Monday, November 30, 2015

Lost in Translation

When I create an Animated Step-by-Step™ I start with a fully editable version (first generation), then take screen shots of each page and use those screen shots to create the next generation.
All Items Selected on Page -  First Generation                               All Items Selected on Page - Next Generation
                                                                                                       (less memory; no font translation problems)   

There is ‘method in my madness’. By using screen shots of each page (i.e., before the animations appear on the page), I can create files that are less memory intensive and files that avoid the problems that arise if you don’t have the exact same font on your computer (i.e. the meticulous alignment of text and stars will not be compromised by a font substitution).  I then use this ‘next generation version’ to make a regular version and two symbol-supported versions …  Picture Communication Symbols (Mayer-Johnson/Dynavox) and SymbolStix(n2y).

    Regular Version (no symbols)                     Picture Communication Symbol Version                    SymbolStix Version

While this process does solve some issues re: memory and font conversion for English speaking countries, it does create a problem if you were hoping to purchase an ASbyS, then convert the text to a language other than English.

A few years ago I did an AAC workshop in Sweden for which I wanted to provide participants with some Animated Step-by-Steps™ in their native language.

I was fortunate to be working collaboratively with a delightful Swedish colleague, Britt Claesson, who helped me create two Animated Step-by-Steps™ Smulpaj med Äpplen (the Apple Crisp recipe) and Grönöppel och Rödöppel  (Green Apple and Red Apple, a poem by G. Bkornemark & D. Bornemark).

At that time, this exercise was a revelation. The ‘aha’ moments (which hopefully won’t sound too English egocentric) included the following:

  • measurement is often different and requires conversion (given the current internet this is not as daunting a task, as it would have a few decades ago);

  • packaging looks very different in different countries, so ASbyS pages that included packaging need to be altered  (given the fact that most smart phones include a camera, this conversion was also doable, albeit time consuming);

  • poems no longer rhyme after translation (ARRRRGH!) so its often easier to just start with a poem reflecting the language of the country;
  • grammar conversion may be a bit tricky,  requiring you to occasionally rethink some of the animation sequences.

Of all the files currently available, Crafts and Science projects seem most amenable to translation.

So if you are from a non English speaking country and are interested in a particular file, feel free to purchase the English version then contact me and I will be happy to send you a dropbox link to the fully editable version of the file that can be converted to your native language.

…’til the next post …  (new posts every Monday)

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©2015 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.
Augmentative Communication Consultant
Speech-Language Pathologist
Special Educator