[ubuntu-art] Apport icons -- merely some ideas

Nacho de los Ríos Tormo nachodelosrios at gmail.com
Sat Feb 10 18:26:39 GMT 2007

Donn escribió:
> Hi,
> Thanks for your great feedback.
>> I've tried the icon on my boyfriend, and he was totally clueless; he
>> offered possibilities such as "notepad", or "drawing", but he did not
>> guess what the bug meant in the first place. It is not a statistically
>> meaningful experiment, but he's an architect used to computers --
>> *windows* computers, unfortunately ;-).
> You are correct, for example I cannot imagine what someone in Thailand thinks 
> of a 'bug' or someone in Sweden, etc. I was basing it on my point of view and 
> also on the computer "culture" where there are several memes 
> like "bugs", "windows", "cursors" and so on, however you are quite correct 
> that they are all English words. It's amazing, to me, to hear about the 
> word "fallos" -- I made the automatic assumption that a picture of a bug 
> would translate in anyone's mind into the same meme.
It happens a lot more than you might think, and there are some examples 
that might be found hilarious. In Unix, a traditional icon for a command 
shell is ... a shell! Unfortunately, it reads as "clam" or "snail" in 
other languages. In Webmin (does anybody still use it?), the icon for a 
log -- as in "captain's log" -- was a piece of wood (which generally 
reads as "firewood"). And in an FPGA design program I used, the icon for 
"save" was the image of a pig!

Yeah, I agree that icons should be based on the locale. Whenever there 
is an image that clearly depicts the meme itself, then it should be 
trans-lingually transportable; but there are occasions when the only 
thing that pops to your mind is the image of a totally different concept 
that only shares the same name, and those polysemic icons should be 
redone for each language -- or maybe even for each culture!

Leandro, a brazillian guy has written in this thread that the problem is 
not so bad in Brazil, because they don't translate most of the 
computer-related words.

To that I argue that, even in these cases, in the adoptive language, the 
adopted word comes to represent a new concept and the other meanings the 
original word had are lost (except for people with a good knowledge of 
English). And the original English word is phonetically distorted in 
order to sound like a native word. There are people in Spain (with 
computer science background) that call bugs "boogs", and if you say 
"boog" to them, they always think "fallo", never "bicho".

And then, watch how the images have to change in time: for anybody under 
15, the floppy disk icon for "save" is totally opaque!

Your idea for the icon poll page sounds interesting; something must 
really be done about this.

The broken arrow is a great step forward. Could you try a broken 
computer? Though maybe that's got too much detail, and won't scale down 
well. I like the bomb/explosion simile too.

Keep up the good work!


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