Parlez-vous japonais?

by Nobi Hayashi


Update: I corrected some grammatical errors and confusing expression with help from Chris Stone. Nothing substantial has changed, but it may have become easier to read.
Update2: I corrected some of the quotes by James Thomson where I had misrepresented him.

Macintosh developers looking to increase user base might have something left to consider. As soon as you upload your software to MacUpdate or VersionTracker, people will find your creation and start downloading it. Those downloads will go on 24/7 because people not only from the US but from around the world will always be online. When it is midnight for the Californian, it is already 9am for Parisians and only 4pm for Tokyoites

But this will only happen if you design your software with internationalization in mind.
If Frédéric in Paris, اهمت (Ahmet) in Dubai and 一郎(Ichiro) in Tokyo realize that your software can't display their name correctly, things would be a little bit different.
Imagine having your name displayed in ASCII code on your birthday card like this:

Happy Birthday, 4A4F484E!

That's why internationalization is very important.
You can be successful focusing on the US market only. But if you internationalize your software, you can extend your reach and can enjoy even greater success. Plus, your self esteem would be much higher.

Let's see what someone with that expertise has to say.


2007-05-26 19:56:04
How does someone who speaks only English find translators to write the international resources? From what I've seen of other languages translated to English on the web I wouldn't trust my app to babelfish.
2007-05-27 06:58:38
There are many companies that offer internationalization services. These companies typically charge by the word. I used to have to translate into 10 languages so I would do calculations such as # of words x rate x # of languages - e.g. (1000 x 0.36 x 10). The rate depends on the language, which depends on the availability of translators. In North America, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, French and German are usually cheaper, whereas Arabic, Turk, Hebrew and the Northern and Eastern European languages are often more expensive. Of course, it pays to get multiple quotes.
2007-05-27 07:27:50
Mark , thank you for nice question. And drakdul, thank you for answering it.
I was going to answer them sometime next week but drakdul is correct about some companies.
But besides that, if you are lucky you may have a devoted fans who would do it for you voluntarily. For example, this web site has such unofficial (and official) Japanese resources:

But this kind of deal would only happen if your software supports their language. So if it does not, try to solve them.

Perhaps, you can start by copy/pasting the Japanese strings below to see, if your software input, display and search them correctly.

This is my name in Japanese characters:
林 信行