Posts Tagged ‘translation’

Pseüðo £òc äpp (Pseudo Loc app)

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

The games I’ve built for MSN Messenger have their largest audiences outside the US (something like 80% of the users are outside the US). Naturally, many of them speak other languages. So, every piece of text needs to be localized to every supported language. Besides checking that every piece is externalized so that it can be translated, the testers check two things: that my project supports other character sets–say, umlauts (like ä)–and that the display can handle the likely expansion when translated to more verbose languages. You can count on an increase of about 30% when going from English to German for example.

The projects need to get tested long before the translation occurs–and even before all the text is finalized. So, during production we take the “loc file” (an XML text file containing all onscreen text) and perform a pseudo localization by replacing the text with various special characters (umlauts among others). It looks a lot like l33t speak but it’s actually easy to read. In addition to replacing characters, additional padding is added to ensure it can accommodate the expected expansion. The way I’ve done it is by including brackets on each end of the text blocks to make it clear where it begins and ends. For example, the string:

Waiting for other player.

might get translated to:

[Wãïtíñg fo® öthér playé®. !!! !!!]

It’s actually kind of fun–and, like I say, easier than l33t speak, at least for someone of my age.

Here’s a little app that lets you play with it: link It draws from a list of replacements (here). I’ve been meaning to clean up the code and make a more generic class that others could use as mine is very hard-wired to the particular projects I’m working on. Tell me if it’s interesting and I could be motivated to clean it up. Really, it’s not rocket science… the concept is what’s interesting.