will populate the labels on the form according to the language setting (as a technical writer, no doubt you'll be groaning at such a long sentence)!

That is, Spanish (say) will call the Spanish labels from a simple .dbf file which can be edited, improved, or otherwise tweaked by the end user. So if a guy out in Mexico, say, doesn't like my choice of a Spanish word on a form, then he can change it to something he's less ashamed of. This is the way I prefer to do most of my stuff ... let the users have reasonable access to the underlying data to use and mould to their own particular (or weird even) requirements.

But yes, help file narratives are a different kettle of fish, as there is a lot of text in there. I haven't given it a great deal of thought as yet, but (off the top of my head) I may just provide my usual English file, plus a blank "page" for my more helpful users to fill in for themselves. In actual fact, users at the highest level of access can edit (or screw up, as they wish) my help file anyway! So I have the option there to "leave as is", as they (architects, usually) say.

In truth, my stuff needs a total re-write in a modern language. But who has time for that? Not to mention that dreaded word "funding"! As you must know, most users haven't got a clue how much work it all takes. smile


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Newbie
Offline
Newbie
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Ah, I see what you mean. And I hear what you're saying about rewriting an application and the time it takes. Accurately estimating the time required for such an undertaking is an art. Even if you double an original estimate, with feature creep and unexpected problems of all sorts you can still end up slipping the release date several times.

Good luck with it and if you post your progress updates, I'll read them with interest.

Drew

DrewHodge #39814 28/07/09 10:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21

I've just done a prototype form where I can switch between English and Spanish (or French, German or Italian) labels. Oh yes, we're all good European Comrades now (NOT)!

It's the "Setup Printing" form (see this download for the plain, not yet modified, forms).

Sistema Imprenta anybody? smile

Yes ... it all takes forever. And users lose interest, patience, and all the rest. Meanwhile, it's a lonely pursuit, best suited to English summers (yes, it's raining again).

And a million little decisions to be made along the way. Like:- would a Spanish-speaking user be au fait with a push-button marked Code Page, or should we try to squeeze in Código pagina? I went for simply Código as there was no space for anything else ... then moved on.*

The real problem is that of the width of field labels and push-buttons. Whilst they may be OK for (sometimes terse) captions in English, they're often not wide enough ... especially for those er, rather long, German words! If we're not careful, what were previously quite nicely crafted forms can end up looking like a Hund's Frühstück!

* I could, of course, have equally well have mentioned Codice pagina abbreviated to Codice ... but anyway, what the Heck do I know about any of that stuff? When the clever (but spotty, I seem to recall) dudes were taking French, s'il vous plaît, I was happily chiseling away in the woodwork shop!


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21

Meanwhile ... here's the next exciting instalment:-

I'm currently looking at the field labels on the various forms and putting the "hooks" in place to permit captions in any Latin script (exempli gratia, what if someone asks for Italian?).

Not a quick job, then, but because it entails re-visiting almost the entire system, it has already unearthed a few daft bugs ... and no doubt there will be more!

So, inshallah it will all be worthwhile, if only because of that. smile

Most likely (apart from a few easy ones for the purpose of proving the method), I will leave the various "translations" blank ... and let the users fill them in for themselves. That should keep them quiet for a few days, at least! I have also included a "custom" column, so that users can change labels to any ASCII characters that their little hearts desire! So (for instance), if they don't like the word Equipment, but prefer to use Device (or System, Kit, or Junk ... or whatever), then that will be up to them.


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
DrewHodge #40198 16/08/09 12:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Originally Posted By: DrewHodge
... if you post your progress updates, I'll read them with interest.

OK, I have been burning the midnight oil for a couple of weeks and have come to realise that, as I had the code open on the table, as it were, anyway (yes, just like a surgeon), I may as well "go a little further"*.

So (as well as setting up routines to call alternative captions for form titles, labels etc. as already mentioned), I'm also adding look-up tables for hot-key (keystroke combinations) responses according to what the user is doing, which form has focus etc. (previously these were hard-coded into the program), and a routine to be able to step forward (and back again) through "see also" help topics when a help topic is called (up to five ... it could be more, but I reckon five is enough).

"Feature creep"? Well, perhaps. But as the underlying code is already there, it's really "just" a matter of putting in the hours needed to modify (enhance, tweak, develop, whatever) it all. And, once I've cracked this one, I plan (hope) to give it a rest for a while. Inshallah.

OK, so now I'm at the stage where (when in "design mode") I can see form labels (titles, etc.) that look like:- this_is_a_label. All well and good.

