New tool improves productivity, quality when translating software

February 24, 2009

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a software tool that will make it faster and easier to translate video games and other software into different languages for use in various international markets - addressing a hurdle to internationalization that has traditionally been time-consuming and subject to error.

If you want to sell or promote a software application in a foreign market, you have to translate it into a new language. That used to mean programmers would have to pore over thousands of lines of code in order to identify every little string that relates to what appears on a user's screen. This could be incredibly time consuming and, even then, there was always room for human error. Programmers have to be certain they are not replacing code that governs how the program actually works.

But now researchers from NC State and Peking University have created a software tool that identifies those pieces of software code that are designed to appear on-screen and communicate with the user (such as menu items), as opposed to those pieces of code that govern how the program actually functions. Once those "on-screen" pieces of code have been identified, the programmers can translate them into the relevant language - for example, translating the tabs on a toolbar from English into Chinese.

"This is a significant advance because it saves programmers from hunting through tens of thousands of lines of code," says Dr. Tao Xie, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State. "Productivity goes up because finding the 'need-to-translate' strings can be done more quickly. The quality also goes up, because there is less chance that a programmer will make a mistake and overlook relevant code."

As an example of how the software tool can identify errors and oversights made by human programmers, Xie says, the researchers found 17 translation omission errors when they applied the software tool on a popular online video game. The errors were then corrected.

The research will be presented in May at the International Conference on Software Engineering in Vancouver, Canada, and will also be published in the proceedings of the conference.

Source: North Carolina State University

Explore further: Schlieren images reveal supersonic shock waves

Related Stories

Schlieren images reveal supersonic shock waves

August 27, 2015

NASA researchers in California are using a modern version of a 150-year-old German photography technique to capture images of shock waves created by supersonic airplanes. Over the past five years scientists from NASA's Armstrong ...

Technology won't replace the back-to-school ritual

August 25, 2015

Students heading back to school can always count on one thing: Technology will be a little bit more advanced than it was last year. After all, 21st century learning experiences are increasingly enhanced by gadgets and software, ...

Sandia teams with industry to improve human-data interaction

August 13, 2015

Intelligence analysts working to identify national security threats in warzones or airports or elsewhere often flip through multiple images to create a video-like effect. They also may toggle between images at lightning speed, ...

Recommended for you

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon

September 3, 2015

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

Customizing 3-D printing

September 3, 2015

The technology behind 3-D printing is growing more and more common, but the ability to create designs for it is not. Any but the simplest designs require expertise with computer-aided design (CAD) applications, and even for ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.