Abbreivating long localized strings?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by samdev, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. samdev macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    I'm thinking about adding some localized strings to my app, however, the localized version
    of the string may be too long for a particular GUI that was designed for a short English word.
    The GUI is not a button or something that can be easily resized. Space is limited.

    If I can't fit a particular word into my GUI, would it be reasonable to somehow truncate
    or abbreviate the localized word? I don't know anything about abbreviating a foreign word.
    Or perhaps just leave it as English? Making the text smaller would just look crappy.

    I can't decide what to do. :confused:
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    on the Western Slopes, with E. A. Poe
    If you're truncating words to fit a GUI layout, you're doing it wrong. The whole thing -- layout, text, etc. -- is normally changed to suit a particular language. That means the nib, any text used by the program, etc.
  3. forum user macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2008
    Ask a translator, that what they are for.

    A professional translation service (or the person behind it) will do more than simply translating word by word into the foreign language. Translation is the first pass, second pass is to verify the GUI and to check for the things you mention. As they know the foreign language the tend to come up with good suggestions.
  4. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Localize the nib or storyboard itself. Adjust the button size for different languages so that everything fits without abbreviations.
  5. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    And what if it can't fit without abbreviations? For example, some German counterparts to English words can be rather long. What do you do if there is no room in the layout for the entire word?
  6. samdev, Aug 28, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012

    samdev thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    Rather than using a direct translation, I usually have to use an alternative meaning to get the
    shortest possible word. For example, "on/off" doesn't seem to translate nicely to all languages,
    so I have to change the meaning to "yes/no". This gives me the shortest translation with little
    change to its meaning. I think Apple's solution was to change the words into bar/circle symbols.

    Anyway, if I still don't know what to do, I take a look at what other apps have done in
    similar situations. And there are already many button-word examples you can find on the iPhone
    after changing the language settings. I grabbed some of those words for my own app.

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