Have you localized your error messages?

While trying (and failing) to buy an iPhone this morning, I’ve encountered three different error screens.

Here’s my favorite:

I seriously doubt that “Oops!” has been localized for different markets.

In fact, many companies overlook the localization of error messages.

For starters, doing so is no trivial task — as many of these error messages are generated by underlying pieces of software that in some cases cannot be easily localized.

And it’s no fun to focus on failure. We like to focus our energies on positive user experiences, not negative ones. Besides, these are edge cases, right?

But as I bounce from one Apple error message to another, it’s comforting to know that even Apple — a company that prides itself on user experience — still has some serious work left to do.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.