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How to Identify an Internationalization (i18n) False Positive | Lingoport

What is a false positive

‘False Positive’ is a common term used when dealing with any automated checking system when an error is reported and the user deems that it doesn’t need to be fixed. You have likely run across a false positive or ‘false alarm’ when working with a grammar check in a word processor.

False positives occur for a few reasons. Software is complex, and it can be safer to over-report than over correct. When measuring complex conditions there will be instances where something that would be an error to one person would not be an error to another. Initially, it needs to be reported. As reporting is managed and controlled, the ease of use with the error reporting will increase. It is expected that users understand and address false positives to make the most of whichever system they are working with.

What is an i18n false positive?

There are some quirks that set i18n (internationalization) false positives apart.

False Positive Example

False Positive Example

It can be difficult to locate a false positive when it relates to an issue but doesn’t actually identify a problem that needs to be addressed.

False Positives vs Issues

Software internationalization rule sets are broken down into 4 categories of detection types:

  • Embedded Strings – Any hard-coded string in the application that will need to be translated.
  • Locale-Sensitive Methods – For example, Date/Time, Encoding, or String Concatenation methods.
  • General Patterns – For example, hard coded fonts, encodings, or date formats: ‘ASCII’, ‘ARIAL’, ‘mm/dd/yy’.
  • Static File References – Application references to static files, some of which may need to be localized.

How to fix an i18n false positive

Any quality automated reporting system will have a way to identify similar false positive patterns. A simple example would be if a grammar check was identifying Art as a word that shouldn’t be capitalized in the middle of a sentence. Despite this being the name of someone commonly referred to in the user’s work, the user would identify the error and tell the system to stop reporting the false positive.

When addressing an i18n related false positive in Globalyzer, Lingoport’s i18n software that identifies and fixes i18n issues during development and enables users to eliminate i18n technical debt, new rule filters need to be created. Doing so requires filling out a simple form.

String Method Filter

A more technical overview of Globalyzer’s specific requirements for manually addressing false positives can be found here

Rule filters help by identifying patterns within the reporting system and refining them to the user’s specific requirements. Individual issues can be flagged for removal at the user’s discretion as well.

What if this could automatically be solved?

To achieve seamless global software development that incorporates i18n into the development process itself, it’s necessary to address the complexities of false positives and to learn to manage them efficiently. However, manually checking i18n false positives is simply too cumbersome for today’s fast-paced agile development.

Lingoport is excited to announce we are fixing this problem with Machine Learning!

The power leveraged from machine learning is more complex than simply writing rule filters automatically. Soon i18n error reports will become dynamic documents that allow any organization to spend less time identifying errors and more time optimizing the product.

Ensure your team isn’t wasting time while internationalizing software for the world market. Sign up today to watch our upcoming webinar and discover how machine learning makes i18n false positives a thing of the past.


Machine Learning and i18n | Lingoport Webinar

Throwing it Over the Wall

Don’t fall into this simple trap when internationalizing for the first time that can cost years of work and millions of dollars! Our friend Steve, from Plodding Tech. was subject one such story.

Steve knew Plodding Tech. needed to expand their market reach, but he felt his team was too busy to tackle the large-scale project of Globalization. His assumption was that it would be simple string refactoring and translation work anyway. The presumed solution was to reach out to a low-cost outsourcing firm, Raindrop.

It seemed like a cost-friendly solution when it was initially pitched.

Once Steve threw the globalization work over the wall he felt like Plodding Tech. would be moving into the global marketplace in no time.

It was a couple of months before Steve realized his outsourcing firm was learning the intricacies of internationalization (i18n) for the first time. Every couple of months his contact at Raindrop changed as the firm was dealing with a heavy staff rotation.  Steve found that despite outsourcing he was acting as a manager of Plodding Tech.’s i18n efforts. This was exactly the effort he was trying to avoid by throwing it over the wall. 

The outsourcing firm simply didn’t understand what Plodding Tech. was about and what their software brought to the world. What’s worse is they simply didn’t have the ability to quickly react to messaging changes or detail corrections across the target locales in a timely manner. Even after two months, there we still many embedded strings

Often mistakes were overlooked and code drops from the outsourcing group were resolved months after their due date. This was frustrating as Steve was making weekly efforts to advance within the domestic market.

