Non-English UI conventions
April 22, 2009 5:04 AM Subscribe
Tell me about UI conventions in a language you speak (and read) fluently that isn't English.
posted by No-sword to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I'm looking for native-speaker, or at least highly-fluent-speaker, opinion on UI conventions in languages other than English.
For example, take the UI command "Open". To me it feels like a command to the computer: "Open (a file) (for me)!" And in some languages it seems to be translated that way too, e.g. in Italian OS X at least it seems to be "Apri", which is, I believe, intended as the imperative form of "aprire" (to open).
But in French it is "Ouvrir", which is the infinitive and not an imperative, and Japanese it is 開く ("Hiraku"), which is not imperative. The Japanese seems to be oriented like an action from the user's point of view: "(I shall) open (a file)". I don't know what the feeling behind the French is.
That's where you come in! I am interested in literally anything and everything you have to say on UI translations in your language. What's common? What's awkward? Why does UI take the form it does in your language -- what is the implication of the forms used? Are there differences between Windows and OS X?
Note that I'm not just talking about single-verb UI. For example, still on the "Open" example, you can imagine various kinds of explanatory text: "Open a file", or maybe "Opens a file", depending on what style guide the original author was using. How would these be translated? And so on.
Note that while I welcome specific examples, I'm not really interested in "Here's a link to a 10-language glossary for GNU so-and-so, knock yourself out." I can access the raw information myself pretty easily. What I want is to learn more about the why. Thanks in advance!