Apple, Internationalisation, Localisation

Apple parochialism in action – doubly inappropriate naming

Does anybody else see the problem with this? Note that my operating system is set to French.

Screenshot of an 'iMovie Theatre' icon. Theatre is spelled the American way...and my OS is set to French!

There are two problems with the name of this iMovie feature. First, my system is set to French and this feature should have a French name – or a name similar to a French word – in the first place. But the problem isn’t limited to French. This name is a problem in English too. The place where you watch movies in many dialects of English is called a ‘cinema’ – ‘theatre’ is restricted to the stage and is always spelled theatre. In Canada, it’s called a movie theatre, with the R before the E as in every other primarily English-speaking country outside the US. The -er spelling is especially insensitive – it’s not spelled that way in other English-speaking countries, and even many Americans spell both the cinematic and live variants as theatre.

Calling it a theatre is also inappropriate for most languages. The spelling would work for German, but das Theater refers to live performance; the place where people see films is called das Kino. Most western languages disambiguate between live theatre and film houses. The US and Canada are outliers, and many Americans can’t even spell it the same way as the other English-speakers.

They could have avoided this self-made localisation problem by calling it iMovie Cinema or something similar. Calling it iTunes Cinema would have avoided English spelling differences and would have made it more appropriate for a wider variety of people.

What Apple did was probably the worst thing they could have done.

Edit, 28 April 2019: 

There’s been some improvement here. As of 2019, it now says ‘Cinema’ in French, though it’s still a problem on systems set to British or Australian English. Unlike MacOS and iWork, iMovie hasn’t been localised into British or Australian English yet, so the offending spelling/terminology is still there. Hopefully this is updated in a future edition of iMovie that adds the Mojave localisations. Though they seem to be working on it, this is a problem that should have never been there to begin with.

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