In preparation for the upcoming release of Firefox 3.1 3.5 later this year, we have been looking for feedback from users regarding the current beta builds and specifically feedback for the new localization efforts to date.
Kevin Miller Jr., a programmer/blogger and educator in Vietnam, was kind enough to offer help by assigning his 11th and 12th grade students in his ICT class at the American International School (in Saigon, Vietnam) to review the Firefox 3.1 Beta Vietnamese builds. Note that these students are not programmers but as they go to an international school in Vietnam, they are fluent in English and are able to provide us feedback directly.
We received 33 pieces of feedback which I have aggregated into this pdf: Vietnam_feedback.pdf. I’ve taken out real names and left in nicknames. I’ve also reformatted the text to be a little more readable.
Looking at the feedback in aggregate, a few thoughts.
A number of comments mentioned that the 3.1 Beta seemed slower than 3.0. It’s unclear if this was due to the application or the website visited or the network connectivity at that moment. We hope to follow up with Kevin’s students once the final 3.5 is released to see if the perceptions of slowness have changed.
A number of comments discussed the frustration of having to download plugins to run Flash. I think this is a common point of frustration for average users that we may want to review.
A number of comments discussed the fact that the Vietnamese interface was confusing to those who had only used English interfaces to date. Some of the comments discussed possible other translations for menu items, which can be reviewed and debated by the vi l10n team. Some of the comments discussed the fact that the reviewer did not know the Vietnamese computer terms due to the fact that they had only used English-language software.
It is important to remember that this particular sample is of users who are fluent in English. While probably many Internet users in Vietnam are comfortable with English, the goal for the Vietnamese Firefox localization is for those users who are not comfortable with English or who will be getting online in the near future and would prefer a localized Vietnamese interface. Unfortunately, I think this is a common issue in locales where software has been late to be localized and English interfaces have been the default.
We would like to thank Kevin and all of his students for taking the time to review the localized builds and provide this feedback.
I’ll close with a few quotes from the students.
I am not a professional user in the internet world so I do not have any ideas about other to add in features, I just feel happy to know there will be more Vietnamese can easily go online and do research in a web browser has their own language. I hope this new version in Vietnamese of Firefox will be supported strongly by a big amount of users.
Although English is common and understandable for many people right now, it is good to have a Vietnamese version so that a wide range of people can get access to this technology without knowing English. Sometimes the English used commonly on the websites are easy, but when it comes to explaining technical terms or errors, it is very hard to understand. Moreover, it is good to see Vietnamese besides other big languages.
While using Firefox 3.1 Beta, I have no trouble and feel more comfortable than using Internet Explore[r]. The majority of Vietnamese population doesn’t know much English especially people who live in rural areas or elder people or the one who received a limited education. Thus, the Vietnamese version of Firefox would be necessary and convenient for them. I think the mother-tongue version of Firefox would be not only useful in Vietnam but is also helpful in non-English speaking countries. To perfect the version, Firefox should fix the translating problems so everyone can fully understand.
All of the localizations that are in beta are looking for feedback and we appreciate all efforts to provide feedback so that our localizations can be the most accessible and understandable in each specific locale that Firefox is released in.