The following sections discuss using general Motif guidelines in an international environment.
The guidelines stated for capitalization in this manual are for the English language developer. When an application is developed in another language or translated to another language, the rules of that language must be followed. For example, in the German language all nouns are capitalized, no matter what their position in a phrase or sentence.
The space for a translated column head may need to be increased. You can create the additional space by increasing the number of rows in the heading.
The translation of a label may cause a field to be misaligned. Fields must be realigned after translation.
Labels sometimes reflect a localized or culturally sensitive format. Allow the translator to edit the descriptive text.
Allow a user to press the unaccented uppercase or lowercase character to access accented first letters when using first-letter cursor navigation.
For a description of first-letter cursor navigation, see "First-Letter Cursor Navigation".
Using Alt (A - Z) for shortcut keys can be awkward on non-United States keyboards since only a left-hand Alt key or a right-hand Alt key may be available for this function.
Each country has a different way of sorting and may have several ways of sorting within the country, such as in a telephone book or a dictionary. The Sort menu may have to allow selection of these criteria based on the requirements of the country or application. In addition, when lists are ordered alphabetically, as in spin boxes, the list must be reordered after translation.
You may not always be able to design a graphical symbol (like an icon or a pointer) that adequately represents the same object or function in different countries. Cultural differences impact even seemingly universal symbols. For example, sending and receiving electronic mail is a common function, but representing that function with a picture of a mail box may be inappropriate because the appearance of mail boxes varies among countries.
When used correctly, graphical symbols offer the following advantages:
Use the following guidelines when designing icons, symbols, or pointer shapes:
Different countries require data to be represented in different ways. Besides the language differences, other data (such as currency) varies from country to country. The following list describes these data formats and includes an example of each:
The comma, period, space, and apostrophe are examples of valid separators for units of thousands.
1,234,567 1.234.567 1 234 567 1'234'567
The comma, period, and center dot are examples of valid separators for decimal fractions.
5,234 5.234 5
Grouping may not be restricted to thousands separators.
The symbols + (plus) and - (minus) can appear before or after the number. You can enclose negative numbers in parentheses in certain applications, such as spreadsheets.
234+ +234 234- -234 (234)
The comma, period, and colon are examples of valid separators for currency. There can be one or no space between the currency symbol and the amount.
Kr. 3,50 Sch3.50 FIM 3:50 3F50 350 Pts ESC3.50
Most countries use the Gregorian calendar but the dates may be formatted differently. Separators might be different or might not be used. The hyphen, comma, period, space, and slash are all valid separators for the day, month, and year. In numeric date formats, the month and day fields might be reversed and, in some cases, the year field might come first.
4/8/96 or 8/4/96 for August 4, 1996 961029 or 962910 for October 29, 1996
The colon, period, and space are valid separators for hours, minutes, and seconds. You can sometimes use the letter h to separate hours and minutes. Also, you may use either 12- or 24-hour notation. For 12-hour notation, a.m. or p.m. might appear after the time, separated by a space. You can also indicate the time zone for a given time.
1307 13:07 01 07 01h07 1.07 p.m 13:07:31.30 IST (Indian Standard Time)
Telephone numbers can contain blanks, commas, hyphens, periods, and brackets as valid separators. You can display telephone numbers in local, national, and international formats. Local formats vary. National formats might have an area code in parentheses. The international format does not use parentheses, but adds a + (plus) at the beginning of the number to indicate the country code.
(038) 473589 +44 (038) 473589 617.555.2199 (617) 555-2199 1 (617) 555-2199 (1) 617 555 2199 911 1-800-ORDERME
Addresses can vary from two to six lines long and can include any character used in the locale's character set. The post code (zip code) can be in various positions in the address and can include alphabetic characters and separators as well as numbers.
Herr Dipl. Ing. Schmidt Stolbergerstrasse 90 D-200 Hamburg 55 GER Madame Dupont Claudette 17, Rue Louis Guerin F-69626 Lyon-Villuerbanne France
In some languages, users cannot type characters from the keyboard into a text control. Instead, the user must apply multiple key combinations to form the symbols that appear in the text-entry field. For these languages, you must provide a preedit area. The text is typed into the preedit area until the user indicates the text is complete; the text is then converted and sent to the text control.
You must address the following issues when providing a preedit area:
The location of the preedit area depends on a variety of software considerations. Ideally, preedit should occur in place in the text control being edited. The following list describes three preedit locating methods:
With the on-the-spot method, the text control may contain both unconverted and final characters. You should show the portions of the text that have been converted by using a visual cue, such as a different font, color, or highlight.
When the preedit text is converted into the final characters, there might not be enough information to unambiguously convert the text. If there is not enough information, the conversion either:
ASCII and extended ASCII character sets are single-byte character sets (SBCSs). That is, there are no more than 256 unique characters in an SBCS. The English language uses an SBCS. Some languages, like Japanese or Chinese, have a larger set of unique characters that constitute more than what a single byte can represent. These character sets are called multibyte character sets (MBCSs). The following sections address multibyte character set guidelines.
When a user types a valid mnemonic, the cursor moves to the choice that the mnemonic is assigned to and the choice is automatically activated. This saves keystrokes for choices that are usually activated explicitly.
All the guidelines for mnemonics in an SBCS language apply to an MBCS language except for how the mnemonics appear. If all the letters in a choice are already assigned, or the choice consists of MBCS characters, you may choose another letter or a keyboard character, such as the comma (,). You should assign the same mnemonic to choices that appear many times throughout an application.
Applications translated from SBCS languages to MBCS languages can keep the SBCS mnemonics. Place the mnemonics in parentheses following the word.
For controls that specify choices be shown in a specific sort order, such as alphabetic order, the sort order may actually depend on the application. For example, in Japanese Kanji it may be better to sort by Japanese phonetic order or some other appropriate order, depending on the information in the field.
Well-written screen text makes an application easier for users to understand. It also makes translation easier. Use the following guidelines when writing screen text for translation:
Designing software in modules makes translation easier. A modular application requires fewer files; therefore, fewer files must be translated. Use the following guidelines when designing software:
Use the internationalization tools on your system to create a different set of language-dependent text files for each market you are designing for.