Wednesday, August 8, 2007

bush telegraph

According to Sitemeter, the number of Mac users among Paperpools readers ranges between 20% and 38%. This means, of course, that the Paperpoolship is not typical of the population as a whole, where Macs struggle to achieve a 6% market share.

Ahem. Does anybody know anybody?

The Help offered on a Mac for input in Hangul looks like this:

Help for Japanese input looks like this:
Help for Traditional Chinese Input looks, well, pretty authentically Chinese:

As far as I can make out there are no plans to fix this, ähm, slight impediment to usability in Leopard. I'm a bit baffled. There are many second- and third-generation Chinese-Americans, Japanese-Americans and Korean-Americans who are likelier to be fluent in Unix than in C/J/K but may well have reason to include one of the latter in a document -- and that's not even taking into account the very large number of English-speakers (or, of course, French-speakers, German-speakers, Italian-speakers and so on) with an interest in the languages that falls short of fluency. Could Apple really not fix this? Seems like there must be plenty of people who'd be only too happy to translate if asked.

So -- does anybody know anybody?


foon said...

Sorry to reveal my ignorance, but as I see it there are three problems you might be talking about, and given said ignorance I can't limit it any further.

Potential Problem 1: UI is mis-matched, and the Chinese version significantly uglier than the others. Probably true.

PP 2: There's some complete inaccuracy or incongruity in the texts of the screens. But I don't know, because of ignorance mentioned above.

PP 3: There ought to be some hints for e.g. English speakers who are curious about Hangul. I suspect this is the problem but I can't rule out the others.

Can you elaborate? Or pick a number 1-3?

Ithaca said...

I thought it would be helpful if the Help were written in English. That is, for someone who buys a Mac in an English-speaking country it would be helpful if all three Helps were written in English. A German Mac comes with a German keyboard; Germans would presumably find Help in German most helpful, even for inputting Chinese or Hangul or Japanese, but my guess is most Europeans could scrape by, at a pinch, if the Help were written in English. I think my feeling was, if one is studying a language one can't necessarily instantly read technical advice written in that language -- my German is pretty good for many things, but I still find German computer instructions hard to follow.

Long story short, I really just thought the Help for these various types of input should be translated.

foon said...

I think it's safe to say that the people who concern themselves with this kind of thing are aware of the problem.

Ithaca said...

Couldn't they offer a quick-and-dirty fix, though, while fine-tuning the real thing (which users have been awaiting for the last 8 years)? Surely many users would be happy to provide a translation that could be posted in PDF on the Apple site.