Related link: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/h/360
Google’s international front ends are an example of something I like to call ‘language skins’. They are quite easy to change (see this Hack for help when you’re away and don’t know the language Google is talking to you in) and make your life easier when you are on the move in a country where the local language is one you don’t know.
Every desktop application’s window ought to have the ability to change language skins seamlessly and without rebooting the whole system or restarting applications. Changing window and menu language, or keyboard layout for each window and dialog ought to be only a single mouse click away.
It will not only make software localization easier and faster, but will make book publisher’s and user’s life easier. The classic problem with today’s software and computer books is their localization. Suppose a German-speaking professional is assigned to a Moscow office, where all versions of Word are localized for the Russian user. If he has a problem with some options, his German Word manual will be useless, because the messages he sees in print and on screen don’t match; similarly, he won’t get much help from a Russian Word manual if he doesn’t speak Russian. With language skins he could change the descriptions of windows and menus to German and keep on working in the way he is used to.