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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005

    Exclamation Multilingual labels

    Hi all,

    could someone help a newbie with the following question?
    It is a very general one.
    Let's suppose I create an entity called 'Car'. There is
    a car_id as PK and a serie of attributes like wheel_number,
    car_colour and so on.
    Using an application I'd like to show the name of the attribute
    in different languages, like:

    Car: Toyota Corolla
    Wheel number: 4
    Colour: red

    In Spanish it would the be:

    Auto: Toyota Corolla
    Numero de ruedas: 4
    Color: rojo

    What I want to have in different languages is the name of the attribute
    (i.e. Car, Wheel Number, Colour)

    Am I wrong supposing that this information should be kept in a DB?
    I am sure someone had this issue before: is there a standard way
    of solving this?

    Thanks to all in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    In front of the computer
    Changing the program's text (for labels, buttons, etc) is pretty straightforward. That is basic internationalization or localization of the code, and you are correct in assuming that the database is a good place to store that data.

    Changing the data is a very different story. I don't know of anyone that has successfully cracked that particular nut. The problem is that you get into "free range translation" trying to convert arbitrary (often very colloquial) text from one language to another. There have been quite a few folks that have tried this, but I don't know of anyone with more than very limited success at it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Admitttedly, changing the data is next to impossible using current technology.

    Nevertheless, in certain special cases it may be possible to do so; in particular, in the case where data is constrained to be a reasonably small set of finite values.

    In the example you gave, if the colour of the car can only be picked from a drop-down list, then it is reasonable to assume that the list of all available colours is actually stored in the database. If that is true, then it would be a simple matter to store an "english_value", "french-value", "spanish-value", etc., for the colours. Then, knowing the users preference, the data may be displayed appropriately, either "red" or "rojo" as the case may be.

    It is not difficult to design this. There are several alternatives, some more flexible than others.

    But this technique will work only for those cases where the values are limited to a known domain, no free-form text is permitted.


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