Introduction of Windows Software Localizing
The majority of localized software products run on the Windows platform and the most commonly used development environment is Microsoft Visual Studio.
A Microsoft Windows software application contains a set of files that can be subdivided into four categories:
• Executables (.exe or .com)
• Additional binary program files such as drivers (.drv) or dynamic link libraries (.dlI)
• Online help files (.hlp, .cnt, or .chm)
• Readme files (.txt, .doc, html, or .wri)
All of these file types may contain translatable strings or text. The executables and program files often contain the menus, dialog boxes, commands, and messages associated with the application.
1. TRANSLATION APPROACH
Software developers are increasingly including all user interface elements in a separate .dll file, called a satellite .dll or a resource-only .dll, as this is the only file that requires translation. In Microsoft Windows and Office 2000, for example, all user interface elements have been isolated from the binary code to enable users to switch the language and regional settings of the user interface.
As mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, software files can be translated in two ways, either in text-only resource files or directly in the binary program files:
• Resource files (typically files with the extension .rc or.dlg) are text-only files that contain all localizable application components, such as messages, menus, dialog boxes, default settings for languages, and country codes. These files can be translated using a Windows-based text editor or word processor. After translation, they need to be compiled into binary program files.
• Program files (files with the file extension .dll or .exe) need to be translated in a resource editor, such as the one included in Microsoft Visual Studio, or a software localization tool, such as Corel Catalyst. The advantage of translating .dll files in a resource editor as opposed to translating text-only resource files, is that it is possible to see immediately how the translation will be displayed in the actual dialog box or menu. Translators know immediately what impact their translations will have on the user interface layout. In addition, dialog boxes can be resized directly in these files to make translations fit. Most software localization tools also allow direct translation of the program files. Examples of these tools can be found in the Software Localization Tools section on page 383.