"Sie beachteten die Informationsleiste?"

Martin Dittus · 2006-06-12 · drop culture · write a comment

I'm an avid OS X user, but that doesn't mean I'm not curious about other systems. At the moment I'm watching out for new Vista screencasts, and with the recent release of Beta 2 I got plenty of those.

While watching a screencast on AlphaJunkie I was thoroughly entertained by the amount of dialog windows that randomly pop up to interrupt the user's workflow whenever he opens an application or uses an OS-level feature. "Windows need your permission to continue", "Do you want to get the latest online content when you search Help?", and my personal favorite, "Did you notice the Information Bar?"


Or the fact that the "Set up devices" wizard, if confronted with unknown hardware, results in four (4!) successive messages, dialog windows and popups that essentially say "We have no driver for this."

But here's the kicker: I searched for one of these beautifully phrased messages and found an MS Knowledge Base article 884183, "The Help window does not appear and you receive a warning message ...". After I clicked on the article I got a German version (under the same URL as the English original), preceded by the following disclaimer:


I'll give you a rough translation. The title of the article already makes use of both grammatically incorrect and misleading German (it implies that it's the user who displays a warning message, not Vista), but the following paragraph is even more insulting.

ATTENTION: This Knowledge Base article was translated by a machine translation system without human supervision. ...

It's safe to assume that this isn't how Microsoft will handle their public documentation from now on, but that it's an intermediate version that will be translated manually at some point. After all, the product hasn't even been released yet, so we can't expect that the documentation is already up to date, let alone its translations.

But I wonder what pisses people off more: Having to read the English version, or being confronted with a broken and misleading machine translation with broken grammar that misuses terms and randomly repeats sentence fragments and punctuation. Yeah, tough call.

Oh, and the popup language selector on the Knowledge Base article doesn't work in Safari, but what else is new.


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