Depending upon the Language setting this can show become This is a label or (rather handily) C'est une étiquette or Este es una etiqueta or even This is a kludge when back in normal mode. In other words, it can be whatever you (the user, that is) chooses it to be. Or, more accurately, bothers to change it to!

So that others may not feel left out here, I could have just as easily chosen:-

Das ist ein etikett
Questo è un marchio
Isto é uma etiqueta

... or any other (bad) translation:-

Ez egy olyan címke
To je štítok
Dây là mot nhãn hieu


... et cetera. And please note (no doubt with sincere admiration), how far and to what extent the "PC campaign" has touched us all here in the UK ... it now seems that even I have been affected (infected?)!

But now I am am wondering if it would be better to provide just the two look-up captions:- namely, English and Local (or whatever ... perhaps I'll come up with better handle at some stage). I am reasoning here that each user is unlikely to be in need of more than one set of alternative captions. That way, I can leave the user to do the work (much preferred)! It will also get them "involved", and may even generate some feedback from them!

So, users who prefer different captions can change and edit them to whatever they want. Be it French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Creole, Pidgin, "predictive text techo-babel" ... or whatever. This means that no single "language" is given precedence over another (oh yes, we're all "PC" now)! Er, apart from English, that is ... but the code has to be written in something, and it happens to be English (or, perhaps more accurately, quasi-American "English" computer-speak). But the really good news is that I get to do (far) less work.

Yes ... the more I think about it, this has to be the way forward!

So, en avant! smile

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
White on a throne or guarded in a cave
There lives a prophet who can understand
Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
Who take the Golden Road to Samarkand.
*


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
DrewHodge #40996 27/09/09 11:20 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21
Super Hero
OP Online Content
Super Hero
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,320
Likes: 21

OK, I have been beavering away on this one solidly for two months now. frown

It's shaped up (turned out) like this:-

1) At the Setup Forms box you get to choose between Default (English), Local and Design captions. In Design mode you see captions on the various forms like:- this_is_a_label. This is so you know which one to look for if you want to change (edit) it.

The intention here being that if a user wanted to develop a set of captions (in Spanish, say), it would be the Local set that would be worked upon, and then (when finished) the setting changed to Local. Note that the Default set may be edited as well (so the possibility for totally "customising" - or screwing-up - the appearance of the program is there). Users at lower levels of access are denied all this fun, sadly!

2) All such as these can now be edited to suit your purposes:-

Form labels
Form (and browser) titles
Log messages
Menu bars
Note-taking messages
Push-button captions
Tool texts (hints) ... etc.

... plus, of course, all of the data (which is - or can be - your own stuff, anyway).

3) Changes may be made at a Captions browser. This is where you need to know which one you're looking for! However, a serious user might just like to go ahead and translate (change, edit ... whatever) the whole lot! Once you've done one or two, it's easy enough to get the hang of.

At the moment, the Captions look-up table (datafile) sits at 1,975 records (with more yet to come), so if anyone feels a need to wade through that lot with a view to translating it all ... well, it shouldn't take too long. smile

It's probably not as daunting as it sounds, as many of the captions are only one or two short words (and the maximum caption string is 32 characters long). About four days solid work for anyone with language skills, I reckon!

As mentioned before, translating the Help file (300 records with text narratives) would be a major tour de force. I may simply "leave as is" (as users at a suitable level of access can edit it anyway) or perhaps add another memo field for users to play with as they see fit.

But at the moment I see no (easy) way to be able to translate (or edit) the formats of the 132 preformatted "legacy" reports that the system still retains (in fact, "hand-coding" may be the only route open to me there). So users may simply have to live with those. There are also 70 (at last count) "hand-coded" reports that could be candidates for alternative caption options, but (as anyone reading this can no doubt tell), it all takes time.

If anyone wants to have a look at the system in its current state, feel free to get in touch, and I would be happy to zip up a "beta" distro. I mention this as I notice downloads being ... er, downloaded from this site, but point out that (although it still looks more or less the same at first glance) the program mechanisms have changed quite substantially as a result of all this tweaking and general surgery!

Having said all that ... now it's time for a cup of tea, then back to work! smile


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Page 1 of 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Moderated by  DaveC in Oz, RoJo 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Who's Online Now
4 members (DaveC in Oz, aghakhani, Geoff Hannis, Neil Porter), 132 guests, and 17 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
kman247, jbuchan, cike, MagnetomC, Viking77
9,825 Registered Users
Forum Statistics
Forums25
Topics10,728
Posts72,368
Members9,825
Most Online5,980
Jan 29th, 2020
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5