Casual Translations

Computers are rather formal. In fact if they were too friendly we wouldn’t enjoy using them. You don’t expect a computer to talk to you as a friend you expect it to give you the information you need with the minimum of fuss and then get out of the way:

We prefer:
The file could not be found
That file that you were looking for I can’t seem to find it. Help!

In your translations you have the opportunity of removing language that is too casual. Be carefull when translating games and kiddies programs as you might want to keep informal language.

Here is a snippet of an email from Malcolm Hunter – one of the British English translator. You might want to take note of his points and remove these from your translations.

Something I've forgotten to mention:

There was discussion sometime ago about use of first person and casual/
IRC-style usage. As much as possible can we try to make the wording more

1. I, me, my should be avoided, unless it is the user's response (eg. "Let me
choose") and can't easily be changed to something else. The program shouldn't
be saying to the user: "I was unable to...", etc.

2. We is another one, there are 2 examples of this in kget.po ("We are
online / offline") - who's "We"? I'm not sure what to do with these at the
moment - depends on the context.

3. The program should not apologise - there is a Sorry function, but the
actual text shouldn't have the word "Sorry" in it. I'm not sure about
"Please" either.

4. No IRC emoticons, abbreviations (eg. LOL) - we might get developers
moaning, but at the end of the day these apps are being used by corporate
users as well.

5. Same goes for casual, conversational wording (eg. "Oops!" which I recently
found in a dialog title bar). Same reason as item 4.

With games and amusements where the target user-base is mainly home, we can be
a bit more relaxed with this as we don't want to spoil the fun aspect.