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The International Journal of Localisation

Localisation Focus–The International Journal of Localisation provides a forum for localisation professionals and researchers to discuss and present their localisation-related work, covering all aspects of this multi-disciplinary field, including software engineering and HCI, tools and technology development, cultural aspects, translation studies, human language technologies (including machine and machine assisted translation), project management, workflow and process automation, education and training, and details of new developments in the localisation industry. Proposed contributions are peer-reviewed thereby ensuring a high standard of published material. Localisation Focus–The International Journal of Localisation is distributed worldwide to libraries and localisation professionals, including engineers, managers, trainers, linguists, researchers and students. Indexed on a number of databases, this journal affords contributors increased recognition for their work. Localisation-related articles, book reviews, perspectives, insights and correspondence are all welcome.

Localisation Issues of Software Shortcut Keys

Volume 11  Issue 1


Authors: Dr. Gintautas Grigas, Dr. Tatjana Jevsikova, Agnė Strelkauskytė

No common agreement exists on whether all shortcut keys should be localised during software localisation or not. The main argument in favour of the localisation of shortcut keys is a possibility to preserve mnemonics in the target language, whereas the main argument against their localisation is a possibility to maintain uniform command letters in the source and target languages. The aim of this paper is to investigate the localisation of shortcut keys and find a compromise between the contradictions mentioned above. The statistics of letters used in the command keys (i.e., Ctrl+letter) of 50 popular computer programs have been collected and analysed. The stability of command-letter pairing among different programs is evaluated and the recommendations for localisers are presented. The recommendations are based on the existing traditions of software design, existing practices of the major software producers, and the stability of command-letter pairing. The letters of command keys are divided into three main categories according to the strength of the relationship between the command and the letter. The categories are as follows: international (not to be localised), those that may be localised, and those that should be localised. Features of the combinations of the command keys with numbers and special characters are discussed as well. One more finding is that the Ctrl+Alt combination in the source program must be considered as an internationalisation error, since almost all languages that use the Latin script have letter keys with some characters on the third keyboard level, and the aforementioned key combination is equivalent to Alt Gr which is the recognised key to access third level characters.

Keywords: shortcut key localisation, access key localisation, command key localisation, software localisation, software internationalisation

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