Language packages for internationality
Multilingualism is not only an issue for the employees of global companies. The expansion of labor markets towards Southern and Eastern Europe also requires multilingual software applications in many industries in order to design processes securely and efficiently. Logistics stands for internationality like hardly any other industry.
With this in mind, the VISIT Logistics software was designed to be multilingual from the outset: The user interface for operators is available in the standard languages German, English and French. In the past, 25 language packages - including exotic ones such as Arabic and Chinese - have been developed to enable communication between drivers and customers and thus targeted interaction in yard management.
Language packages: Simple updates to keep your finger on the logistics pulse
The technical implementation of different languages for a complex application such as VISIT Logistik is part of the daily business for the developers at ASTRUM IT. VISIT Logistik can currently be delivered with 25 language packages. Extensions can be made at any time by purchasing a license and updating.
All elements such as screen dialogs, input fields, menu labels, help texts, safety instructions or prompts are displayed. Particularly important for logistics: units of measurement, weights and currencies can also be displayed in the driver's target language. In addition to improved yard management, customers also automatically benefit from increased operator acceptance.
It's all a question of the right (file) format: one application - many languages.
From a technical point of view, language packages are files that are saved in a specific format such as *.gettext. This creates the basis for outputting the texts within VISIT Logistics in the driver's target language.
The software developer stores all terms for the application in German. For example, if customers now order an Arabic and Chinese language package, there will be an Arabic and a Chinese file in addition to the German *.gettext file. Every text that can be displayed in VISIT Logistik has a special text marker that enables automatic translation.
If a driver selects "Arabic" during initial contact with his customer, the file is loaded and the terms are automatically displayed in his native language.
VISIT Logistics is optionally available with the following language packages:
New languages, new challenges: international yard management
The major challenge in the realization of such language packages is linguistics:
The following examples illustrate this: the German alphabet is a variant of the Latin alphabet and consists of 26 letters and other so-called umlauts as well as the eszett (ß). However, this is not used everywhere in German-speaking countries (CH).
The Arabic alphabet, on the other hand, symbolizes the Arabic language and consists of 28 letters. With the exception of 6 letters, all the others are joined from right to left - in contrast to the German alphabet. The programmer must take this into account during development in order to communicate texts clearly.
The Chinese language package and its special features
Strictly speaking, the Chinese alphabet does not exist. In China, characters are used instead of letters, which function differently. Software developers have to take into account syllables, for example, which are represented as so-called logograms. The basis for the Chinese language is the Kangxi dictionary, which contains more than 47,000 Chinese characters. Although not all of these are used in everyday life, they clearly show how large the delta between the languages is and the dimensions of software development for multilingual applications. This is another reason why the experts at VISIT Logistik work with native speakers. In this way, ASTRUM IT ensures that topics such as personal data or safety information are actually understood by the operator/driver.
Text length and reading direction: so that the front end is understood correctly
Once software developers have translated all the terms of an application into the target language in the first step, the varying text lengths and the reading/writing direction in the front end must now be taken into account. This is the only way to guarantee that all information is understood by the driver, that yard management works and that VISIT Logistik is accepted by the user.
VISIT Logistic is one of the leading programs for yard management in terms of linguistic diversity and functionalities - also because new language packages are constantly being developed.