Localization Matters (翻訳よもやま話)
By user13133135 on 4 28, 2009
I had a chance to share the localization issues with the editor team which provides the editorial services to the product writers. Those issues could be small, such as "missing space", or big and universal, such as "terminology management". I have been working to resolve this issue only on the translation side so far, and never had a chance to communicate with the writing team. So, I was delighted and excited about that chance. In my presentation, I introduced typical problems we face... those issues include the following:
As their names imply, these expressions <literal>try</literal> to execute some
code, but <literal>catch</literal> an exception if there is a problem.
This writer uses "try" and "catch" for two meanings by changing the type face to "literal" which is represented as courier font. In our standard typographic convention, courier font means the command names, output from the computer, or code examples. Because of that convention, when I see "try" in courier font,I assume this is a "try" command in Java language. At the same time, in English, the original meaning of "try" is to "attempt".
English speakers should be able to assume those two meanings are included in the courier fonts of try and catch. However, this is a headache for the translator.
By the style guide, translators are instructed NOT to translate courier fonts since they are commands. However, the general meaning of the word, try and catch in this case, has to be translated. ... how could it be ?
Well, one translator did translate "try" and "catch" in Japanese. Then, the command names of try and catch are now missing. Another translator left those in English. Then, the general meaning of try and catch may not be understood.
There is no perfect answer. As a mitigation plan, I put English in courier fonts in brackets and also translated the general meaning such as...
<literal>トライ (try)</literal> しますが、問題がある場合には例外を
<literal>キャッチ (catch)</literal> します。
This effort will be repeated for the number of languages. However, if the original sentence is written in the following way to avoid "dual meaning" by the font usage, the problem will disappear.
As their names imply, these expressions try to execute some code
using <literal>try</literal> command, but catch an exception by
<literal>catch</literal> command if there is a problem.
In addition, if the writer uses <command></command> tags instead of
<literal></literal> tags, this will improve Machine Translation
quality dramatically. <literal></literal> is only to define the font,
but <command></command> to define the nature of that term as well
as the font. Machine translation engine identifies the tags and
keep that term in English. That's another suggestion for the writing
from localization point of view...