More camera equipment just arrived, I’m happy to say : an EF 17-40 f4L lens (the one I was wishing I had in Scotland) and a 420EX flash along with some batteries and other stuff.

Reading through the accompanying documentation got me thinking – how does a company like Canon manage it’s translation, given that they don’t just produce documentation and software and do produce goods for a global market ?

The manual for the lens was a multilingual one, with Japanese, English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese translations. The flash arrived with two manuals, one in English and the other in French. Everything on the lens was written in English though, and indeed everything on the camera the lens is now attached to is also in English – do users in other countries expect to see localised controls ? Do Canon manufacture camera equipment that has also been translated into other languages – anyone know if I could get a French 20D ?

I guess you have to really know your market when doing translation of consumer devices – it could be difficult to change an item with Japanese logos and branding into one with, say Spanish logos and branding, unless of course you do everything in software or have a “skinnable” interface (like some Nokia phones I’ve seen) – but I guess that would sacrifice design, at some level.

At Sun, I’m not aware of much localisation we do on the hardware side – we do produce keyboards
in a variety of languages & layouts – but after that, I’m not sure what other changes we make to our hardware to suit different native languages (of course, our documentation is available on docs.sun.com in many languages)

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