Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Shout-out for Oracle Cloud and Fusion Apps Multilingual Support: Pseudo-translation Explained

Ever heard the acronym "MLS" used in the context of Oracle E-Business Suite, Fusion or Cloud Service applications, and wondered what it meant? It stands for Multilingual Support. The Fusion Applications Developer Relations blog has the architecture details and is worth a read.

The business significance of MLS, along with the applications' translations known as National Language Support (or NLS) versions, and the localizations support required for doing business in different countries and regions, is that Oracle customers can run applications in different ways to suit their business requirements.

MLS architecture provides for such requirements common in the business world as when a multi-national customer needs the same application to support a wide variety of national languages, countries or regions globally, or where a customer needs an application user interface in one national language (the language of business, English for example) but to needs enter, store, view, and publish data in other national languages. The applications can be patched easily and safely (see how the tables separate logic from translatable strings) too. You can read more about the subject in my blog on the Oracle E-Business Suite features and capabilities for global user experience.

Those "Ω'+++ '+++ '+Ø" characters you can see in the table in the developer relations blog are, in fact, the ends of what we call pseudo-translated strings. This technique of automatically padding, or adding extra, or special characters to source strings ones is used in development environments to simulate what happens when an application is translated and deployed globally.

Pseudo-translated strings simulate text expansion (strings usually get longer than the source U.S. English ones by varying lengths) and that nothing gets truncated or misplaced in the UI, are a check for multi-byte (now Unicode) character set support, bi-directionality (or Bi-Di) enablement (for Arabic and Hebrew languages, for example), and are used to detect hard-coded source strings that cannot be accessed by the translation tool (in other words, will be left in English).

The pseudo-translated version of the application must be tested in a suitable environment with realistic data by development teams and tools. If something breaks in the environment during this functional testing then it can be fixed before translation, rather than finding out the hard way, after implementation. Oracle applications uses pseudo-translation simulations for Latin character-based languages, Asian-based characters, and for Bi-Di ones too.

You can find out the basics of making internationalized and easily translatable enterprise applications that meet the needs of local workers and global businesses, and about using best practices such as pseudo-translation and more, in my SlideShare presentation delivered at the Action Week for Global Information Sharing at the Localisation Research Centre in Ireland, a few years ago. 


Wednesday Jul 11, 2012

Oracle Worldwide Product Translation Group and Applications User Experience Working Together

The Applications User Experience (UX) Mobile team has been extending its ethnographic research to even more countries. Recently, the team conducted research in Sweden, and I am pleased to say I made the connection for the UX team with the Oracle's Worldwide Product Translation Group (WPTG) local (that is, in-country) language specialists.

It struck me that WPTG's local market knowledge and insight that we heard about at an Oracle Usability Advisory Board meeting in the UK in 2011 would be very valuable to the UX efforts while, at the same time, UX could afford WPTG an opportunity to understand our design and development direction so that linguistic resources (terminology, style guides, translatability guidelines, and so on) for any translation of our mobile solutions could be prepared in advance.

Brent White taking notes as research participant Capri Norrman uses an iPad in work in Stockholm. TITLE=

Brent White of the Mobile UX team takes notes as ethnography participant Capri Norrman uses mobile technology to work in Stockholm.
Pic credit: Oracle Applications UX. The UX team acknowledges Capri's kind permission to use this image.

I'm told by Brent White of the Mobile UX team that the co-operation was a big success.  A WPTG Swedish language specialist joined a couple of ethnographic sessions, taking great notes and turning them around very fast for the UX team. And of course, a great local insight into Swedish culture and ways of working was provided too, along with some very convivial socializing! 

More research in more countries is planned. Watch out for future blog posts and other communications about this super worldwide co-operation.

About

Oracle applications global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. For globally-savvy UX people, so that it all fits together for Oracle's worldwide 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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