Aaron Presley

What is Pseudo Translation? April 23, 2021 Topics: i18n

Pseudo Translation refers to the method of converting ASCII characters into a jumbled format that makes life easier for Designers and Engineers working on multi-lingual projects.

It's one of the most under-utlized tools in the Globalization space, and I want to tell you about it.

An Example

Incoming ASCII Outgoing Pseudo Translation
Hello, World! 世界Ĥệḻḻỗ, 𝕎ỗřḻḋ!ẍŤ𝐉Ĥ𝕎ỗṊḆŚċ你好

How is this Helpful?

There are three primary benefits to using Pseudo Translation during your early design / development process:

  1. It converts ASCII characters to Unicode characters
    This helps Engineers be certain that their codebase is encoding their text properly.

  2. It expands text length
    This helps Designers and Engineers account for expressive languages. If your design or your UI can adapt to Pseudo Translation, then it can likely adapt to the most verbose of languages.

  3. It appends and prepends challenge characters
    Some characters cause problems regularly. By adding these characters to each Pseudo Translation I'm likely to catch bugs much more quickly.

How do I use it?

Great question. I've created two resources for using Pseudo Translation in your codebases.

The NPM Module

I made an NPM module named i18n-pseudo that can apply Pseudo Translation in your node or javascript baed projects. Check it out here.

The Figma Plugin

It seems a majority of Figma plugins dealing with Globalization / Localization are all proprietary to Translation Vendors. This is lame.

I've created a Figma plugin called G11N Utilities that lets a Designer apply Pseudo Translation to any text layers. Check it out here, or contribue features here.