'They don't even know the f***ing word Bold, let alone what the B means!'

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2013/03/18 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2013/03/18/10402731.aspx

Like this bit from Pulp Fiction:

     "Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris?"

     "They don't call it a quarter pounder with cheese?"

     "They have the metric system. they don't know what the *** a quarter pounder is."

 This change, something that McDonald's knew and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) learned while was in Europe but Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson didn't know is that if to give something to people that they don't understand, they won't be happy accepting it.

Maybe McDonald's came to France with their quarter pounder with cheese and found at the hard way that people didn't know what the f*** a quarter pounder was.

But they learned, either way. They learned....

kind of like Microsoft.

They have a bit of user interface about fonts in programs like WordPad:

 People who speak English generally understand that the B button makes text Bold, the I button italicizes, and the U button underlines. They can usually understand the crossed out abc button and the bigger A and smaller A buttons from context.

But what do people who don't speak English do?

As the title says, that people in Paris? 'They don't even know the f***ing word Bold, let alone what the B means!'

So in the country where they call it a royale with cheese, we go in a different direction:

As you can see, we put a G in there, for Gras, which is how one often says Bold when one is speaking French.

Now I am not 100% sure, but I think (and others agree with me) that these buttons might have bitmaps with the letters on them.

Such things are much more expensive to localize than plain text (they have to load the bitmaps from the .mui files which has to be loaded differently, and the localizer has to create images to use), but in this case I guess they decided it was worth it!

And you can see it many other languages. Do you know which languages these are?


Now localizers, once granted the power to understandably translate UI, can choose not to.

Like in this case:

Can you tell what language this is?

In another situation, they might have deemed it not worth the time -- in our Language Interface Packs.

Can you tell what languages these are from?

They may have locked these resources in Redmond to keep LIP costs down (these kinds of heavy duty localization engineering costs add up quickly!

Grzechooo on 18 Mar 2013 7:30 AM:

Counting from third screenshot:

Chinese, French, Russian, Greek, no idea, and Georgian.


Euro Micelli on 18 Mar 2013 7:55 AM:

Ah... That second screenshot (first one after the English one) is in Italian, not French. G stands for 'grassetto', C stands for 'corsivo', 'S' stands for 'sottolineato'.

John Cowan on 18 Mar 2013 8:54 AM:

And yet the Brits have lived with a stylized L to mean "pounds" for centuries without knowing what the bleep a *librum* is.

Kwpolska on 18 Mar 2013 9:42 AM:

Polish software, for unknown reasons, uses BIU (should be PKP or even PPP if you are crazy).  BIU feels better IMO.

WndSks on 18 Mar 2013 10:06 AM:

Seems to me like you switched French and Italian.

1st is Korean (As you cannot really fit Bold/Italic in one Hangul block I can see why they did it this way)

2nd is French(Italian) and then I'm guessing Russian and Greek.

(Spoiler: BTW, don't put the name in the image url next time)

Random832 on 18 Mar 2013 10:35 AM:

Why not have these as strings, that can be localized, and that Wordpad will render at runtime in that place in the toolbar in an appropriate font?

I notice that none of them has the "A" localized.

David Warner on 18 Mar 2013 3:56 PM:

#3 is Korean, not Chinese.

Even in languages that get the full localisation treatment (changed bitmaps and all), I presume the keyboard shortcuts remain the same - Ctrl+B doesn't become Ctrl+G, does it? (Speaking of shortcuts, is there no better solution for non-Latin alphabet languages than to display the shortcut key in brackets at the end of the button/menu text? 保存(S) for 'save' or ファイル(F) for 'file' looks ugly, and to someone who speaks Japanese but not English, the connection between 保存 'hozon' and 'S' probably isn't clear.)

Michael, this is a bit off-topic, but I was wondering if you could find time to write something about how the 'sample text' for previewing fonts in different scripts is chosen. The Windows font chooser dialog has sample text for Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Devanagari, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, but apparently not for Armenian, Bengali, Oriya, Lao, Tibetan or Georgian (or the Native American languages you've been writing about recently). I know enough about the first 9 scripts to understand how the sample text was chosen, but the sample text for the 6 Indic (Brahmic?) scripts seems to be the word for 'mother', which I find interesting.

I posted a question about this on Stack Overflow, but no-one has been able to help yet: stackoverflow.com/.../sample-text-for-common-scripts

David Warner on 18 Mar 2013 4:42 PM:

By the way, is the 'File' button text cut off for the Armenian and Georgian translations? It looks a bit that way to me (but I can't read either).

David Warner on 18 Mar 2013 4:52 PM:

Armenian and Cherokee, I meant to say.

Alex Cohn on 18 Mar 2013 6:47 PM:

Strange Armenian... looks like a pseudo-translation.

andreas on 18 Mar 2013 11:14 PM:

I don't care about the letters shown in the icon. but localized shortcuts drive me crazy.

ctrl-F(ett) for Bold conflicts with most editor's ctrl-F(ind).

and if you think ctrl-K in German Word would stand for Kursiv/italics then you're wrong:

ctrl-K is EditShortcut (shortKut?). you get Kursiv mith shift-ctrl-K ...

mind-boggling :-(

Peter Krefting on 19 Mar 2013 2:06 AM:

For the Windows 95 version, WordPad in Swedish used to use Ctrl+F (for "Fet") to create bold text, trading places with search Ctrl+B. That was extremely confusing, and I think they fixed it later on.

Azarien on 19 Mar 2013 8:49 AM:

@Kwpolska: Polish version of OpenOffice/LibreOffice uses GKP (for gruby-kursywa-podkreślony, I believe)

Azarien on 19 Mar 2013 8:51 AM:

Why there are two Cherokee?

Matthew Slyman on 15 Apr 2013 8:01 AM:

You've got the screenshots for French and Italian (ironically) mixed up! (Looks like "Euro Micelli" and "WndSks" raced me!) @"John Cowan", I've always wondered why they used "d" for pennies under the old system: after reading your comment I realise it's for "denarium/denarios"! Thanks for answering my question.

The others are Korean, Russian, Greek, ?1, Malayalam and ?2... (?1 and ?2 look remarkably similar! Are they based on Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics?) Your image URLs (cheating now, after the tip from WndSks) are wrong in some cases: you label a duplicate Cherokee screenshot as "Armenian" (which I would definitely have recognized, as it is so distinctive).

Please consider a donation to keep this archive running, maintained and free of advertising.
Donate €20 or more to receive an offline copy of the whole archive including all images.

go to newer or older post, or back to index or month or day