Windows Phone

Translating Windows Phone Features

There are a number of steps when translating a Windows Phone app. Hopefully you are using the Microsoft Multilingual App Toolkit ( which supports the standard XLIFF format. Often you will start with your own language string resources and then add other languages, possibly first with machine translation and then passing them to a native speaker to correct. Since Windows Phone (and Windows 8) adopt quite an informal conversational style it is likely that colloquialisms will enter your text which won’t necessarily translate literally. Also there will be times when you want to use a phrase for a system feature or action where there are existing strings which appear throughout the system. You’ll want to match these to avoid confusing the user. Take for example “Pin to Start” – if translated literally it would imply that you must use a pin to start some action (e.g. French “broche pour commencer”), when actually you want to place a link on your start screen, the OS uses the following string “épingler sur l’écran d’accueil”. The good news is all of these are available publicly for all of the supported Windows Phone languages. The Microsoft Languages site ( has a search tool which allows you to look up phrases for particular products and in specific languages. For example a deep link to the “pin to Start” string would be:-

Don’t be surprised if the search returns multiple identical matches, I’ve noticed this happens frequently. An example of where I used this was in my NFC Share Task. In order to be instantly familiar I wanted exactly the same text and appearance as activating the feature from built in apps, and I wouldn’t be able to call on native speakers from every possible language for Windows Phone 8. You get the advantage here of Microsoft’s own user testing and provide consistent wording to features the user will already be familiar with.

By Peter Freeman Foot

Microsoft Windows Development MVP