February 24, 2012
One of the things I want most from Apple in Xcode is that they simplify the process of internationalizing and localizing an app.
I want to take my iOS or Mac app and easily generate a file that I can send to my local translators. I then want to take their translations and easily incorporate them in my project file.
Of course, easy means different things to different people. Some folks would say that I can do this now. I can. I can used something called NSLocalizedStrings in my code and I can open up a terminal window and run genstrings against the files that contain these NSLocalizedStrings. Then I can take the file created by NSLocalizedStrings and add them to my project. I then select this newly added file and add a localization. I select it and add another localization. I send these files to my translators and then add them back in when they have finished with them.
I don’t expect the first step or the last step to change, but I would like the steps in the middle to become easier. Apple clearly cares about localization. It’s been one of their distinguishing characteristics for as long as I can remember. It’s time for them to bring the tools up to date so that we can embrace languages other than our own as well.
There is a bit of an irony in this. (Uggh – I’ve used irony twice in a week. That makes me uncomfortable.)
I released my first book in my new Editor’s Cut series on Wednesday and so far the only complaints I’ve received is “why isn’t this available in my local store.” Some have asked why I don’t care about their country and others have asked don’t I want to make money from their country.
I do care about these countries. I just didn’t understand the interface when I was uploading my book and so I didn’t select countries where English wasn’t the native language. I didn’t know that I could offer my book in English in a country where English is a second or third language.
Also this isn’t just about English. It turns out I left off countries that do have English as their primary language.
I’m sorry about that. Really.
I’m working to correct that right now and I really do apologize. I do care about your country.
It also amazes me how easy Apple has made it for me to offer this book for other countries. It’s just a checkbox. I hope to be checking yours today.
I’m enjoying this end of the process and learning a lot every day. Thank you for your patience as I make a bunch of mistakes and thank you for pointing out the issues I need to address.