Internationalization, REDEFINED!

This once-mighty IT company has fallen on hard times, and by the mid-1990s it has been bought and sold many times, says a pilot fish working there.

How many? "I was sitting at the same desk, with the same phone number, doing essentially the same work, for ten years," fish says, "and I had five business cards from that time, with four different company names -- they recycled one.

"Our products were embedded systems, that rare form of software where the vendor pays for fixes to bugs. Usually all the user-facing text was internationalized. But I mostly did diagnostics and configuration, which would only be seen by techs, so the text was English only.

"One day we got a decree from the new software VP at our latest acquirer: All products released after a date about two weeks in the future must have internationalization for all text.

"We had a product due to ship in about that time, and there was no way I could get competent translations for all my text, even if we had budget. I was panicked.

"My manager was more calm. He said, 'Just up-case it all. Everybody understands English IF YOU YELL!'"

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