Somewhere in our GUI we have a string where a spinner (sometimes called a stepper, depending on what toolkit you use) is sandwiched between two labels which make a complete sentence, "Use 1 in every n items as test data".

Use 1 in every [2] items as test data

This has sticky i18n issues that I don't know the answer to.

  • Can I think of this kind of "1 in n things" phrase being pluralised the same way as "n things" in all languages?
  • Will translators know what to do when they see two incomplete strings? (I already dropped in some comments to explain the relationship between the two.)
  • Will the user interface look jarring to someone in, say, Arabic or Polish, where the plural rules are different, if the text the translator chose doesn't match the number which is currently typed in?

But on the whole, the question is: is this sort of user interface acceptable for internationalisation, or is it a better idea to redo it?


If you flow with the size of the text you'll be fine. Here's why:

enter image description here

The empty string is a powerful thing. This way the translators can put your spinner anywhere they want by simply controlling two different strings.

  • So we're saying we can ignore Polish plurals because they could reorder the entire thing to put it in a place where the plural isn't necessary, I guess. – Trejkaz Jun 16 '17 at 1:36
  • @Trejkaz or they could use conventions for hand-waving at the plural rules like we do in English. You used "items" instead of "item". The way we acknowledge the grammar problem with static text is to say "item(s)". The Polish translators are free to use similar hand-waving with their languages grammar rules. I'm simply pointing out that we can allow every language a lot of flexibility to avoid relying on this trick to heavily. – candied_orange Jun 16 '17 at 1:54
  • Maybe in Poland they experience the problems so frequently that they have simply gotten used to it. In English stuff, it makes me cringe every time I see something like "item(s)". Our Arabic translation has similar dodgy stuff going on, and it's one of the things which Crowdin detect as a potential problem - translation contains some punctuation when the original didn't. – Trejkaz Jun 16 '17 at 4:03

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