Java is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. Anyone undergoing an expansion into new markets will have to review how it will impact their translation. Luckily, there aren’t many challenges to internationalization in Java that good planning can’t overcome.
Coding best practices that ensure everyone adheres to the same standards is the first step to managing this process. Establishing strong variables, comments, and formatting help content make the transition easily. This is true whether you’re approaching internationalization in Java or some other programming language.
What Is Java and How Does it Apply to Translation?
Java has been a go-to programming language for decades. Since it’s both free to use and runs on all platforms, it’s an excellent option for everything from web development to big data. The mission statement of this language is “Write Once, Run Anywhere.” The idea is that developers should only have to write code once to have it work everywhere.
Before Java, most code had to be written for a specific platform and adapted for other uses. Aside from its adaptability, Java is also a secure language that leverages methods and classes to keep code organized and simple to read. Its simplicity stems from its four core concepts: abstraction, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism.
- Abstraction: Simple concepts describe more complex underlying information. For example, a person knows that pressing the number 5 on their remote control will change the channel to 5. However, they don’t know all the underlying steps and connections that go into making this transition; abstraction in code is like this. It provides only the relevant details needed to complete a command while limiting unnecessary information.
- Encapsulation: This involves ensuring secure data by keeping fields private and organized into classes. Classes are groups of methods used to manage code. It is not easy to access the data within these classes that ensure system integrity.
- Inheritance: This concept applies to Java classes. Characteristics of one type can be used—or inherited—by another class. Inheritance is ideal for building new code as it allows developers to create new classes without starting from scratch.
- Polymorphism: A single action is achievable in many different ways. The polymorphism concept of Java takes this into account by allowing a single word to have disparate meanings. It will act differently based on the specific context of the code. Polymorphism limits the need to create concepts for steps that are virtually the same but may be used to achieve different results.
All the concepts of Java work together to make it user-friendly and easily adaptable. When it comes to internationalization strategies, it’s essential to understand how it applies because it’s incredibly likely the source code is Java. It is the world’s most popular programming language, after all. It’s also easy to convert into other programming languages that frequently come into play during translation, like YAML and JSON.
The good news is that because Java is so popular and adaptable, it doesn’t pose any unique challenges from other coding languages when preparing products for localization. Most of the issues you will need to resolve would be found in any other programming language.
Things to Know About Internationalization in Java
The phrase “internationalization in Java” is a bit of a misnomer because it’s not Java that’s getting translated. It’s the individual strings. As a result, everything you’d do to prepare your strings for translation, you’d do in any other situation. Specifically, you want to:
- Evaluate variables: Is there structured text where there should be a variable or vice versa? Reviewing the practices for establishing the right variables helps the code adapt to new markets seamlessly.
- Set comments and keys: Adding comments to code can provide linguists with the context they need to translate a string correctly without damaging code. It’s important to clearly define multi-use words, so the translator understands what their purpose is in that situation.
- Map regular expressions: Mapping out regular expressions helps speed translations and ensures consistency by establishing patterns of characters in regular use. Then, linguists can attach translated versions of them for future use.
- Review potential formatting issues: Adding a pad of about 10% to text boxes can ensure most content will fit easily, even in a language where words are longer or characters require more space. On top of that, it’s crucial to evaluate escape characters or things that a program may incorrectly view as them. The apostrophe is a common culprit of this, as it’s also a grammatical marker and may be incorrectly interpreted.
Completing these steps is especially essential with the use of machine translation (MT). MT can add a layer of complexity while taking out some oversight that would prevent damaged code. A thorough code audit ahead of time will help reduce many issues.
The challenges of internationalization in Java are going to be the same as any other code. As long as you proactively address issues, establish coding best practices, and test regularly, you should avoid most problems. A solid coding foundation can set you up for a streamlined approach to any new market.
February 25, 2021