Is It Important to Localize Developer Tools?

This article was originally written in English. Text in other languages was provided by machine translation.


Do you create multilingual content or apps using Flash Builder? Do you use a localized version of Builder? Why or why not? Do you prefer to develop in English while deploying in multiple languages?

We would like to hear your voice and understand your pain points. Please link to our short survey on Flex and localization so we can understand what is important to you.
Many thanks!
Janice Campbell, Flex Localization

20 thoughts on “Is It Important to Localize Developer Tools?”

  1. I do not like a localized IDE or compiler. Especially when you have errors. The translated messages are annoying and confusing. I always have to read the errors multiple times to understand the problem. When you want to find to stuff on the internet on these errors it is easier if they are all in English. So you get more hits.

    We have to build mutlilingual applications. The way Flex applications do this localization is pretty painfull and errorprone compared to what i’ve experienced in Delphi and .NET. Especially this: you have to write all translation code on labels and stuff on components youself while for example Deplhi and .NET offer these automatically. Like someone else described it on the internet after localization your Flex code looks like a bird flew over and dropped his …. on it. In Delphi an .NET most code you need to look at when working is untouched. We have made some helper classes/methods, but is not as fancy as i was used to.

    BTW i am Dutch.

  2. In my opinion localized IDE is not really needed. I worked in a team that comprised of different nationalities with different native language for the past few years and there are no issue with everyone using English IDE. It is easier to communicated too. Imagine telling someone using Flash Builder with another locale to “Go to Preference and click on ‘Flash Builder’ , then click on ‘Debug’ and then uncheck that ‘Warn about possible Security Error'” .

    localized IDE is good when you are working in a term that all speaks that language, but not so nowadays in most teams!

  3. A professional developer !!!should know English!!!. The whole software development world revolves around it. So for me having a localized IDE can only make things worse. 90% of the tutorials and materials for using that IDE will be in English which will make using it in another language even harder.

    As for the applications I am using English even for the code. Variables, classes, ids everything has an English name. And of course, the default values for the localisation are in English.

  4. I have a short term and long term opinions about this matter.
    For a short term, I don’t consider localized IDE so necessary for my language (Croatian). In fact, I think that most of developers would still use English version even if localized version existed.
    The root cause lies in the fact that 99% of literature and tooling we use is still in English and for experienced users it’s much easier to navigate interface, error messages notifications etc. when they comply to most of the sources they use in learning and other everyday readings.
    Just to illustrate the fact I can mention a case of localized Microsoft Office that exists for years now in Croatian. I barely know any developer that uses localized version. The gap of switching language context for a complicated tool is probably just to big. However, most other people enjoy localized version and it came to them as a savior.

    For long term reasons, I advocate having localized versions of tools whenever possible because it helps preserving and developing technical terminology for other not-so-widespread-languages. It won’t stop developers looking funny when talking to each other on the street, but passers-by will have a better chance to distinguish their origin 🙂

    Code localization is another story. It’s really nice that we have some kind of support, but that’s still far from great. Some other development enviroments have much better support. Every our application is multilanguage and i18n is deeply involved into our production processes.
    Long story short – I’d put better i18n support closely to top of my feature requests for next version of tools.

  5. I agree with André, having runtime errors in French will get you less hits so you have to look for the error code which can retrieve various results.
    We use FB in English because of so many bad experience with other software. Take SVN Eclipse Connectors for example. French translations don’t make sense most of the time. And sometimes, special letters (with accent, important in french) ain’t displayed or with a wrong encoding so that it gets really confusing.
    Here, we prefer English IDE because everything we have is in english (inc. Eclipse for Java developpers) so having FB in french doesn’t make sense, in our situation

    Out of this subject, having a Linux version of FB back would be a great thing !

  6. It would be very helpful to have Slovak and Czech locale for Flex Framework, so new developers can start learning this technologies without language barier.

    Please, add support for sk_SK and cs_CZ locales.

  7. Localized IDEs don’t help you to be a better programmer. You need to know english anyway since the programming languages are english. Like André said, the worst thing are localized error messages that can get very confusing if you deal with other developers.

  8. The responses above are predictable and irrelevant. If they can read the post, if they can come here in the first place, they are fluent in English and don’t need a localized version. The issue is how to reach those potential ciders that don’t have access to language training. If the can’t read the survey, they can’t respond and their need is not captured.

    It would serve Adobe to test a few languages like Chinese and Portuguese and measure adoption.


    1. You are absolutely right, Renato. I am aware of the bias here. We already discovered that in a previous version of the survey to Flex super users. However, I’m looking to capture some other data as well. We are translating the survey into Japanese and Simplified Chinese and will roll this out next week to a select user group. It’s not possible to launch 20+ versions of this survey at this time, but we will consider some other languages. Thanks for your insightful comments, Renato! Keep them coming!

  9. Hi, John

    I think it’s 2 thing to consider

    1st answer

    In Thailand, most of the tool we’ve used are in English. But the needs about localize tool and localization are THE MUST.

    Since Thai is a complex language, we have 4 levels of character, not like Eng that has only small cap and capital letter. Sometime, the layout must have to be very flexible. Actually Flash Builder is capable. So in this area it’d be ok.

    2nd answer

    If some people ask the menu, dialog can be Thai ? Yes, it’ll be more wide spread into new comer. But from my experience, it’d be translated carefully. So many bad experience in the pass from MS product.

    What I expect should be rely on resources to learn Flash Builder and AS3 are the thing that must be translated. Since this thing can help people LEARN, localize only IDE CAN’T help people learn.

    Thank you!

  10. I believe that translations done well can indeed contribute to the adoption of Adobe Flex Builder and Flash in universities and training centers. It is easier to learn the IDE and even compiler errors for those who are starting their life in the development and does not have the technical knowledge of English.

  11. Hi, I speak Spanish, and I realy prefer to use in English version, is more natural, more easy.


  12. I really hate having to figure out what the translated error messages try to tell me.
    In fact I came here after searching the web for a way to get FB4 to talk plain old English to me. But that doesn’t seem to be documented anywhere.

    1. Hi Frank, I’m confused about what you are looking for. FB4 does not have any strings translated into Dutch, though Flex4 does. If you install FB in English, all your error messages should be in English. Or, are you saying that the English strings are not providing enough information? Janice

  13. I’m from Russia and have to say the ugliest thing I’ve seen in my flex developer career is localized compiler error messages. There is no way to figure out what do they mean and it’s not possible to google ’em. I’ve turned them off but it wasn’t easy for the first time.

    I’m sure the tools for making localized flash/flex apps are must have.
    But please, no localized IDEs. And if you are still up to it provide a clear easy simple way to switching from one language to another.

Leave a Reply to Thomas Tourlourat Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *