Lost in the translation…

I propose there exists a fine balance between knowing enough to teach and knowing too much too easily to teach. I made a good Algebra teacher. Why? Because I had a hard time learning Algebra myself, understood the difficulty some students faced learning the same, and was willing to go over and above the norm to explain the subject matter in such a way as to make sure my students could understand.

Directions, such as those that might accompany a “some assembly required” piece of furniture, are a type of teaching. They teach a person through a process. Technical instructions, such as how to set up and use software, must be clear, step by step, and precise. And, for me at least, in English that is clear and precise. Therein lies the rub.

For weeks, I have been working through the kinks involved with the back end of our company website. What should have been a relatively easy task implementing a new booking calendar plugin has been infinitely complicated by the lack of clear directions.

By “lack of clear directions” I mean two things: one, no directions, and two, poorly communicated directions.  By “poorly communicated directions” I mean two things: one, directions that are difficult to find, and two, directions that are written in such poor English that I must attempt to first decipher the meaning before I can follow them.

Let me give you an example:

The Plugin have 2 types of the users: super admin and usual user.

The “first” WordPress admin user by default is “super admin” user.

So, firstly after activation of the plugin you have to see the panel for that user.

Then you are need to open the “general settings” page (this page is available only for the super admin users), then expand the User settings section at the right side and set the correct permissions (user roles) for the pages of the admin panel. Its required for the new wordpress users possibility to open the admin admin panel.

Now, you can create new wordpress user (the role of this user have to be higher or equal to the roles, which you are set at the previous step).

Now, you are need to open the Plugin> Settings > Users page (you are have to be logged in as super admin user) and make activation of the admin panel for the new wordpress user.

Finally, you can log in as new wordpress user, and you will see own admin panel for this user. You can create new resource(s), configure the settings and insert the form(s) of this user into posts or pages, which is created by this user.

Can you understand my difficulty? I have to translate the verbiage before reading can translate into action, and I fear something is lost in the translation. Let me attempt to translate the instructions above:

To set up another user, open Plugin >Settings and click on the Users tab. 

Locate the user name. Assign the appropriate role (either SuperAdmin or Regular User) for that user and “Save Changes.”

Log out, and then log back in as that user and intuitively configure everything you need.

In short, I am implementing a new plugin by trial and error.

“One step forward, twenty-seven steps back,” I declared to a colleague in frustration.

Indeed. I am implementing a new plugin by mostly errors, followed by a frantic search for a solution, followed by a fleeting moment of hope, perhaps a little success, and the realization that I have many steps left to coax this plugin into becoming the big girl app we need. (And I also have added a few pithy, scolding notes in the Help section of the app, though I believe, like the app’s communications with me, something is lost in the translation.)

Of course, I should be happy for actual directions with words rather than just tiny, nondescript line drawings depicting parts and how they go together. That would be a nightmare. This is more like a workaday-mare.

Might I suggest that technical brains would do well to hire someone less technical than themselves to communicate with the masses?

Contact me if you want my resume.






2 thoughts on “Lost in the translation…

  1. Maybe I’m off base here, but this sounds like the system was developed by an overseas firm without a good grasp of the English language. It’s pretty common in attempts at inexpensive software development. Having the documentation written by them makes it worse.


    1. You are absolutely correct. (We actually decided to NOT use this plugin despite getting it to behave — for the most part. Long story… still not over. So, of course, it will merit another post or two. 🙂


I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s