Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Application Names

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Having just written posts on languages and software, I'll add something concerning both topics.

In OS X, Apple let's developers give localised names for their applications. I've been wondering whether this is a good thing or not. It seems like a good idea at first as could make the user experience more consistent. Investing a second thought will reveal that this may actually make things less consistent as you'll run into trouble when displaying files as having different names than they actually have on disk (and having in mind that this feature of the Finder currently is extremely buggy to make things even worse). Thus, as long as you want to stick to an old file-system thing with folders and files you've lost consistency, paying it as the prize for having all those languages in a single application.

These points aside, having the crappy 'Calculator' actually with its traditional name 'Rechner' on a German system is a nice thing. But what about applications which aren't provided with the system? If you have an application you'll need a name for it, for reference purposes, for links on web pages, for entries on Versiontracker and of course for it to be discoverable using search engines. Having a different name in every language will make this much harder and may even cause people to think there are different applications.

We've had this problem with GeburtstagsChecker, for example. We have the suspicion that there are less people using the application than there are out there wanting to use it, simply because the name doesn't sound English. Sure, it is available in German, but it also is in English (and French and Spanish and Japanese).

Finding localised names for the application wouldn't be hard in this case as we could simply keep the 'Checker' thing as with all our apps and simply translate the word 'Geburtstag' to 'Birthday', 'Anniversaire', 'Cumpleaño' and '誕生日' respectively, but I doubt it would do any good because we'd have to become fairly schizophrenic to talk about it with all those names around.

March 30, 2003, 1:52

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