There are many reasons why I don’t trust localized computer software, and only run the US English version. First and foremost is the inconsistency of translations across applications by different vendors. Luckily, the usual words like “Tools” or “Paste” are almost always correct, but there are still cases that have confused me to no end.

Worse though is when everyday terms get mangled. Really, does anyone say anything other than Copy and Paste? “Lim in”, the Norwegian term for Paste, literally means to glue in. Now, a lot of people who know where the term paste originated from will understand this, but is that really necessary?

And just today, I was discussing BOMs (Byte Order Marks) with a friend who said his editor didn’t support them. Turns out his editor was the same as my editor, except in his, the option to use them was “Ident. Bytes bei UTF-8 hinzufügen” (add ident. bytes to UTF-8). Not only is the editor using a term that none of us had heard before – and we’re both programmers whose native language is German – it managed to abbrevimangle it to the point where even the translation became incomprehensible.

Back in the days of DOS 3.x, this was never a problem. Can I please get my time-machine already? With a big shiny “take me back to the 80s” button. Or “Ich möchte in die achtziger Jahre reisen”, if you have to.

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