Telling your computer you want Gaelic

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GunChleoc
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Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby GunChleoc » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:30 pm

A lot of software and websites automatically pick your operating system language as their language, and then you're stuck with it. Unless you do something about it.

Here's how you can switch your locale:

On Windows Vista/Windows 7. Maybe this works on XP as well, I have been unable to test.

On a Mac. Again, I haven't been able to test this.

On an Android Phone

In Firefox


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Re: Changing your locale

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:57 pm

NB a locale is developer speak for ... well, the language/country combination your computer thinks it speaks. For example, gd-GB would be the locale for "Scottish Gaelic - Great Britain", en-GB would be "English - Great Britian" and so on.

As I ranted on my blog some time ago, many programs and websites these days default to the locale settings of your computer, phone, tablet, whatever. Why? Because developers think we only speak one language and because it's convenient and they probably think it's cool. :chachreid:

Anyway, in some cases you can cheat yourself a Gaelic computer etc but not in all. MacOS - forget it, basically. Apple is to small languages what Darth Vader is to the Rebel Alliance. Small being anything smaller than Hungarian.

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Re: Changing your locale

Unread postby Níall Beag » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:23 pm

akerbeltz wrote:As I ranted on my blog some time ago, many programs and websites these days default to the locale settings of your computer, phone, tablet, whatever. Why? Because developers think we only speak one language and because it's convenient and they probably think it's cool. :chachreid:

No, because it's good practice. Things like locale settings should be centrally managed by the OS.

The problem is that Windows is still sticking with it's old model of "one user, one language" rather than adopting the web standard idea of having an order of preference.
(eg you might choose to put your order of preference as
Scottish Gaelic
Basque
Sardu
Cantonese
German
English)

Unfortunately, because Windows doesn't support it directly, and Internet Support uses the locale settings (Firefox definitely has its own list, and Opera did last I looked), it's never really gained any traction.

Perhaps we should appeal directly to Microsoft to add the feature, or perhaps put in a request to the Mozilla team to add in an API to make the preference list accessible by to all installed software. Given the number of open source devs who use Firefox anyway, I'm sure a lot of them would adopt it as standard, meaning they could configure their installers to pick the user's most preferred of the available translations....

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Re: Changing your locale

Unread postby GunChleoc » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:39 pm

Níall Beag wrote:No, because it's good practice.

Who says?

For example, I tried to get directions from Google Maps for a German speaker in German. The only way for me to do that would have been to change my system locale. Since most users even don't know that there is such a thing, I don't know how it can be good practice to make that their only option. My language settings and preferences in the browser were duly ignored.

Detect Locale is great for preselecting your language for installers and suchlike, but it should never be the exclusive option. IMHO this belongs into the software's setting or in the help menu, and somewhere where you can actually find it. And why should I have to change my entire operating system language for brief stints into other languages? This would be utterly confusing. For example, I have now grown so used to the Gaelic Firefox that I get confused if I change the interface language to my native language, but I still want to read websites in other langages than Gaelic sometimes.
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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby Thrissel » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:36 pm

Gu dearbh. Dh'fhàg mi Firefox agus thòisich mi air Opera a chleachdadh nuair a bha mi a' fuireach san t-Seic agus cha b' urrainn mi lorg air Google.co.uk. Dè sam bith a rinn mi, dh'ath-threòraich iad mi gu Google.cz. "A bheil thu ag iarraidh dìreach làraichean-lìn à Breatainn a lorg airson na h-abairte seo? Uill, gluais dhan Rìoghachd, a bhalaich." (Seadh, chàraich iad sin san eadar-àm, ach dh'fhàs mise cleachdte ri Opera san eadar-àm.)

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby akerbeltz » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:14 am

Ma tha thu airson cànan sònraichte a sparradh air Google, cleachd seo:
http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=gd
(cuir còd ISO sam bith an àite an gd)

No, because it's good practice. Things like locale settings should be centrally managed by the OS.


UTTER bollocks. Sorry. No, not sorry 8-) To begin with, that scenario ONLY works if you had an operating system which supported ALL possible locales. Someone could tr*nsl*t* a whole host of programs into, say, Li Niha... and then what? There is *NO* operating system that supports Li Niha by default, even on Linux you would probably have to register a bug to have it added.

The linguistic behaviour of people is complex. A user might dislike the tr*nsl*t**n of Skype in language A and prefer language B but prefer language B for his apps but still use language C for the operating system.

Reality check - you may argue that we shouldn't consider people on pirated OS systems but the reality is, many people in less affluent countries are on pirated systems. Which means that by default it's English. Which kinda works, not everyone messes with the OS ... but again, if you force locale, then they end up with *everything* in English.

Or, in my own case, my system locale often happens to be set to Afrikaans. No, not because I speak but I require IPA so often that I did a custom keyboard with shortcuts for stuff like ɯ ɛ ə etc, using Afrikaans as a basis since I never use that keyboard for Afrikaans itself. So, no, I don't want everything set to Afrikaans, thank you... And before you roll your eyes and claim that's just me, it's more common than you might think.

While forcing the locale might be a nice option for some people, the user should be able to override it without hassle. Any system that does not give that option belongs in the same linguistic landfill that Amazon Kindle and Mac OS should be in.

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby Níall Beag » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:02 pm

Only just saw this...
akerbeltz wrote:
No, because it's good practice. Things like locale settings should be centrally managed by the OS.


