The September Autodesk Developer Network Plugin of the Month is TransTips for AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, and 3ds Max. You can download this free plugin (which includes the source code as well as ready to use binaries) from the Autodesk Labs site:
This plugin comes to us from Kean Walmsley of Through The Interface fame. TransTips translates the contents of tooltips in various Autodesk products automatically into one of 35+ languages via the Bing online translation service. The translated text is stored in a local cache of XML files, which can also be edited and provided with the plugin, should you wish to provide improved translations for certain tooltips.
The plugin has been tested with AutoCAD 2012, Revit 2012, Inventor 2012, and 3ds Max 2012. This is the first Plugin of the Month for 3ds Max. Before attempting to install this plugin, you must right- click the ZIP file in Windows Explorer, select "Properties" and "Unblock." This allows Autodesk 2012 design applications to load the contents safely. For more information on this issue, see my earlier blog post where I suggested that .NET get more fiber in its diet.
Kean shared some notes as part of supplying this plugin:
Although users outside of countries whose first language is English are adept at using our applications in English, this plugin will help determine if there is benefit for having tooltip assistance in the native language even though the user interface remains in English. It's really about enabling our products to work for people speaking languages into which we don't localize our software.
The plugin has not deliberately disabled translation into languages for which Autodesk does localize, so users can evaluate the plugin with those versions, where they exist.
Machine translation works well for some languages and less well for others. Your feedback can help us pinpoint which are which.
Over time we expect this to improve – we're working with Microsoft to help this happen, but ultimately people should not expect perfect translations.
We hope partners choose to help improve the automatic translations by post-editing the XML cache and deploying the edited files to their users.
In time we may look at some kind of crowdsourcing mechanism for this, but the first priority is to get feedback on R1.
Please try TransTips and let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear your thoughts on how well the Bing translation service does as well as how useful translated tooltips are for you in your daily use of our design applications.
Translation is alive in the lab.