International timeliness and quality of Windows® 7
In earlier versions of Windows, the final delivery of every language to every market took several months. To significantly shorten this delay, there has been a significant change in the mechanism of international releases so that all users worldwide can enjoy Windows as simultaneously as possible.
Let us first understand two important concepts - localization and globalization.
Adapting the user experience into another language is known as Localization. Beyond the translation of strings, it also includes features such as mirroring icons for right-to-left languages and such as Hebrew and Arabic resizing dialogs.
On the other hand, globalization is the process of producing a product that works good in every country. A globalization bug may be as complex as not properly handling right-to-left scripts and as simple as showing a UI element in the wrong language. Globalization bugs usually affect many or all languages and often require rethinking the technical design and that is why they are naturally more serious than localization bugs.
Windows 7 Pseudo-localization
Pseudo-localized builds were created to prevent common globalization bugs. A process that creates a localized product in an artificial language is known as Pseudo-localization. Although this language is identical to English except that each character in this language is written with a different character that resembles to the English character. A pseudo-localized builds has been created exactly the same way as the localized builds except for being entirely machine generated. It has proven to be an excellent way to find globalization problems early in the development cycle because even monolingual US software developers can read pseudo-localized text. In the Windows 7 beta, some UI elements were still in their pseudo-localized form which caused some interesting theories about what the meaning might be.
Windows 7 Pilot Languages
People from over 113 countries downloaded the Microsoft new operating system i.e the Windows 7 Beta. Windows 7 has very exciting and improved features and some new languages.
In the past, localization languages for Windows beta releases were selected for a mix of practical reasons. We have also found that serious globalization defects were not reported because they did not appear in the chosen Windows 7 languages. The priority was to find globalization bugs for Windows 7 Beta and therefore Microsoft has concentrated on four languages that experience has shown are most likely to find specific types of defects. These languages are:
German - German can reveal dialog size and alignment defects better than other languages and it contains some very long words.
Japanese - Japanese is a great way to find defects that affect many East Asian languages as it has tens of thousands of characters, multiple non-Latin scripts, alternative input method engines, and an especially complex orthography.
Arabic - Including this language in the Beta helped us test code paths not exercised by German and Japanese as it is written right-to-left and with contextual shaping. The character shape depends on adjacent characters.
Hindi - Testing Hindi helps find legacy (non-Unicode) defects that affect all such languages as Windows 95 and Windows 98 never supported Hindi and support for this language relies entirely on Unicode.
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