Netflix cares about the length of a sentence in a given language. You should too.

Here’s the problem. Netflix shows shows in many different languages. Some languages, like English, allow compact phrases like that “shows shows” (which looks confusing); others use circumlocutions that take up more room on the screen.

Why does matter?

Because it ruins the layouts in Netflix’s carefully designed user interface (or user experience, as they say these days)! It’s really a much bigger problem than merely its effects on Netflix in our multilingual world.Here is an example that they cite in their article on pseudo localization (which I would spell “pseudo-localization,” but I don’t count):

The important point is that the layout has plenty of room for the pithy “Don’t miss out” but not enough room for “Lassen Sie nichts entgehen,” which means the same thing in German.

So what is the poor UI developer to do?

Well, read the article to find out!

Categories: Linguistics, Technology