Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Translate?

What is the language translation market?
On Internet and desktop PC's and mobile devices English is the primary language used worldwide and hence majority content and software is developed in that language. Supporting multiple languages is essentially a costly activity with rewards only as per demand. It is done for most global software otherwise its "English only".

To add, to an interesting insight is made available by Internet World Stats's pages: Up-to-Date Internet World Stats  Specifically checkout the "Internet Penetration" a benchmark ratio between the sum of Internet users speaking a language and the total population estimate that speaks that specific language.

Check the page here: Worldwide its at 30 percent. What this means is 70% are non english users using the internet who do not speak that language. To take an example of India - although majority of education is in English the spoken language is different. Infact in India, Hindi is official language so most of the users may be of that category (in 70%).  

Language Easiness
For most users who know English, even though they do not speak english language would be "comfortable" with using the english language internet. But some rural population (less education) could have "difficulty" in "understanding" because the basic education is not in English. Particularly in non-metro cities (tier 2, 3) getting on the internet for information/knowledge and sharing may not be that productive.

What should be done?
Well its imperative that these users "learn" English so they can understand. That is definately good and the general trend. Having said that globally there are users who would'nt want to "use" English for own reasons and these could be "sensitive" in nature too. Let's discuss what are the solutions available for these users.

What are the tools?
For all small text translation needs its Bing and Google. Some other tools are here. 

Websites, Applications and Data
When there is a need and demand for global users Software Developers take "Globalization and Localization of Applications" methodology and though its time consuming and complicated its obviously the better route. 

Methods for types-of-applications are mainly two main routes:
Java Applications  - Uses resource strings for each language supported
Database Applications - Uses a database column for each language for each of the application text.

Websites - Automatic language translators that translate all content to any language are now available.

A detailed set of activities are documented here.

Data Input
The Unicode Consortium enables data to be represented as a number so all alphabets from all languages can be represented as computer data and also easier translatable display. "Input Keyboard" - this is solved by installing appropriate language Font and keyboard layout. An example can be found here.

Depending on the user need and application today its possible to provide an appropriate solution so as to get benefitted from desired language and the "translation" is solved!

Disclaimer:Opinons expressed in this article are my own. Website links are not owned by me and are owned by respective owners.