In a recent blog post, John Yunker displayed the landing page of the United Airlines in-flight entertainment system global gateway that they installed on one of its international flights. It is commendable that United thought of its international passengers and localized the interface. What is disappointing however is the obvious lack of Arabic quality assurance that they performed on the product before its release.
Cursive Use in the Arabic Language
Arabic is always written in the cursive form and there are strict rules of when you should attach letters to each others. Detaching all letters in Arabic renders the text illegible. Note how Alarabia is written in non-cursive form on the United flight system compared to the correct form.
Usually, fingers are quick to point to the translator for any problems in the localized product. In many cases however, just like in this one, the translator is not at fault. The problem is in cost-cutting, incorrect internationalization of the software and lack of adequate localization quality assurance (QA).
In our many years in business, we’ve often seen companies cut corners. Some resort to distributors to perform the localization, others resort to Machine Translation and some ignore due-process.
When budgets don’t permit complete and accurate localization in all desired languages, don’t short-circuit the process. Cut out the less important languages. This will save you money and embarrassment!
To the teams at United (or any third parties) that performed the in-flight entertainment system development and localization, don’t despair; we have three white papers that we strongly recommend you study:
- Do’s and Don’ts in software development before product localization
- Pseudo-translate before you translate, and most importantly
- Localization QA: How important?
Arabic Quality Assurance
Another option is to simply contact GlobalVision when you have a software localization requirement in a language where you lack expertise. For more info, go to our Arabic Translation Services page.
Whitepaper 10 Tips on Achieving Quality in Translation
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