Redmond, Washington, USA. Microsoft announced today a new localization solution for applications that run on top of its Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. This new solution, called Microsoft Application Translator (MAT) enables applications to offer on-the-fly localization with no code change and limited investment in localization.
Houman Pournasseh, MAT Project Manager, stated that “Even though there are many opportunities for ISV’s and developers to sell their applications globally, they often choose not to localize their applications to other languages and move into these markets because:
- The high cost of localization cannot be offset by local sales
- They lack expertise in the area of internationalization
June 10, 2004 update: Due to overwhelming response, the beta program for MAT is closed. Watch this space for future announcements.
Mr. Pournasseh continued, “MAT enables applications to use Microsoft supplied translation tables of the most commonly used words and phrases in Windows-based applications to display their User Interface (UI) elements in any of the languages to which Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 has been fully localized or partially localized as a LIP package.” He also mentioned that currently the number of languages supported is more than 35 with more to come.
In addition to translation tables supplied by Microsoft, ISV’s and developers can provide their own alternative translation tables for their applications. This will allow them to:
- cover additional languages
- provide alternative translations other than those supplied by Microsoft
- provide translation for application specific terminology not covered by MAT's translation tables
Starting on May 3, 2004, Microsoft is accepting applications to join the MAT beta testing program. ISVs and application developers wishing to particiapte in the beta program can submit their application via https://beta.microsoft.com and using Guest ID "MATGuest" (case sensitive) to log in.
In closing, Mr. Pournasseh pointed out “The on-the-fly translations of common UI terms based on Microsoft translation tables will allow ISVs to offer, at nominal costs to them or their customers, a localized solution for any of the Windows languages transparently. It will also allow users to run applications in their native language giving them a more consistent experience in Windows, plus it will allow Microsoft to team up with ISVs to offer them added value for their Windows based applications.”