Now *that* gets localized, sometimes

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/04/13 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

The other day in response to Getting rid of that extra notification... (which turned out to be from the WIDCOMM BlueTooth driver that Dell installed -- it was a clean system but this one of the many recommended drivers from the Dell site for the machine!), Ivo commented:

No regard for system settings like fonts or themes. I bet it is not localized either :P

to which Cheong commented:

@Ivo: It's okay for not being localized... In fact I'd think people will have a problem unstand it had it be localized.

Now in this case I agree with Ivo, not Cheong.

As regular readers may recall after reading Flirting with a strange keyboard, will you remember its language in the morning?, many of the built-in keyboard layout DLLs that ship in Windows include localized key names in them.

Despite the problems that blog points out in some edge cases where an unexpected translation may be there, by and large people will get the key names in the language they expect any time an application retrieves those key names.

It would therefore be important for a user expecting to see Ver.Num: HORS or NUM-FESTSTELL: AUSSCHALTEN or whatever to be able to see that as the string in such cases.

Leaving it all in English is just not a good answer, especially if we know that isn't what users always have (it is our own Hardware division that is seeing the keyboards with the key names translated, so if this were a Microsoft feature it would be even worse if this support was not included....

Now it is possible, perhaps even likely, that the known problem with lack of communication between the keyboard layout DLL owners and the Microsoft keyboard hardware owners might even be further shown to exist if the names the keys have in one do not match the corresponding keys in the other. This might lead a hardware vendor to do an even better job than Microsoft is doing (or at least complaining to someone at MS about differences they have found!).

Now there is a larger issue here, related to MUI support provided by the vendors who create drivers (that run in kernel mode in many, though not all, cases) and accessories (that for the most part run in user mode).

This is an issue I will be talking about soon, in case there are folks out there interested in the topic. :-)

Dave Bacher on 13 Apr 2010 7:40 AM:

I'd absolutely say that it ought to be localized.  However, I would also think that it should put up a notification icon, and allow the setting to be changed in some immediately obvious way.

Compaq's used to use 1" tall green letters.  I don't think there's a system metric for that, so I think it's OK that it doesn't follow the theme settings.

Cheong on 14 Apr 2010 7:17 PM:

I said that for the localization scenerio in Chinese.

For users that using normal US keyboard or even those with "Chinese IME hint", we all know what "Caps Lock" is. (There's a key exactly on the keyboard named "Caps Lock", so user can understand it's something related to this key. After some try-and-error, it's not difficult to figure out what it does)

On the other hand, few have an idea on how it should be called in Chinese. ( I've asked a few of my friends and they don't know either. Only one of them can tell me it's "大寫鎖定") So at least in this scenerio, leaving it in standardized English name is better than having it translated to something not directly perceptable. (I think there's UI rule that system messages should use wordings that matches actionable items as much as possible.)

Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Apr 2010 9:33 PM:

A good localization job will match the typical user's keyboard's text, whatever it is (whether translated or not). If you look at the key names here only some are translated....

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