Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

2 Engineering Globalised Information Services

In order to reach a large international user base it is necessary that globalisation of an information service is done properly. Its culturally and linguistically dependent parts must be isolated, a process referred to as internationalisation. The local market requirements for these items are encapsulated in the term locale. Localisation is the opposite of internationalisation, taking an internationalised service system and adding features to match it to the language and culture of the target market. The term globalisation means the whole process starting from feasibility studies, producing an internationalised base version of a service system and then deriving multiple localised versions or a multilingual version from it.


Table 1. Localisation requirements of an information service.
External Linguistic aspects Cultural aspects Local practices
Internal
Data and
Documentation
Language of data
Language of
documents, e.g.,
help texts
Differences within data
Training principles and
examples
Differences in locale
practices within data
Practices for documents
User interaction Language of UI
Input and output
methods for
script systems
Fonts
Hyphenation,
morphological and
grammar rules
Collation
Layout of UI
Symbols in UI (icons,
images, colours, sounds)
Presentation of
numeric data
Units of measure
Control of UI
(commands, terms,
mnemonics &
accelerators)
Data
encoding
Character encoding
Font libraries
Numbers
Calendar
Data and time
Addresses
Software
construction
Structure of application (the structure of core and other components) Software services (operating system support and other support s/w)
Hardware Internationalism aspects of hardware device access

Table 1 outlines localisation requirements of an information service along the internal aspects of the system and the external aspects of its use environment. Translation of user interface texts is just one part of the scene. There are multiple other details that need to be handled properly. Some of the requirements mean algorithmic generalisations, like adaptation of collation and support for alternating script systems. Also, the data that is handled within service systems is often language dependent. In respect to globalisation, textual data can be considered to fit in three categories: (1) fixed strings, e.g. in forms, are easy to handle with correspondence tables; (2) controlled language (CL) texts which are limited in domain, vocabulary and syntax; (3) unrestricted human language texts which are the most difficult ones. For CL texts there

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