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How to translate the accesskeys for an extension Print
Written by Charmed94   
Tuesday, 28 August 2007

What is an accesskey?

 An accesskey is an underlined letter in a user interface string. It tells which key must be pressed on the keyboard to get the same result as a mouse-click.

On the screenshot below, striking Alt+A (Ctrl+A for Mac users) will check  "Automatically log in. "


Here are the relative codelines in the .dtd file of the en-US locale, where you can see clearly letters "C", "A" and "u" as separate entities:


ak correct input for en-US

 >>>>>Read more (en)

Why must accesskeys  be translated?

An accesskey is a letter from the word or string which is displayed. And obviously this word or string is not the same in other languages than English. So the same letter may or may not appear in another language.

If we have "C" as accesskey for "Checked", we cannot find any "C" in the French translation "Vérifier" nor in the Swedish "Kontrollera".

Here is an example of what happens if we choose not to translate accesskeys, leaving the en-US letters in the fr-FR translation:



An ugly accesskey letter appears between brackets at the end of the string. Else the target accesskey letter is found and underlined somewhere else in the string,  but not necessarily in a user-friendly position...Undecided

 Now this is a more correct choice for the French user:




Here you can see the relative .dtd lines:



... and this is how it appears in the WTS on BabelZilla:





How to choose accesskeys for your language?

  • Always prefer the first letter of a string, whenever it is possible, at least the first letter of a significant word of a string.



  • Never use twice the same accesskey in the same window, otherwise it simply will not work. That is why the final displaying must always been checked and tested.



  • Choose it easy to see and easy to remember. Avoid letters where the underline is difficult to notice, such as p, g, I, etc. (p, g, l...Frown). Also don't use diacritic, diaeresis and ligature characters (well let's say special charactersWink) such as É Û þ Ñ....



  • Note that the accesskey is case sensitive. When you use upper case character as accesskey, but in the phrase there is only lower case, as accesskey will be used first lower case character. If you use lower case character, but in the phrase are 2 or more same characters, as accesskey also will be used first character.

>>>>Read more (en)


- A Goofy minihowto -

Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 May 2010 )
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