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I'm working on a reminder application. Specifically, I'm now building the snooze functionality. I'd like to do a layout using buttons like this:

Snooze for 15 minutes

Clicking minutes allows you to change to hours/days/etc. Clicking on for switches to the alternative interface like this:

Snooze until 23rd Oct, 2013 22:00

However, I'm concerned that this like-a-sentence structure layout may not translate well into other languages. I don't know enough about other languages to know if I translate the individual words if the 'sentence' still makes sense or would this layout be confusing in other languages. I appreciate that there are even more challenges with Right-to-left languages, but I'm primarily interested in European languages. Will this layout work as-is with proper translation?

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Did you consider to use symbols and icons to represent the data? Like "+" icon should be universally recognized as addition. Snooze + 15 mins (hours? and days? for snooze might be redundant) The snooze until date and time I'm not sure how effective it is and doubt the usefulness of that function as snooze is define as a short period of sleep. Might as well allow the user to set another alarm timing. – SimonTeo Oct 23 '13 at 4:17
Please, provide full graph of options. For two examples you provided there's no problem to translate it to Slovak. – Frantisek Kossuth Oct 23 '13 at 7:51
@SimonTeo Thanks for your comments. I agree that snooze is synonymous with a short timescale, but I want to give the users flexibility to snooze (for a short time) or reset the alarm (i.e. a longer snooze) in one easy interface. – Chris Knight Oct 23 '13 at 20:06
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not sure this applies for all languages - but for example Hebrew, has a usually reverse-adjective-noun structure - unlike English. For example:

My big dog is funny.

In hebrew would be structured:

(The) dog (the) big my [is] funny

Weird, huh? But for your case, generally the structure can still work, at least in the way that the [until/for] [date/time] [time/span] might be possible to always include after the rest of the sentence.

In English AND Hebrew:

Snooze [for] [15] [minutes]
Snooze [until] [Oct 23, 2013] [22:00]

Would still work perfectly.

Short answer: if you have good translators, it might be able to work properly for most languages.

Alternative solution: If it won't hurt development too much, developers can use a templating engine for translation.

Snooze {a} {b} {c}

Which will be rearrangable in other languages:

Snooze {b} {c} {a}
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Thanks @Chen Asraf this is just what I was looking for. I've done some research and my development platform (Android) does allow for language specific layouts, so I can fall back on this when the translation makes the layout confusing. – Chris Knight Oct 23 '13 at 20:12

No, it will not work. There are languages with no prefixes - basically, where there are prefixes in English, nouns and verbs change their form. In these languages there is no way to translate "for" to something.

Uralic languages are such ones for example - Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian

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