As time wore on Steve felt less like he had hired an outsourcing firm but paid for an assortment of entry-level contractors to tackle a specialized job.

Months became years, and when evaluating the project Steve came to a harsh realization. Even though they started out thinking the solution would be cheaper, little by little, they ended up spending $750,000, not including their own time spent trying to manage the efforts. The outsourcing firm had not developed a methodology to get through the i18n process. There were still embedded strings, application components that hadn’t be updated, Locale frameworks were insufficiently implemented. There was no clear definition of complete.

His own team had moved ahead with several versions and now he had a forked development effort as the i18n had never been well tested, had unresolved issues and so hadn’t been merged back into their code.

That was 3 quarters of a million plus 2 years of phone calls, emails, meetings, and stress. In addition, 2 years of lost market potential.

Steve was burying his head in his hands. This isn’t right, i18n should be creating new revenue streams, not cutting away from the bottom line.  Steve needed to try something new…

Steve needed experts.

When Steve started looking for i18n experts he quickly stumbled upon Lingoport, as anyone reading this article has. After laying out the scope and details of his project Lingoport was able to complete the work for Plodding Tech. in a few short months because our methodology is already in place.

Lingoport’s software was put in place. A list of bugs and issues found in the code could be methodically burned down, tested and completed. His team could work in concert with Lingoport’s services.

Rather than working hard to manage the outsourcing firm Steve found Lingoport came to him knowing the right questions to ask to get the job done and were addressing i18n concerns he didn’t know existed.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking Steve and Plodding Tech. are made up, and you’d be right their name has been changed to protect the innocent. However the 2 years wasted, and the spent dollars were all too real. Don’t let your company face the horrors and losses of throwing i18n over the wall.  


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Winter Holiday Season

The winter holiday season is a great time to look at a more human element in the localization process. A few quick examples of global holidays might give some inspiration of how to approach different regions during this festive time.

Chinese New Year/ Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year

In America we think of the holiday as Chinese New Year, but the holiday is more commonly referred to as the Lunar New Year. This winter holiday takes place in either January or February. In 2018 it will fall on the 16th of February.

If you make content around this holiday you’ll want images to focus on either Lanterns, the dragon dance, fortune gods or other related decorations. Another good focus would be on the zodiac animal of the year. For 2018 the zodiac is the dog representing loyalty and honesty.

Another interesting aspect are small embroidered red envelopes used to exchange cash gifts. These red envelopes have seen some digital representations used with increasing frequency lately.

China is a good focus for the Lunar New Year but it is also celebrated heavily throughout Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, as well as having a presence in highly populated areas of America and Europe. With some creative application the materials you put together could be applied across many locals.

Boxing Day
Boxing Day

America may be known for a shopping frenzy on Black Friday. However, in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; Boxing Day has been the more recognized shopping holiday. Though many shops are now promoting with both holidays in these countries, as it’s another sale.

More traditionally boxing day was recognized as feast day of Saint Stephen, the patron saint of horses, which is why Boxing Day became associated with horse racing and fox hunting. It’s also considered customary to give gifts to people in the service industry on this day like the mail carrier or doorman.

Many prior marketing materials around this day focus on images with a box. Some however play more into the horses or fox hunting angle to look more daring, and lean into the roots of the holiday.

The Day of Goodwill

The Day of Goodwill

It would be best when putting together materials for South Africa to refrain from referring to Boxing Day and instead refer to December 26th as the Day of Goodwill. It was renamed so by the South African Government in 1994. This holiday is more family focused, and emphasizes itself as day of giving to others. Focusing more on goodwill and charity are more appropriate here.

Kentucky for Christmas!

Kentucky for Christmas

CC Image courtesy of rumpleteaser by Day on Flickr

KFC is the Christmas meal of choice in Japan. It used to be that the traditional meal was a turkey, which is an expensive delicacy in Japan. Assuming many would be satisfied with having a bird on their table KFC in 1974 launched their Kentucky for Christmas campaign.

Chicken was cheaper and bringing home KFC was much easier than trying to cook a turkey. It’s become such an ingrained tradition people will wait for hours in line to get their Christmas dinner from KFC.


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