Skip to main content

Topic: Localized software is hard to use (Read 2801 times)

  • j7n
  • [*][*][*][*]
Localized software is hard to use
ׂ
  • Last Edit: 2014-04-24, 04:21:46 by j7n

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #1
It should be (I know it always isn't, but it should be) easy to switch the system locale. Just like it's easy to switch locales in Opera browser. It's even easier in Skype. Or used to be.

My queerest locale-related experience occurred with Antix Linux. At live boot I could choose the system locale. I chose the thing labelled Estonian (et). It switched to Ethiopian. You know that there's a unique syllabary that Ethiopian uses, right? So, the keyboard became completely unusable. I tried to like the distro but couldn't.

Apparently some Greeks are doing Antix Linux. Greek is yet another alphabet, familiar but not the same thing.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #2
It should be (I know it always isn't, but it should be) easy to switch the system locale. Just like it's easy to switch locales in Opera browser. It's even easier in Skype. Or used to be.

Not in Windows prior to Vista, it's not.

  • Macallan
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #3

On top of that, the Russian alphabet is freaking wrong, when the word "Звуки" (Zvuki), clearly beiginning with the letter Z does not appear at the end, but more closer to the beginning. This system is driving me crazy.

Why in Cthulhu's name would you expect latin ordering with the cyrillic alphabet? :insane:
Putting З at the end would be freaking wrong.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #4
@Frenzie
You mean it's not easy to switch locale in Skype? I remember a list of locales in the menu, just select and it's applied. It was as simple as that. On Linux it requires a restart.

It's possible that the switching style has changed on Windows, but that would be a matter of Skype versions, not Windows versions. No?

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #5
Just like it's easy to switch locales in Opera browser.
Take a hike!
When you've got a localised installation - you can't.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #6
Changing Opera's locale was always as easy as replacing the lang file. (Not talking about Chropera here. Don't know how it is there.)

  • j7n
  • [*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #7
ׂ
  • Last Edit: 2014-04-24, 04:21:33 by j7n

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #8
Ersi, I didn't try.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #9
You mean it's not easy to switch locale in Skype? I remember a list of locales in the menu, just select and it's applied. It was as simple as that. On Linux it requires a restart.

I meant for Windows itself, sorry.

Do Windows Seven and Eight include Multi-Languae Interfaces in the base package?

No, only on professional and ultimate. Lame, huh?

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #10

When I got to entering the product key, I couldn't type the letter Q, because it wasn't anywhere to be seen on the keyboard, due to not being part of the Latvian alphabet. The keyboard I picked had its keys shuffled around. Nobody uses this keyboard here as far as I am aware. I wasn't proficient enough with the computer to bypass this obstacle, and had to reinstall the system from scratch once more.

Now you are hopefully more proficient and know that system locale and keyboard layout are different things. Keyboard layout has always been reasonably easy to change on Windows, even though it's even easier on Linux (except when you start with Ethiopian out of the box).

I have tried out many layouts and found to my shock that indeed some Latin-based layouts change the base letters. For example Romanian switches Z and Y around. Why?!

Luckily Estonian, Finnish, and Swedish, which I use most, are all reasonable keyboard layouts. They don't change the base letters. By base letters I mean the Latin letters without diacritics. Danish changed something, IIRC. Russian and Greek, which I also occasionally need, are much tougher to handle. Typing is painfully slow with them.

  • j7n
  • [*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #11
ׂ
  • Last Edit: 2014-04-24, 04:21:24 by j7n

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #12
I have tried out many layouts and found to my shock that indeed some Latin-based layouts change the base letters. For example Romanian switches Z and Y around. Why?!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AZERTY
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ

But while installing Windows, there were no obvious methods to switch applications, use copy-and-paste, or access keyboard layout switches. The screen is blank and only the setup dialog is shown. Maybe there are ways to escape from it, but back then I didn't find it, and had to work with what was shown to me.

There is in the Windows 7 setup, btw.

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #13

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AZERTY
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ

I know that these exist. It's that I see no rational justification for their existence.

Then again, history of the keyboard layout is irrational. The alphabet, itself in merely random historical order, is what it is, but keyboard layout is completely different. From what I have read, the inventor of the typing machine intentionally created confusion in keyboard layout to force users to type slower. The original typing machines had long mechanical hammers that all aimed at the same spot in the machine, so that pressing several keys at the same time or merely typing too fast caused the hammers to hit each other. So, historically it was intended that we type slow and look for letters in weird places. The keyboard layouts that change the base letters merely continue the tradition in this sense. Always happy to confuse users.

In addition to system locale and keyboard layout, there's a third distinct thing: spellcheck dictionaries. It's odd how many programmers think that keeping spellcheck dictionary the same as the system locale is enough. To me, dealing with many languages, this never made sense. I need to switch the dictionaries on the fly and very often.

