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We have an application that is localised in 40 languages and that number is growing.

When a person first starts up the program they are greeted with an interface language choice: interface language greeter

When a user ever wishes to change their selected localization language, they can choose from a scrolling list such as: change localization language configuration

We used crowdin to enable users to inform the localization for their language. The thing is that we want to encourage people to use the localization even if it is incomplete, thinking they may want to contribute if they see gaps. How can our system indicate that?

I am thinking of partially greying out language names that are only partially done, such as shown here: localized language to select is beta

How else could the system indicate that the language is incomplete, and needs contributions?

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  • Does there need to be a backup language in cases that the chosen localization isn't complete?
    – Merchako
    Oct 22, 2023 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

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I wouldn't use an icon at all.

Forty languages are a lot, and the icon's meaning will only be clear to languages with more speakers, such as English and Spanish. Discoverability in less common languages will be quite challenging.

Instead, I'd do it like WordPress does: simply use labels and percentages. Below is an example of translation status for all languages for a plugin:

enter image description here

and if you click on the specific translation, you get this:

enter image description here

While if you click on the percentages in teh first image, you get this page:

enter image description here

This approach is a well-known and straightforward pattern with minimal friction.

However, you could use visual cues such as percentage bars or small pie charts, but I'd strongly recommend avoiding icons unless they're purely for decorative purposes.

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    Thanks Devin. That is a sensible approach. I will add some more detail to the question as what you seem to be describing is more of a chart for developing / translating. The display I am talking about is more about what the user of the application sees. Oct 17, 2023 at 21:34
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    Got it. Yet the answer is the same: Add something like "55% done" or whatever you see fit. If space is a concern, you can add a legend on top reading something like "translation percentage in parentheses" and then just add "55%".
    – Devin
    Oct 17, 2023 at 22:39
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Use more complex components

There are some limitations of the UI components you're using when you offer the language choices. Those limitations are preventing you from presenting additional data.

  • A inline list of chips is terse and difficult for the eye to scan.
  • Dropdown menu is terse and difficult to scroll through to see the options because it's on a "temporary surface"

40 items is too many for either chips or menus.

Instead, consider a modal list (dialog) with complex list items

----------------------------------------------------
|Choose the language of the interface              |
|--------------------------------------------------|
|<input><icon icon="search">Search</icon></input>  |
|--------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|
|*Français*          <progress circle value=90% /> |
|French                                            |
|--------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|
|*Igbo*              <progress circle value=30% /> |
|--------------------------------------------------|
|--------------------------------------------------|
|*bahasa Indonesia*  <progress circle value=75% /> |
|Indonesian                                        |
|--------------------------------------------------|
----------------------------------------------------

You want the modal to be tall so lots of options can be seen at once, and ideally there'll be a search box so users can quickly navigate 40+ languages (and even search by alternative names).

UI mockup of modal language picker with title, search input, and language options listed vertically. Each language option is a list item (row) with autonym, canonical name, and percentage level of completeness

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