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1050 - What should I do to ensure a pieces' multi-language support?

by - Joseph Ganci

I've read the thread about Making projects multinational, but I have some more basic questions. I'm evaluating Authorware to see if it meets my company's needs for making tutorials for our customers, so I know very little about the software itself right now. Since my company makes translation memory software, it's imperative that we be able to localize our trainings quickly and easily - preferably using our software ;-)

I understand that we could have different text files for each language, but what text exactly is in these files? What format is this text in (.txt, .rtf, etc.)? Is it everything that would need to be translated, or is there a lot of other text that would need to be translated piece by piece inside Authorware?

Any insight into how others accomplish this would be very much appreciated.

I needed to convert an application recently from English to Portuguese, with the understanding that there would be other languages later. I also knew that the application I had written would continue to evolve over time. With growing horror, I realized that if I didn't do something quick, every time I made changes to the functionality of my application, I would need to make the same change to multiple others, with the added necessity to quality assure each and every language each time.

The ultimate solution is to have all the text be database-driven, so that you can just switch out database files each time. Alternatively, you can place all the text in separate text files and read them in, or separate RTF files to be read in. Because my app is not very large, I basically ran through it and replaced every text item with one of several list variables, called directions, captions, prompts, questions, feedbacks, etc. I then placed all the text in calc icons, assigning them to the proper list variables. I placed all the English calcs in one Map icon, and all the Portuguese in a second Map icon. I then attached both Maps to a Decision icon with a Calculated field set to a variable called "language". I change the language value to 1 to run it in English, 2 for Portuguese, and I can add many other languages the same way.

I even went so far as to create a series of input forms so that users could change any language elements without having to go into the Calcs. The input forms are only used in source mode and use the SetCalc and GetCalc functions to change the contents of the Calcs, but creating the input forms is not really necessary, only a convenience for my client who likes to get into the source code.

In a few months, we will be moving to a database-driven system. The cool thing is that the application is now completely set up for it. The only difference will be that the lists will be loaded from the database instead of from the Calcs.

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