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Multi-Lingual Development

Posted on 1999-07-12
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Last Modified: 2010-05-02
I am in the process of writing a specification document for a custom app a client would like me to develop. We memtioned briefly the possibilty of making it multi-lingual.

I have had no experience of this and would welcome some guidance.

I expect to develop it in VB5 pro unless someone gives me a valid reason to do it in something else.

I have heard of resource files and kind of how they work but you need the enterprise edition to generate them?
The languages would be English,French,German and possibly Italian.

The core business information which will be currency will not just be of different denominations but will probably be different valus as well.

I know I have been going on a bit but I wanted to try and give you some idea of what I will be doing.

I can sort people out with points when i get some comments and see what is relevant
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Question by:awestrope
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10 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:KDivad
ID: 1523803
If you can't use a resource file (or would rather not) just save all the strings and values in a .bas file as constants and have one .bas for english, one for german, etc. compile each exe with a different .bas and Voila! multilingual apps.
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Expert Comment

by:Jaysin28
ID: 1523804
The idea of having different .bas modules can be very irritating since you also have to localize the forms, forms text, and any other text within the appliaction to other languages.  My suggestion is to look at a friend of mine's webpage and see if it helps.  If you are being paid to develop this app, ( Which I am assuming you are ) then this client of yours should provide any means necessary for getting the localization they want.  

Look at www.beta-sigma.com 
it's called Localization Guru and well worth 65.00
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Vbmaster
ID: 1523805
And if you dont want to spend $65 for something you can easily be doing yourself you can do like I do (which seems like working fine for me anyway).

* Create your application in your native language
* Just before releasing the appliaction you can search thru all your form/bas/class files for any strings (="***") and create a simple text file with all these strings. Translate those strings and add to the same file or one file for each language.
* In the application whenever there's a string to be presented to the end user you can call a function which looks up the string and gives the translated strings.

This way you can customize your application much easier than using some 3rd-party application, which probably work the same way as this. Why make it harder than it really is?? How much text can presented to the user at any time and therefore needed to be translated? And all controls can be scanned thru for strings in the form_load event, doesn't take much time at all (and if u have a lot of menu items u can always translate the top most items at load and all others the first time the menu is drawn).
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:KDivad
ID: 1523806
Similar to what I said, but instead of having hardcoded strings in the code in each form, replace them with constants defined in a single .bas file. Replace the .bas file and you have replaced all strings anywhere in your app.
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Expert Comment

by:KDivad
ID: 1523807
It's the same method I used to create kid's/adult's versions of a game I wrote.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Vbmaster
ID: 1523808
KDivad.. Yes something like your code BUT with the big difference that no recompilation is needed to add another language, and it seems (at least for me) a bit more work to create a constant for every string. And less customizable.
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Expert Comment

by:KDivad
ID: 1523809
I agree, except for one thing. Less customizable? Not at all. A bit trickier to customize, but not less. It's just a method I've been using since vb3.
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Accepted Solution

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davewalton earned 20 total points
ID: 1523810
I allow my users to maintain alternative captions for captions that they see anywhere in the system.  Each user can pick from a list of valid 'Caption Sets' and on Form_Load I call a sub that loops through all controls setting the caption to the alternative caption in the selected set (if available).  This works very well and provides our clients with the ability to alter captions to preferred values not necessarily foreign translations.  This does involve providing a maintenance routine to allow system managers the ability to set these caption sets up but also releives you of the need to translate for them - you simply give them the tools to do the conversion themselves.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:Vbmaster
ID: 1523811
Well seems like I'm not the only one preferring the method i suggested, since awestrop's copied my method. ;)
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Author Comment

by:awestrope
ID: 1523812
VbMaster
What method of yours have I copied?
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