Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Maksu- ja Tolliamet perils of internationalization

In these tax declaration times, as a foreigner in Estonia I have a particularly treacherous time to get with the usability of Estonian e-services.

This year the Estonian tax authority (Maksu- ja Tolliamet -, twitter) proudly declared that they will accept tax declarations in English:

However, trying to take them up on that promise, disregarding the numerous times I'm thrown into an Estonian-only environment, the English environment doesn't have the 2009 tax declaration I see if I switch to the Estonian one:

Estonian version:

Furthermore, once successfully in the declaration environment, the English version seems completely broken as I for example can't save my changed postal address (which of course works in the Estonian one). I can only deem this complete usability fail.

For the fairness of things and to provoke a debate, I'll share the opinion of a Swedish friend of mine:

"Yeah.. they really should not do it [attempt translation] at all..  no need to, really. Either you learn the language or you get help with it. Your choice (not theirs).

Just as in Sweden where they translate everything into 27 different languages and the tax payers pay for it. Not the tax payers fault that people do not know Swedish.

I do not mind any kind of miniority population but if they are unable to learn Swedish then they should pay for their own translation. Just as I seem to be unable to learn Estonian hence it is my problem to translate what I need, not the Estonian tax payers problem"

On another note, I've finally got a functioning mobile-id, as I was tired of the ridiculous software issues I had with my ID card. There english translation is even more absent, the support because of the jungle of organizations involved is terrible - but I recently was lucky enough to get both competent and helpful feedback when my ID card wasn't working.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

xkcd Tech Support Cheat Sheet - now in Swedish

It's absolutely not that I mind visiting my parents, or that I don't love being helpful, but I felt that some attention should be given to this immortal comic strip / flow chart:

Here it is in Swedish, for you, friends and collegues to print and educate each other with:

Do translate it into your own language using the files available in github, then just tell me where to pull from and I can include them. Or just grab the text file and translate to your own language and then I can help with the picture.

I am allowed to do this derivative work off xkcd because "This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. This means you're free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details". This derivative work is thusly also provided under the same license.

( Update: Hah, that was both surprising and very nerdy - Claes Wallin has taken my files, and not made any more translations, but made an SVG (scalable vector graphics) original with scripts to generate PNGs! WTF?! Well, I pulled, and I look forward to where he intends to take that. More than anything, cooperation through github can be fascinating because you see ways other people do things. )