Translating the text in an interface is a challenging task. Besides the jargon and technical terms, many of the strings are often very short, such as those shown in buttons and pull-down menus. Then, as a result of the lack of visual context in the traditional localization process, an important ambiguity problem arises. We study three approaches to solve this problem: using plain gettext (baseline condition), using gettext plus being able to operate the UI, and translating the UI in-place. We found that translators are substantially faster with plain gettext but commit a significantly higher number of errors in comparison to the other approaches. Unexpectedly, the mixed condition was slower and more error-prone than in-place translation. The latter was found to be comparable to plain gettext in terms of time, although some strings passed unnoticed as the UI was operated. Based on our results, we arrive at a set of recommendations to augment localization tools to improve translator's productivity.

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