UTTER bollocks. Sorry. No, not sorry 8-) To begin with, that scenario ONLY works if you had an operating system which supported ALL possible locales.

Wait... what did you say before?
many programs and websites these days default to the locale settings

I read that as, you know, default, that can be overridden. There's plenty of software that defaults to the locale setting and requires manual intervention to change, and that's good practice, because asking a user the same question again and again is just a nuisance for everybody. Defauting is good -- i's only when there's no opton to override that there's a problem.

Someone could tr*nsl*t* a whole host of programs into, say, Li Niha... and then what? There is *NO* operating system that supports Li Niha by default, even on Linux you would probably have to register a bug to have it added.

The OS shouldn't need to support it, and I agree that it's a weakness at present that not even Firefox has a full list of ISO codes.

Or, in my own case, my system locale often happens to be set to Afrikaans. No, not because I speak but I require IPA so often that I did a custom keyboard with shortcuts for stuff like ɯ ɛ ə etc, using Afrikaans as a basis since I never use that keyboard for Afrikaans itself. So, no, I don't want everything set to Afrikaans, thank you... And before you roll your eyes and claim that's just me, it's more common than you might think.

I use my own custom layouts too, but you don't need to change the language to change the layout. I use a customised version of the UK international, and I have it under locales for English, French and Spanish, so the OS can deal with spellchecking etc automatically, but I don't have to type differently.

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby akerbeltz » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:32 pm

See, that's precisely the problem of letting developers develop without user testing. Any idiot can pick their language from a list (and I have yet to come across someone who is not a developer who moaned at me about all these language selection menus...) but it takes a degree of sophistication to handle locale changing apps and software that developers assume but most users don't have. Most users don't even know what a locale IS never mind that you can in a lot of cases mess around with it. It's like the million functions of a calculator that calculator developers think are oh-so-cool when what most folk want is just the 4 basics with a nice big display and big buttons.

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby faoileag » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:38 pm

I am one of these last-mentioned and have no real desire (or 'study time') to change.

I have little idea of what you're all talking about (don't know or care what a locale is) but it's fascinating and impressive to me nonetheless. :lol:

I am just happy to have the amazingly generous and industrious Akerbeltzes of this world give me nice easy 'stupid-user'-friendly wee ways of getting a bit more Gaelic on my computer in places where I can handle it, like Skype, Firefox interfaces.

But I do realise that for that to happen, all this clever stuff has to go on in the background, and that it must sometimes be a lonely effort.

If you need petitions to Microsoft/Apple etc etc signing, just let me know and I'll sign and rally the troops. I'll have to trust you on WHAT we're petitioning for, though... :spors:

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby Níall Beag » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:57 pm

akerbeltz wrote:(and I have yet to come across someone who is not a developer who moaned at me about all these language selection menus...)

Surely an acomplished linguist like yourself would understand human behaviour well enough to know that lack of complaints is not proof of a lack of problem.

What was the source of the iPod/iPhone/iPad's massive success? It was Apple's insistence on creating a single unified experience -- no matter what apps you install, you're dealing with a consistent system, not lots of things bolted together. Studies have shown that people view the computer as a single entity -- often even anthropomorphising it. Being explicitly asked which language for every single install frustrates the user -- there is absolutely no "setup" box on a iOS app, because it breaks the illusion and user expectations.

As I said, the best solution is the internet-style list-in-order-of-preference. Set it up once, then individual packages can install themselves in the highest listed language that they support.

As long as the OS doesn't offer that list, I think that the best option would be for installers to be able to tap into the preference list from Firefox... perhaps one of their translators could put this through as a feature request... ;-)

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby akerbeltz » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:31 am

Surely an acomplished linguist like yourself would understand human behaviour well enough to know that lack of complaints is not proof of a lack of problem.


In the face of numerous complaints about force-locale, it DOES count as contributing evidence.

What was the source of the iPod/iPhone/iPad's massive success?


That has very little to do with Apple's approach to localization and language. It has everything to do with a massive hype bubble for a reasonable (but overpriced) product that has not produced users but disciples.

As I said, the best solution is the internet-style list-in-order-of-preference. Set it up once, then individual packages can install themselves in the highest listed language that they support.


That would be acceptable if it was prominently visible at least once and included all languages with an ISO code, present and future. Fat chance of a 6k list from any OS...

As long as the OS doesn't offer that list, I think that the best option would be for installers to be able to tap into the preference list from Firefox... perhaps one of their translators could put this through as a feature request

I'll take this in good humour as you have no idea how many change requests GunChleoc and me have filed on dozens of projects for *some* form of language selection option, whatever the flavour 8-) It is telling, in this context, how many of them go "oh, I never thought of languages which don't have a localized OS - can't you localize it?" - there are indeed MANY developers who have never consciously considered that there aren't just 2 dozen languages but anything between six to ten thousand, depending on how you count.

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Re: Telling your computer you want Gaelic

Unread postby GunChleoc » Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:04 pm

The real problem with detect locale is that there is software out there who does not allow the user to change the language later - there is no menu option anywhere, period. Users get confronted with all kinds of stuff in the install process, from EULA to ask.com toolbars. So, why not have a language option? Many installers actually do that. And, for all kinds of reasons, you wouldn't necessarily want each piece of software in the same language.
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