I read this on the internet today. It’s pretty good and made me think I should probably share some of the work I did for Moblin Netbook the year before last. Note: this does not apply to MeeGo.Moblin is different. This is what you always need to remember when translating it into another language. Moblin is not OS X, GNOME, Windows or a phone.
Moblin is not you, we do not use ‘My’ anywhere. As Moblin is your friend we use ‘Your’ this should be an informal you if your language has differences in status.
Moblin is your friend. She’s one of our design personas - a single woman approx 30 years of age with a teenage son. She speaks informally and demotically to you, but not disrespectfully. You are treated as a partner throughout.
Moblin is not creepy. It doesn’t remember embarassing things. It is always polite.
Moblin is funny, but not too funny. As an extension of the informality occasionally the interface will make a culturally specific pun or joke. This is intentional and should be replicated to your translation. Not specifically in the same place and not the same joke. Consider the many translations of the excellent Asterix comic book series where the jokes are culturally specific, everyone feels like they’ve been told the same joke - but they actually share a joke space where everyone feels included despite having a seperate experience.
We aim only to use humour as a double indicator, where the user has another way of finding out the correct context. A great example is the volume control where the user can see their position on the slider and use the slider to control the volume. In English the descriptions of the slider positions are jokes based on Music and audio that is understood by the target market e.g. ‘Turned up to 11’. We aim for a maximum of 20% humorous labels in a multiple choice box. Be thoughtful.
Moblin is a symbiosis between hardware and software, collectively referred to as the ‘computer’. Moblin takes responsibility for successes and failures across the system.
Have fun writing for Moblin and it’s quite likely that your users will have fun using it.