Many of the issues discussed in Designing for eventual translation describe changes that will appear in windows in your application. These issues may be more immediately relevant if you’re in the process of preparing your application for international markets. However, keeping these topics in mind as you begin designing your application will help make future localization easier.
There are four aspects of window layouts that are likely to be different from one locale to another.
Translation of English to other languages typically increases the length of the text by thirty to fifty percent. You can allow for this expansion by making prompt boxes wider than required for English text. Also, try to limit the length of the English text. This is especially important in contexts where the amount of space is limited, such as the menu bar.
The actual space required for translated text depends largely upon the target language, so your individual requirements may vary. Size these elements according to your anticipated international needs, but recognize that you’ll probably need to make additional changes to the interface regardless of your initial planning.
Extended character sets may not always be displayed correctly, depending upon the font that’s being used. If you find that characters such as Å or ç aren’t displayed correctly in the Windows version of your application, add the NativeFontLeading=TRUE setting to the defaults file. This setting changes the way fonts are displayed, allowing extra vertical space to accommodate accented uppercase letters.
Some window fields may need to be repositioned to accommodate local standards for data entry or accounting functions. Translating text may require changes to window design, since the size of the text may increase.
When designing graphic elements or icons, be aware that some images may be offensive or inappropriate in certain cultures or contexts. We recommend that you verify that the graphics in your application are appropriate for the target country.