Try OpenEdge Now
skip to main content
Internationalizing Applications
Preparing the User Interface : Screen layout and composition : Culturally specific issues : Language issues
Language issues
The expansion of the worldwide market necessitates the availability of software applications in many language. A variety of issues arise from the need for applications that work well in many languages. Four of the many language issues follow:
*Direction in which text is read — Some languages are read from left to right, and some from right to left. This can influence your text design. Users who read right to left look for the most important information in the upper-right corner, while users who read left to right look for the most important information in the upper-left corner, so you must change the user interface accordingly. For example, order tab folders in the direction each is read, so that the most important or the most frequently used tab folder displays first.
*Input Method Editors (IMEs) — Some cultures require a character input method editor on the screen. For example, Asian markets require an IME. A character input method editor is a system for generating characters through a sequence of keystrokes. The IME requires a lot of screen space and decreases the amount of available display space for the user interface. Design your interface with extra room to allow for these differences.
*Letters and characters — Language differences often necessitate the use of different letters and characters on the user interface. Different fonts and varying type size might be available. Keyboards are available in a variety of key combinations that are designed specifically for certain languages.
*Symbols and abbreviations — If you use symbols or abbreviations to replace text or to save space on the user interface, ensure that the symbols are available on the keyboard and that the abbreviations are appropriate. For example, in some languages the abbreviation might be longer than the original name or does not exist at all. Short-cut keys might need to change in order for the mnemonic abbreviation to have meaning.