Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sinking in details

In English we say:
Ali is Calling...
Fatema is Calling...

Same syntax for male or female

However in Arabic we say
Ali yatasel...
علي يتصل
Fatema tatasel...
فاطمة تتصل

My mother's Arabic-interfaced phone rang, the screen was showing "Fatema yatasel" فاطمة يتصل. Grammatically that was wrong. As usual I started a discussion in how to solve that.

Hussein: "Okey, we'll check, if the last letter of the contact name ends with this letter or this letter or this letter then its a female. However, some names doesn't go with that rule so we need to keep a track of a centralized database of most common female names and regularly update it via a web service through the phone GPRS."

My wife interrupting me: "Honey, why don't you just let your mother tells the phone Fatema is a female?"
Hussein: "Oh, I didn't thought of that".
So simply let the user specifies the gender while adding a new contact.

I am going to write a book titled: My right brained wife. She saved me from several embarrassments and she is a source of inspiration.

7 comments:

  1. Your wife is a genius, I love it!

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  2. I'm on of those software translators (see http://launchpad.net) that believe there are other ways to translate than literal translation. Such as:

    لديك اتصال من فاطمة/علي

    That way, the phone does not need to know what sex the caller is, and the interface does not need a reprogramming. And besides, that saves the operating system's producers from wasting resources maintaining a server full of common female and male names.

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  3. @Jillian
    Thanks ;)

    @Anonymous
    That is even much better solution ;)
    This way I don't care about the sex exactly..

    thanks for that

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  4. Your welcome, there's always a way to get the message across when it comes to technology using minimal resources.

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  5. Same in Hebrew -

    Ali yatasel...
    עלי מצלצל
    Fatema tatasel...
    פאטמה מצלצלת

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  6. @Anonymous
    Yes you are right, there is always a way to solve a problem easier..
    though I think specifying the gender can add intuitive results and allows phone vendors to utilize that feature. Maybe not for this but for other purposes.

    @Jim
    I didn't knew its the same in Hebrew,,

    Thanks for dropping by

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  7. Anonymous' solution is good and so is the solution of your wife. There really are more than one way to approach a problem.

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