When Opera finally introduced spellcheck dictionaries, they made it perfect. In the typing area you could always see by right-click what dictionary was in use and change it. This is how it should be everywhere.

  • jax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #14
When you've got a localised installation - you can't.


Of course you can, you just add the locale you need. Opera is close to locale switching as it should be done, including (as it is a browser) language fallbacks.

Pre-7 Windows (or pre-Vista?) was the way it shouldn't be done. You needed to pay for another licence to get another language, and actual language switching would be impracticable.

Generally by now having a multi-language setup is getting workable. My devices move around and need to grok at a minimum Norwegian, English, Czech, Chinese, and Swedish (with English as the default language). The components have to be separate. The program language, the keyboard, the text language can be, and in my case often are, different.

On an OS level that is not a problem with either Windows 8 or Android. Some programs get confused, when I installed an Epson driver it switched language mid-installation from English to Chinese (a language I don't understand).

The most common annoyance these days are those programs that confuse the languages you master or want to use and the majority language where you happen to be. Google led the charge on that one. When I was in Helsinki airport all my Google services had switched to Finnish (switching the phone locale to Finnish is probably the oldest phone prank there is, but Google got several decades late to the game).

Google has learned by now, if you are logged in you generally get your locale where you might be in the world, but it still default to this assumption. Except for Google Map, the service where you would want to default to where you are, that service defaults to North America, one place on the planet I never am these days.

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #15
I always presumed there was logic in the layout, its keys' order.  It could be letter frequency in the certain language, and/or letter clusters' frequency (syntagmatic issues), plus very likely ergonomic issues - balanced use of your fingers. (I guess there could be a sort of some 'random starters', too.)

  • ersi
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #16

Except for Google Map, the service where you would want to default to where you are, that service defaults to North America, one place on the planet I never am these days.
AFAIK, Google Maps default to your perceived location, if you use geolocation. You have to specifically enable it. I haven't and won't, but there have been moments when the option popped up and bothered me. Find it.

Otherwise, you can cause Google Map default to some other location by using URL like maps.google.de or maps.google.se etc.

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #17
Yeah, Google thinks he's a smart arse, huh? ;)

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #18
I know that these exist. It's that I see no rational justification for their existence.

It's not as if QWERTY keyboards are all that similar either. I prefer the ANSI layout, rather than the ISO one. The unequal shift length in ISO is a grave, horrible sin. If they were looking for a space to stick \|, maybe they should've split Caps Lock in two. In fact on one of my mechanical typewriters they did just that, and Caps Lock is just a tiny button.

  • jax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #19
AFAIK, Google Maps default to your perceived location, if you use geolocation. You have to specifically enable it. I haven't and won't, but there have been moments when the option popped up and bothered me. Find it.

Otherwise, you can cause Google Map default to some other location by using URL like maps.google.de or maps.google.se etc.


Yes, I like to use Google as an example of a huge company that get basic defaults wrong (somewhat less these days), but I also use it as an example of a company that let you override those faulty assumptions, by URL or by links. There are other companies that make faulty assumptions and stick with them.

Overriding assumptions still take time and effort, and with Google it could be a streak of them. If you were in e.g. Hong Kong you could get Chinese language, Hong Kong setting, and the mobile version (since Google in its received wisdom believes that people prefer the brain damaged version to the version it made for others), in principle you might even have to override the "you don't want to use Opera with our services" setting.

Add to that the time to get online on an airport, which often includes a cumbersome registration process, the 20 minutes you have free after walking and security theatre may be cut down to 5 minutes or 0.

  • Frenzie
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Administrator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #20
There are other companies that make faulty assumptions and stick with them.

An example: one of the reasons that I'm not with the provider Scarlet is that they completely blocked access to their website. Why? I approached it from The Netherlands, so surely I was mistaken and needed to visit scarlet.nl instead. And they didn't even include a phone number or e-mail address.

  • jax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Global Moderator
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #21

I have tried out many layouts and found to my shock that indeed some Latin-based layouts change the base letters. For example Romanian switches Z and Y around. Why?!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AZERTY
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ
Czech use QWERTZ. Fortunately I have been able to stay away from the AZERTY zone, but QWERTZ alone slowed me down considerably. Type-type-type... Oh a "y" is coming up, shall I use the "Y" or "Z" key? Tzpe-tzpe-tzpe... This was an issue whether I was writing Cyech or some other language.

Zou need a Cyech kezboard to write Cyech, but fortunately nowadays QWERTY Czech is an available option, so I need not think about what I am writing any longer.

Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #22
AFAIK, Dvorak layouts are performance-oriented. QWERTY for computers is a matter of legacy.

  • Banned Member
  • [*]
  • Banned
Re: Localized software is hard to use
Reply #23
My XP:tada:, while being "localised", easily offers multiple layouts: no problem at all - I switch between German, English UK and Russian in a blink of a shortcut:zzz: