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Pseudo-translation is a technique needed for pseudolocalization that is used in software localization. In contrast to the usual translation process it is the process of creating text that mimics a foreign language without the goal of expressing the source text meaning in the target language. The intent is instead to ensure that there is enough room in the GUI to allow for a full string of localized text based on the size of the GUI in the original language. It it also a check to find whether the GUI is able to properly display foreign-language glyphs from other character sets.

One approach to pseudo-translation involves the addition of special characters typical for the locale of the target language (for example a diacritical mark like a German Umlaut 'a'), as well as changing the number of characters belonging to the text. In that approach, the text is pseudo-translated in a way that allows to recognize the original source text. Another pseudo-translation solution involves the use of machine translation technology, which not only generates the necessary special characters but also gives developers a good indication of the length of a string in a particular target language.

Pseudo-translation precedes the actual translation in the software development process. Its purpose is to test that the software is prepared for translation.

Pseudo-translation allows verifying that:

  • special characters display properly in the target environment,
  • no string truncations occur because of increased string lengths,
  • no incorrect string concatenations have been used,
  • all strings are extracted for localization.

Verifying no incorrect concatenations have been used requires putting begin and end markers in the pseudo-text. For example: '<' and '>'. It is however not necessary to ensure no truncation in place by using pseudo translation. As the translation from one language to another (for instance, English to German) sometimes requires additional 100% or more space to hold the translated content, it may degrade the quality of the original language (for instance, English) by allocating more wasteful space to just be able to accommodate German version of this item. In this case, subsequent localization process should ensure the translation quality be making sure that the space is adequate for the targeting language.


Published - October 2008

Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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