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Need better tools for localization

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  • The Multilingual App Toolkit (MAT, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/hh848309.aspx) is a great start for producing localized versions of Windows Store apps. But sometimes it's not quite enough to get you all the way.

    For example, often it would be useful to produce screenshots of your app to help set the translators' context for certain strings that need to be translated. Taking the screenshots is not a problem, of course. The problem is to annotate the various strings in the screenshots with the corresponding string identifiers (x:Uid) as they show up in the .xlf files that the MAT produces. It doesn't seem to be possible to pull the x:Uid identifiers out of the running app in any way. That information doesn't make it into the in-memory representation of the visual/logical element tree. Or does it? I could be wrong, but I haven't seen anything in the documentation so far. 

    Another concern is that some elements in the UI have limitations on the length of the text that can be displayed (fluid layout is not possible and wrapping / truncating of text is not allowed by the UI/UX team.) For these elements, it would be helpful to be able to easily cross-reference a UI element with an x:Uid to annotate the .xlf file with information such as "This string can only be up to 35 characters long".

    Does anyone have experience in this area? Does Microsoft have additional tools for this? Could Microsoft help explore options to solve these issues?

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013 10:58 PM

Answers

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  • Hi Oluf,

    For the first issue, my suggestion is to generate a pseudo translation first. You can actually put the uid into the pseudo translation so you can take the screenshots in pseudo language and send to translators.

    Please see Step 5: Test your app using Pseudo Language and Run a pseudo-localized version of a program for more information.

    For the second issue, I think you can put that information in the comments field of the resource string.

    Best regards,


    Min Zhu
    MSDN Community Support | Feedback to us
    Develop and promote your apps in Windows Store
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.

    Thursday, March 7, 2013 3:07 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Min,

    Thanks for the suggestions. If you follow these from the start of a project, they will work well. Not so much once you have 200+ strings already in your resource file and need to get started on localization. That is the situation where a tool would help immensely.

    I see a couple of other drawbacks to what you're suggesting. The advantage of the pseudo language translation in combination with the MAT is that you can get an impression of where your UI has flexible layout which allows for translations with no practical string length limitations (the MAT pseudo language string generation lengthens the strings and makes them still semi-readable). Using the pseudo language to display Uids would remove that advantage of the pseudo language translation. Plus, there's no tool that automatically puts the Uids into the xlf files. You'd have to do that by hand or write a tool yourself. And you know that when you have to write a tool yourself you'll start thinking about whether it's worth it... Maybe the MAT tool could have an option to not only create pseudo translations, but also Uid "translations".

    Putting the string length limitation into the comments works, but depends on having an efficient way to identify the strings that need to be annotated as having such limits. That's where the idea of producing annotations within the app would help quite a bit.

    Thursday, March 14, 2013 9:45 PM
  • Hi Oluf,

    Thanks for the update. We will log your feedback for further triage.

    Best regards,


    Min Zhu
    MSDN Community Support | Feedback to us
    Develop and promote your apps in Windows Store
    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.

    Monday, March 18, 2013 6:12 AM
    Moderator