Why and how we want to translate cool Japanese tools:
When it comes to customizing your box there's a whole bunch of sites, applications available only in Japanese, interlinking with the English oriŽntated web is scarce. But the software is often coded from a unsuspected point of view, things are done - sometimes radically - different. Major reason for it being a seperate scene, we may suspect, is the communication problem - apprehension of the English language isn't common in Japan (and if so, languages still differ immensely; a misunderstanding is easily accomplished).
Like said, apprehension of English is not widespread, but that goes two ways. Japanese is very hard to understand, and there's different character sets. You might find the word "kana" - phonetic character sets, most easy to translate. But there's also "kanji", one character symbols with a detailed meaning in themselves - it's here online translators fail to see context and produce the fun gibberish. So, translating even a little daily life story can be a nightmare...
But, we're dealing with software here. Settings, buttons have an effect you can see, all systray popup menus have a close and about, settings are stored in .ini or registry with English words etc. It takes time, but English speaking part of the world dealing with computers and software has a default for a lot of things (it's always a close button, never a quit button), so you often have that helping you while translating an application.
Main goal, and we'd like to keep the focus there (!), is providin
g translated versions of software to their Ja
Aside, we're aiming at:
- Gaining an overview of what's available from Japan, details on functions, if it works and what's needed to get it more accessible.
- Joining efforts in translation, be a tool to coŲrdinate, stimulate, announce and ask for help.
- Thus gaining a group of interested people, hopefully with some multilangual knowledge available.
- Make sure all efforts are and stay available; find a proper home for all translation done.
No need for anything to take place here, necessarily. If you've got some contact running, take it where you want. We do appreciate to be aware of it, that's the purpose of this forum.
If and when results are achieved, and somehow fall "under the flag" of Virtual Plastic (meaning we're willing to start conversation, contact authors on permissions etc, publish translations of dialogs/texts, host binaries if necessary):
- Translations of dialogs, readme's etc may be published here, with notification of the author.
Translations of executables are:
- first offered to the author for publication;
- if not desired, permission to publish is asked;
- if denied, screenshots/translation of text may be published;
- if permitted, binaries may be hosted here (or with anybody involved in the project).
The actual translation can be done two ways. Either you have contacted developer and you've got the source files to translate, or the Japanese application needs to be modified with a resource editor. Those tools are here
. The freeware tool amongst these, Resource Hacker, can be used to do most, if not all work, but you might explore the others, they all have their specific good points. For the developer, there's two choices. Either he puts up the translation as a seperate download, or he creates a multi-langual version, incorporating your translation.
There's a couple of online translation tools, which at least give some kind of impression on what's presented at a website. Those marked with * have a proper plain text translator also:
For looking up specific words, there's dictionary tools available. JquickTrans
is a shareware dictionary tool, quite advanced. And a free option is JWPce
You'll need all 4 installation parts (just unzip to same directory and that's it), plus should also pickup the computer related dictionary file. Recommended!
With these, we were able to translate some relatively simple applications. For some, the need to have multilanguagal help available is obvious. In general, it's notable a strict translation is near to impossible, giving the language differences. Try to grasp what's being said about the application, and rather fit it in a form that's standard for western applications. "Alteration past record", sure. If you put down "Version history" we all understand.
Some stuff that might help you while translating:
Lots of apps making use of an .ini file. With a bit of trial and error, you can find an explanation of a setting in English there. If writing to the registry, HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software is usually to place to find settings.
If using babelfish, don't let "idea contest" fool you; it's an incorrect translation for "icon".
While browsing Japanese sites, look at your statusbar. It often gives you hints on where you're going.
In general, it clears view seeing a Japanese page as intended, with correct characters. Add Japanese language support to IE, if you're using that (no direct link, go to Windows update and browse files). Notable, and coming with it, MS Gothic and MS Mincho are the fonts with full Japanese character sets inside.
When it doubt, it helps to compare output of translators online, as well as a possible explanation by the author. He/she may not be able to explain properly in English, it still adds up to general impression.
A little word on the difference between western and eastern languages, and how to proceed when contacting a developer. We told you about the immense differences in languages - this reflects an immense cultural difference. That, along with the fact a lot of Japanese (developers) ain't very comfortable with the English language, so also not " western culture" as such, tells you to be cautious. Experience shows it's easy to offend the Japanese. If they don't grasp your funny or easily typed lines, there's a chance they get misunderstood.
That's not telling they're acting funny in socializing or something, just that the culture is different, and maybe we could learn something from it, if we try to understand (meaning our encounters, if we communicated clearly, were very pleasant, and the sense of honor/credit given to other people is more native to the Japanese culture then it seems to be for our western cultures - there's lots to be admired in Japanese culture, and the results of that spirit show online in works achieved (be it programming, art (icons!), anything).
But, back to contacting people. Simple reasoning tells you to:
- keep it short, avoid confusion;
- be clear, show your appreciation for what's achieved, and state your mission in brief words;
- that's using punctuation and all. Even two spacebreaks between different subjects does some good. It always does ofcourse, but we tend to forget in our culture(s);
- keep it a bit formal.
Ofcourse, any response will tell you more on where developer stands re: english, language and culture, and you can probably loosen up a bit. Apologies if this all sounds too obvious; just stressing a misunderstanding is easily accomplished.
Simple, it's in what's said before, yes, but another thing that needs to be stressed:
- Keep focus on goal, don't run with translations/source. Temporal hosting of some files, ok, but no project is considered finished if developer hasn't spoken out on what's to be done with results.
Japanese (free) software sites, with links to many applications:
Well, "finished", we hope to be available for future updates and all, but these apps have an English translation originating here:
- We got send the translation by the Serpent Mage of Context viewer; we contacted author and it got available at his place. Site is down, so we now provide the file. Likewise, philsci from crossedge.net translated dialogs/readme of a similar tool, CyottoMi
- Bottom, power tool to send windows down in desktop order and some more; really cool concept (dragging cursors).
- "Joe" and "WipeOut", tools by system13 are having a multi-langual release, thanks to nhoj for cooperation!
- Notable, AutoSmall. Sets desktop icons to small after a predefined amount of icons is reached (translation thanks to spyder :).
- Our man spyder helped out translating QuickMenu, cool extension to your desktop rightclickmenu (or even serving as a replacement for it).