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: Greater global outreach eyed for Micro:bit minicomputer

Related Stories

Greater global outreach eyed for Micro:bit minicomputer

October 20, 2016

(Tech Xplore)—Kid coders is an idea everyone likes. The vision is that of a new army of survivors who can carry the ball forward in thinking up tomorrow's hardware and software, to make life interesting for themselves and ...

Modernizing the format of nuclear data

October 24, 2016

When atomic nuclei collide with other nuclei or subatomic particles, a large number of reactions can occur, resulting in many possible products. High-quality data describing these nuclear reactions are essential for many ...

Moving toward computing at the speed of thought

October 20, 2016

The first computers cost millions of dollars and were locked inside rooms equipped with special electrical circuits and air conditioning. The only people who could use them had been trained to write programs in that specific ...

Study finds 'lurking malice' in cloud hosting services

October 18, 2016

A study of 20 major cloud hosting services has found that as many as 10 percent of the repositories hosted by them had been compromised - with several hundred of the "buckets" actively providing malware. Such bad content ...

Recommended for you

Microsoft aims at Apple with high-end PCs, 3D software

October 26, 2016

Microsoft launched a new consumer offensive Wednesday, unveiling a high-end computer that challenges the Apple iMac along with an updated Windows operating system that showcases three-dimensional content and "mixed reality."

Making it easier to collaborate on code

October 26, 2016

Git is an open-source system with a polarizing reputation among programmers. It's a powerful tool to help developers track changes to code, but many view it as prohibitively difficult to use.

Dutch unveil giant vacuum to clean outside air

October 25, 2016

Dutch inventors Tuesday unveiled what they called the world's first giant outside air vacuum cleaner—a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic tiny particles from the atmosphere surrounding the machine.


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.