By Ultan O'Broin-Oracle on Sep 07, 2015
"Successfully crossing new frontiers in commerce needs people who understand local preferences as well as global drivers. In addition, technology has also been a great enabler of globalization, so the right balance between people and tech is key to success."
Oracle's worldwide success is due to a winning combination of smart people with local insight and great globalized technology. The Oracle Applications Cloud experience (UX)—that competitive must-have and differentiator—is also a story of global technology and empathy for people everywhere.
UX provides for the cultural dynamics of how people work, the languages they speak, and local conventions and standards on the job. So, how do we deliver global versions of SaaS? Oracle Applications UX Communications and Outreach's Karen Scipi (@karenscipi) explains:
How We Build for Global Users
Oracle Applications Cloud is currently translated into 23 natural languages, besides U.S. English, using a process that ensures translated versions meet the latest user expectations about language, be it terminology, style, or tone.
Global Workforce Optimization with Oracle HCM Cloud Release 10: More than 220 countries or jurisdictions supported.
Oracle Applications Cloud is designed for global use and deployment, leveraging Oracle ADF’s built-in internationalization (i18n) and translatability support to make development and translation easy. For example:
- Translatable text is stored separately (externalized) from the application code for each language version (called a National Language Support [NLS] version).
- Externalized text is contained in industry-standard XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF)-based resource bundles, enabling not only safe, fast translation but also easy maintenance on a per language basis.
- Currency, date, time, characters, reading and writing directions, and other local standards and conventions are automatically built in for developers. Oracle ADF uses the industry-standard i18n support of Oracle Java and Unicode.
- Users can enter and display data in their language of choice, independent of the language of the user interface: relying on what we call multilingual support (or MLS) architecture.
- The software includes global and country-specific localizations that provide functionality for country- and region-specific statutory regulatory requirements, compliance reporting, local data protection rules, business conventions, organizational structure, payroll, and other real-world necessities for doing business with enterprise software.
- Users can switch the language of their application session through personalization options.
- NLS versions can be customized and extended in different languages by using Oracle composer tools to align with to align with their business identity and process. Translated versions too rely on the same architecture as the U.S. version for safe customizations and updates.
How We Translate
During development, the U.S. English source text is pseudo-translated using different language characters (such as symbols, Korean and Arabic characters), "padded" to simulate the longer words of other languages, and then tested with international data by product teams. This enables developers to test for translation and internationalization issues (such as any hard-coded strings still in English, or spacing, alignment, and bi-directional rendering issues) before external translation starts.
Internationalized from the get-go: Oracle Sales Cloud in Hebrew (Release 8) shows the built-in bi-directional power of Oracle ADF.
For every target language, the Oracle Worldwide Product Translation Group (WPTG) contracts with professional translators in each country to perform the translation work. Importantly, these in-country translators do not perform literal translations of content but use the choice terms, style, and tone that local Oracle WPTG language specialists specify and that our applications users demand in each country or locale.
Mockup of an Oracle Sales Cloud landing page in French. (Image credit: Laurent Adgie, Oracle Senior Sales Consultant)
NLS versions of Oracle Applications Cloud are made available to customers at the same time as the U.S. English version, released as NLS language packs that contain the translated user interface (UI) text, messages, and embedded help for each language. The secret sauce of this ability to make language versions available at the same time is a combination of Oracle technology and smart people too: translation, in fact, begins as soon as the text is created, and not when it's released!
And, of course, before the NLS versions of Oracle Applications Cloud are released, Oracle language quality and functional testing teams rigorously test them.
The Language of Choice
Imagine an application that will be used in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. What words should you choose for the UI?
- The label Last Name or Surname?
- The label Social Security Number, Social Insurance Number, or National Identification Number?
- The MM-DD-YYYY, DD-MM-YYYY, or YYYY-MM-DD date format?
The right word choice for a label in one country, region, or protectorate is not necessarily the right word choice in another. Insight and care is needed in that decision. Language is a critical part of UX and, in the Oracle Applications Cloud UX, all the text you see is written by information development professionals, leaving software developers free to concentrate on building the applications productively and consistently using UX design patterns based on Oracle ADF components.
Our focus on language design—choosing accurate words and specialized terms and pairing them with a naturally conversational voice and tone—and providing descriptions and context for translators and customizers alike-also enables easy translation. Translated versions of application user interface pages are ultimately only as accurate, clear, and understandable as their source pages.
In a future blog post we'll explore how PaaS4SaaS partners and developers using the Oracle Applications Cloud Simplified UX Rapid Development Kit can choose words for their simplified UIs that will resonate with the user’s world and optimize the overall experience.
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