Wednesday Mar 02, 2011

OUAB Europe Globalization Topics

Pleased to announce that the Oracle Usability Advisory Board has added a globalization workgroup (for internationalization, localization, and translation issues) for 2011.

The aims of this workgroup, broadly, are:

  • To understand how our customers use translated versions of applications.
  • To identify key international support, translation and localization-related usability issues in deployed applications.
  • To make recommendations to Oracle usability and development teams about meeting global customer usability requirements in current and future versions of our applications. 
regional_ebs_settings.png
Potential areas include: How international users use applications when working, ethnography opportunities, key cultural impacts on usability; internationalization and multilingual support (MLS) feature usage, localization of forms and reports, language quality, extensibility, translation of user assistance, user-generated and rich-media content like UPK, and international mobile application opportunities. Plus whatever the OUAB members agree should be looked at! More details the organization of the group is available on the usableapps.oracle.com website  (scroll down to the "Charter" section).

Wednesday Feb 23, 2011

Oracle User Productivity Kit Translation

Oracle's customers just love the User Productivity Kit (UPK). I hear only great things about it from our international customers at the Oracle Usability Advisory Board meetings too. The UPK is the perfect solution for enterprise applications training needs (I previously "eviewed a fine book about UPK btw).

One question I am often asked is how source content created using the UPK can be translated into another language. I spoke with Peter Maravelias, Principal Product Strategy Manager for UPK about this recently.

UPK is already optimized for easy source-target translation already. There is even a solution for re-recording demos. Here's what you can do to get your source content into another language:

  • Use UPK's ability to automatically translate events and actions. UPK comes with XML templates that allow you to accomplish this in 21 languages with a simple publishing action switch. These templates even deal with the tricky business of using gender-based translations.
upk_template_es.png
Spanish localization template sample

upk_template_jp.png
Japanese localization template sample

  • Use the Import and Export localization features to export additional custom content in a format like XLIFF, easily handled by translation tools. You could also export and import in Word format.
  • Rerecord the sound (audio) files that go with the recordings, one per screen. UPK's granular approach to the sound files means that timing isn't an option. Retiming demos isn't required. A tip here with sound files and XLFF-exported custom content is to facilitate translation context by avoiding explicit references to actions going on in the screen recordings. A text based storyboard with screenshots accompanying the sound files should also be provided to the translators. Provide a glossary of terms too.
  • Use the re-record option in UPK to record any demo from a translated application. This will allow all the translated UI labels to be automatically captured. You may be required to resize any action events here due to text expansion issues. Naturally, you will need translated data in the translated application too, so plan for this in advance. However, source-target language skills aren't required for the re-recording.

The UPK Player itself, of course, is also available from Oracle along with content and doc in 21 languages. The Developer and Setup is also translated in a smaller number of languages. Check the Oracle UPK website  for latest details. UPK is a super solution for global enterprise applications training deployments allowing source content to be translated into multiple languages easily. See this post on the UPK blog for more insight too!

I would like to thank Peter for his time in talking with me.

Monday Feb 07, 2011

Games Localization: Cultural Points

Great article about localization considerations, this time in the games space. Well worth checking out. It's rare to see such all-encompassing articles about localization considerations aimed at designers. That's a shame. The industry assumes all these things are known, yet the evidence from practice is that they're not and also need constant reinforcement.

We're not quite in the games space in enterprise applications yet, but we're getting there, and gamification is a hot UX topic. In the enterprise apps arena, there may be a role for games in the training space, in CRM through building relationships and contacts, gathering sales and marketing data, answering service requests, and so on. Or in HCM, for talent development or recruitment purposes. No end of possibilities.

Other thoughts can be gleaned from this appslab post Why Gaming is the Future of Everything. Beyond the obvious considerations, check out the cultural aspects of games localization too. For example, Zygna's offerings, which you might have played on Facebook: Zynga, which can lay claim to the two most popular social games on Facebook - FarmVille and CityVille - has recently localized both games for international audiences, and while CityVille has seen only localization for European languages, FarmVille has been localized for China, which involved rebuilding the game from the ground up.

This localization process involved taking into account cultural considerations including changing the color palette to be brighter and increasing the size of the farm plots, to appeal to Chinese aesthetics and cultural experience. All the more reason to conduct research in your target markets, worldwide.

About

Oracle Applications Cloud global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. A globally-savvy UX making it all fit together for Oracle's worldwide partners and customers.

Audience: Enterprise applications translation and localization topics for the user experience professional (designers, engineers, developers, researchers)!
Profile

Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @localization

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