Great resource for translating software docs into English

Often when translating software documentation from Japanese to English, I'll have to find the exact corresponding English names for various OS and other software components. These are things that you can't just make up, because the user will be looking for that actual text on her computer.

I recently discovered a site that makes this a lot easier: http://screenshots.modemhelp.net/. This site has screen shots for Windows and Mac operating systems, as well as popular software, all organized and labeled.

Say, for example, you need to get the names of Control Panel icons from Windows 2000, or the menu items on the context menu for the Recycle bin in Windows Vista, or the System Preferences icons for Mac OS X. Yep, it's all there.

Unfortunately, the site doesn't appear to have screen shots for Windows 7 yet, but at least those are substantially similar to Vista's.

5 comments to Great resource for translating software docs into English

  • What a great resource. Thanks for sharing it with us, Ryan!

  • I think it’s interesting that he’s asserting copyright on screenshots. I doubt he’d want to test that in court. It’s also amusing that his latest OS X screenshots date back to 2001 (and interesting to be reminded of how much OS X has changed).

    At any rate, check out GUIdebook. Much more extensive.

  • @Adam

    Thanks for the link!

    One thing I prefer about http://screenshots.modemhelp.net/ is that the screen shots are arranged like you would find them in the OS. That makes it really easy to follow along with the software docs you’re translating.

    As for copyright, I highly doubt that you can copyright a screen shot, but he probably has a case for the arrangement of screen shots on his site.

  • Fantastic resource; thanks, Ryan. The web sure is a wonderful thing — and it’s even better when colleaegues freely share their great online finds. It’s been bookmarked, and I am certain it will come in handy very soon.

  • bugbread

    Thank you! Excellent! (One of the things I’ve been pondering upgrading to Windows 7 about is precisely that: You can switch OS languages in Windows 7, so as long as what you’re translating relates to Windows 7 (which will become more and more common), you can switch OS languages and check what the English terminology is for a given Japanese OS selection. But that means nothing for all the Vista, XP, and Win2K stuff that appears in documents.

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