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Normal, Light, Minimum

I am translating some device strings, and sometimes you run into strings that just seem so wrong. Right now, I am working on a device that triggers a measurement when a user presses down on the measurement head. The user can select how much pressure has to be put on the device, and the options are Normal, Light and Minimum.

This just seems so wrong to me, shouldn’t “Normal” be the middle value and the choices should be Firm, Normal, Light or so? Ts…firmware engineers :-)

OMG - It’s full of mistakes!

So, we just had one of our applications translated into Greek. It is a very big application for a total of 13,000 words just strings. Initially, we had about a month so time was not a big issue and the translation got started on May 8th. Of course, these things change and all of a sudden, we needed it not by the beginning of June but for a show on May 20th. That means 12 days for the translation, cleaning up the bilingual files, importing the strings, fixing truncations and other issues, testing functionality and compiling DLLs. Of course we made it!

Now I was waiting for feedback. Nothing at all from the guys who were at the show. No “good job”, no “shame on you” - nothing. After a week, I inquired and I got the reply back that there were “a big number of errors”. That sent a shiver down my spine. We don’t have many translations into Greek, only one other application so I don’t know this translator very well. We don’t have any Greek reference material, but I asked and he confirmed that he knew the subject matter. And I myself can of course not check anything in Greek.

Turns out, it wasn’t all that bad. We had issues for all language because unless you are a printing press operator, you really can’t figure out some things. I remember asking our German guys questions and they had no clue either. Unfortunately, some terms that were wrong occured 50 or even 100 times so yeah, it looks like a lot. Correcting all strings took me a couple of hours of manual copy/paste, which is not bad at all.

It just irks me that the only feedback I get was that there are a lot of errors (which wasn’t even true). He never acknowledged that we did the impossible by turning this around so fast and that it worked fine. Only the tester mentioned that this must have been the fastest turn-around we had for any language but I am also getting a lot better at handling languages I know nothing about. The last translation we did for that was Russian - I am fine navigating through French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, but Russian and Greek are a whole different animal. If I see a truncation at runtime, I can’t just type in the text I see and search for it - I need a virtual keyboard and go letter by letter type in a keyword to search for. And I am amazed how nicely Trados and TagEditor handle the different character sets. I don’t think many people know what an ordeal it can be to have an application ready for non-Western character sets.

Ah well, believe it or not, I still love doing it - it’s a big girl puzzle and I am getting paid to solve it!

I am wearing jeans!

Kudos to my employer, and I really mean it. I believe they have found the one way to boost morale, that doesn’t cost a thing! We have “Casual Everyday” from now until Labor Day and we are allowed to wear jeans.
I never really understood the US dress code for employees. It was a bummer from day one - I can’t wear jeans to work? Impossible!
I understand that for some customer contact and for certain types of jobs, people have to wear attire that is a little more formal, but in all honesty - those people know, they don’t need a dress code. And if they don’t, there are bigger issues. For the majority of employees at my company there is no need to wear anything else.
Now, since corporate morale everywhere in the US is down, my company has sent out a company wide update with the new dress code that is in effect until Labor Day in September when it will be reviewed again. I am so happy!
On the other hand, that brings up a new question - why does it make me so happy that I can wear jeans. I am not a formal dresser, I actually wear mostly pants that are cut like jeans anyway but made out of a different fabric. But somehow, jeans is just a whole different world.

Survivor’s remorse - lay-off aftermath

So, yet another round of lay-offs has passed. Last week, I lost several of my nice benefits - tuition reimbursement being the one that would hurt the most and we got a pay cut. This was actually the aftermath of the “restructuring” earlier this year. Back then, they said that they may have to “do more” if business or the economy doesn’t pick up. Well, we all know, economy is still in bad shape, so yesterday we went through round 2.

I was in early because I wanted to leave early and my boss basically greeted me with the news. Believe me, this is not a good way to start you day. So, for the next few hours, you just keep your head down. You don’t move, you don’t look up. You work as hard as possible so everyone sees how busy you are - not that it matters because the decisions have been made already, but it is just my instinct. If the phone rings, your heart stops for a moment - until I saw on the caller ID that it was my husband. I told him not to call for the rest of the day or I’d need digitalis for my heart.

Either way, I survived, and today is just another day. Unfortunately, my chipper self is really down today, and when I told my husband (who is by the way allowed to call me again), he said that it sounds like “survivor’s remorse”. I looked it up and yeah, that’s pretty much it. Why were those people let go - some of them were here for 20+ years? And even more curious - why am I still here? If they were no good - why weren’t they canned before? Does performance even matter? What is the criterion?

But there is something else that bugs me today. Wherever I go, people are basically whispering and bad-mouthing the company. Hey, I still work here - AND SO DO YOU! I for one am happy to have a job right now. It is not like there is a job market out there with. Show my a similar company out there that is doing much better right now. And if you find a better company - well, maybe you should apply for a job. It’s not like I feel everything is hunky dory but right now I don’t feel like hearing all the trash-talk. I feel like curling up on the recliner with a bag of chocolate - or a bottle of something, I haven’t made up my mind.

Anyway, I guess I am still in-house…

Links:
X-Rite’s Kentwood headquarters feels brunt of about 30 job cuts
Photography Companies Provide Snapshot Of A Lousy Year
Survivor’s Remorse

Localization: Engineering Software for a Global Market

Here is a PDF that I printed from a Powerpoint presentation. This PPT was part of a presentation I did during my CS350 class (Introduction to Software Engineering). I have also added it to the company intranet as a quick reference for new developers - apparently, localization is rarely touched in CS classes.

If you work in software localization, have a look at it and let me know what you think. Is there something I should add?

Localization: Engineering Software for a Global Market

If you like to use this for anything, it would be nice to mention me as the creator. I have spent a lot of time creating this and you wouldn’t want to be credited for someone else’s work, would you?

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