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The Maintenance Management Blog

May 01, 2023

CMMS In Other Languages

You're in the maintenance department of a medium to large-sized industry. You're enjoying the benefits of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). You understand the organization the system brings to assets, inventory, preventive maintenance, work orders, purchasing, human resources, and barcoding. However, you have some maintenance technicians or other system users whose native language is not English. Since you're looking for the best productivity from coworkers, this is one area to improve. How can you have a CMMS in other languages? The answer is that the CMMS company's software programmers would spend some time making everything work. While that's a pretty obvious answer, you might have further questions. Let's look at some of those and explore this topic further.

There are about 6500 languages in the world, although some records have over 7000. In this post, we'll have fun with only three, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Image: flag of Spain

Could you discuss the process of converting to other languages? (Spanish: ¿Podría discutir el proceso de conversión a otros idiomas?)

This refers to the development process. With a CMMS, there are many areas to translate: labels on windows, menus, help messages, buttons, hover help, dropdowns, images, etc. The goal is to move through the process with efficiency. And, of course, with a new venture, this can be a challenge. However, as with many challenges, the more one dives into them, the better they can become. Plus, once the process is learned, it will be somewhat easier for the next language platform.

Programmers can build tools using the Google API (application programming interfaces) to do the bulk of the translation for those areas. Next, there is a bit of a redesign for the screens for each language. Many words have more characters than English and they must be displayed correctly. While not every screen necessarily requires an update programmers would have to review each one for each language, a rather time-consuming, tedious, but necessary process. Afterward, the decision is made to determine how to integrate that based on the user’s language preference.

If one user is English and another French, does the system show the conversion for each person upon that person’s login or is ONE language global? (French: Si un utilisateur est anglais et un autre français, le système affiche-t-il la conversion pour chaque personne lors de la connexion de cette personne ou une seule langue est-elle globale ?)

One of the benefits of a CMMS is that many things are global, which is necessary for organization. For languages, though, the system should allow each user to set an individual language preference. The other option is for those with the appropriate access to create/edit user accounts (an Admin, for example) to assign a language to a user. Once logged in, the system then knows the user’s language choice and can display the appropriate menu, window, message, etc.

Be aware, the translation is for the system itself, not information input into data fields. So while the Description window may be titled Descrição (Portuguese), the actual description of the Belt – Fan Belt, six inches will be in English.

Image: flag of Portugal

Within the system, how does an admin convert to another language? (Portuguese: Dentro do sistema, como um administrador pode fazer a conversão para outro idioma?)

First, the admin must specify the supported languages to present as options to the user, and which is the default. This is done from the system profile languages tab. Again, the options are to either set the language for each user on the user account window or to let each user do it on the user preferences window.

How do the menus, menu items, and tabs convert? Is more space needed? (Spanish: ¿Cómo se convierten los menús, elementos del menú y pestañas? ¿Se necesita más espacio?)

The system will auto-adjust spacing for menus and messages. For windows, each one is designed specifically for the language. The system simply loads the appropriate text based on the user’s language choice.

How did the programmers deal with foreign language rules such as Spanish having the noun before the adjective? (French: Comment les programmeurs ont-ils géré les règles des langues étrangères, comme le fait que l'espagnol place le nom avant l'adjectif?)

If there is a dedicated person who is fluent in a certain language, that's a great benefit. Otherwise, there are online translation sites (Google is popular) for the APIs with manual adjustments if needed.

How does the conversion handle abbreviations such as Cd, WO, PO, etc.? (Portuguese: Como a conversão lida com abreviações, como Cd, WO, PO, etc.?)

Abbreviations would be manually translated in most cases, as would other special maintenance-related terminology.

Image: flag of France

How long does programming take to convert everything? (French: Combien de temps a-t-il fallu pour programmer la conversion de tout?)

With generated translations and manual conversions, the process could take 18 months. It depends on the complexity of the system, the number of screens, tabs, menus, etc.

Are the conversions more literal than English? For instance, we recognize the Main tab to be the Create New Record area. How does that translate? What difficulties were there in translating some words or the concept behind the sentence or word? (Portuguese: As conversões são mais literais do que em inglês? Por exemplo, reconhecemos a guia "Principal" como a área "Criar Novo Registro". Como isso é traduzido? Quais foram as dificuldades na tradução de algumas palavras ou do conceito por trás da sentença ou palavra?)

Again, Google Translate is popular, but with the rise of AI written text, the process for future conversions has alternatives.

Keep in mind that while many industries benefit from the same CMMS, there will be differences in operations and terminology. It will be up to the system users to learn what terminology is common and what the titles/names of the different menus and tabs mean for that particular company.

Where might I look to invest in a company that has translations for foreign languages, say, Spanish, French, and Portuguese?

Spanish: ¿Dónde puedo buscar para invertir en una empresa que ofrezca traducciones a otros idiomas, como el español, francés y portugués?

French: Où pourrais-je chercher à investir dans une entreprise qui propose des traductions pour les langues étrangères, telles que l'espagnol, le français et le portugais ?

Portuguese: Onde posso procurar para investir em uma empresa que ofereça traduções para idiomas estrangeiros, como o espanhol, francês e português?

Mapcon Technologies is always striving to improve its world-class CMMS to benefit more companies in more areas around the globe. While the foreign language platform is a fairly recent addition, the opportunity for more languages and expanded usage has exponential growth. Call 800-922-4336 for details.


Stephen Brayton

About the Author – Stephen Brayton


Stephen L. Brayton is a Marketing Associate at Mapcon Technologies, Inc. He graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College with a degree in Communications. His background includes radio, hospitality, martial arts, and print media. He has authored several published books (fiction), and his short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. With his joining the Mapcon team, he ventures in a new and exciting direction with his writing and marketing. He’ll bring a unique perspective in presenting the Mapcon system to prospective companies, as well as our current valued clients.


Filed under: CMMS, maintenance, foreign language — Stephen Brayton on May 01, 2023