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I18n problem with foreign language OS

Here's a doozie:

My Windows OS is a German version of Windows. So the default MessageBoxes, for example, have "Ja", "Nein", and "Abbrechen" buttons instead of "Yes", "No", and "Cancel".

Let's say I install an English language version of third-party software program XYZZY. XYZZY displays English language messages, but when it uses default Windows dialogs provided by the OS, the buttons are in German.

This happens with lots of programs by many reputable companies. Especially with MessageBoxes, and File Dialogs.

When writing my own Windows software should I accept this as inevitable? Or use hand-coded replacements for Windows OS Dialogs that use the language of the software and not the language of the OS?
Travelling Steve Send private email
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Anyone who installs English language programs on German language Windows deserves what they get, which is to say, exactly what you got: English programs, with system dialogs in German. What else did you expect? ;)

I don't think it's a hard problem, and the solution is simple: you just suck it up. Most people will have the OS in the language their programs are in, and so it'll never be an issue. But if you write replacement dialogs, especially for stuff like MessageBox and the common dialogs, they never work properly, and they never work as well as the existing ones* -- and that IS an issue!

* -- yes, even if you think the existing ones suck, I guarantee that your replacements will still not even be as good!
Sunday, August 07, 2005
"Most people will have the OS in the language their programs are in, and so it'll never be an issue."

If you use an English language Windows, perhaps. But I suspect most people who use a non-English language Windows share my problem. There is plenty of software which I want to use but is not available in German. So I install the English language version, and get this half-German/half-English hybrid.
Travelling Steve Send private email
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Don't know your definition of "reputable" but the odds are that a reputable software product sooner or later gets localized into the target language. In which you have localized (ie German) custom GUI stuff interacting nicely with localized (ie German) OS-provided, pre-defined GUI stuff. No problem.

My personal experience with friends and family is that when using a foreign-language program, people are always glad to find that at least a few bits are in German. My grandfather always forgets what 'Cancel' means. If it's 'Abbrechen', at least he knows he can always safely escape when stuck somewhere.  =)
Phil Send private email
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Just watch out for how decimal points are handled in floats and money fields. For instance this:


hardwires the Win32 separator to be a full stop rather than a comma (thoroughly unprofessionally). You may prefer to pay more regard to local expectations :-)
Wednesday, August 17, 2005

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