One of my goals in any localization project is to make sure my translation is both internally consistent (meaning I always translate the same sort of thing in the same sort of way) and consistent with the conventions that prevail in the world of Japanese UI design. While localizing XenForo I've found that the reuse of certain phrases is forcing me to choose only one of these goals; achieving them both will entail splitting the reused phrase into two (or more) phrases.
Such reuse of phrases often occurs in connection with confirmation dialogs, so I'd like to illustrate what I'm talking about with a hypothetical confirmation dialog that would appear if the user were to click a link saying "Destroy This Thread."
As you can see, clicking on this link would cause XF to display a dialog asking the user to confirm his decision to destroy the thread. This example posits a single phrase, "destroy_this_thread", being used in three places:
- The link displayed above the thread.
- The title of the confirmation dialog.
- The button that confirms the operation.
This is how I would translate the phrase "Destroy This Thread". Here it is, broken down:
- この (pronounced kono) is the Japanese word meaning "this".
- トピック (topikku) is a transliteration of "topic", which is how we're saying "thread".
- を (pronounced o) marks the preceding word as the object of the verb.
- 破壊 (pronounced hakai) is the Japanese word meaning "destruction".
- する (pronounced suru) turns the preceding noun into a verb.
The typical way to deal with this problem is to put only the verb into the button, like so:
This is the same as if the English button were shortened to simply "Destroy", which is a common enough way of doing things. But whereas such abbreviation may seem optional in the English, it is more or less mandatory in the Japanese version of this dialog.
Thus we'll need a new phrase for the button. Call it "destroy_this_thread_button".
So much for the button. I'd like to talk about the title as well, but it's lunchtime. Please stand by.