Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 08:47 UTC
Features, Office

PowerPoint is so ingrained in modern life that the notion of it having a history at all may seem odd. But it does have a very definite lifetime as a commercial product that came onto the scene 30 years ago, in 1987. Remarkably, the founders of the Silicon Valley firm that created PowerPoint did not set out to make presentation software, let alone build a tool that would transform group communication throughout the world. Rather, PowerPoint was a recovery from dashed hopes that pulled a struggling startup back from the brink of failure - and succeeded beyond anything its creators could have imagined.

Fascinating story. I despise PowerPoint because PowerPoint presentations are difficult to translate (my actual job), but there's no denying it's used in meeting rooms all over the world - for better or worse.

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the name says it all
by brambi11a on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 11:56 UTC
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it is all about pushing an opinion down the throats of the audience.
If that is good or bad depends on the situation. As a teacher I must say that it does not encourage student involvement and discussions.
There are many cases where the presentation program paradigm is useful and advantageous regardless of if the actual presentation program is PowerPoint or one of it's many rivals.
Sadly it must be said, it is most universally applied as a tool for inducing coma like sleep in even the largest audience.

In my line of work it is far to often used as an alibi or proof, that the lesson has, indeed, been thoroughly prepared, and that everybody should be pleased, regardless if it really provided any understanding of anything at all.

Edited 2017-11-02 11:57 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Difficult to translate
by Parry on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 12:48 UTC
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In her spare time, my girlfriend has a part-time job translating PowerPoint slides from Finnish to English. The problem isn't necessarily the simple act of translation (she's fluent in both languages), the problem comes from trying to translate/decipher jargon and nonsense words that even in Finnish make no sense. It really shows how terrible some slides can be.

Edited 2017-11-02 12:50 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Difficult to translate
by Kochise on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 12:52 UTC in reply to "Difficult to translate"
Kochise Member since:

Could Latex be used to format pages and variables to hold translatable text ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Difficult to translate
by DefineDecision on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Difficult to translate"
DefineDecision Member since:

I think the better issue would be to write better slides, not attempt to solve a people problem with more technology.

For example: There's a method by a Japanese person whose name I can't remember, but it involves keeping slides extremely brief and doing the talking; the slide is just the high-level heading, essentially.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Difficult to translate
by haakin on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 10:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Difficult to translate"
haakin Member since:

I think that the Japanese guy is Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby. He uses many (a lot!) almost empty slides. Check this presentation:

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

Uhm, thats how we were taught how to use powerpoint back in our required core office tools course in university back in the mid 90's.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Difficult to translate
by tylerdurden on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 17:33 UTC in reply to "Difficult to translate"
tylerdurden Member since:

That seems more an issue with the content, rather than with the tool/format/medium.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Difficult to translate
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Difficult to translate"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

That seems more an issue with the content, rather than with the tool/format/medium.

It's a combination of things. PPT has such limited space, and if the translation is longer and needs more space, the entire slide is all messed up. It's incredibly annoying and frustrating, especially since corporate people are fucking terrible at using properly sized images and such, making the PPT large and slow to edit.

It's... Not fun.

Reply Score: 6

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:

Yeah, I can imagine that would be terrible. Surprised slightly that i18n isn't built in to powerpoint.

But hey, you bill by the hour right? Right? There may be a way to macro at least the text replacement. Then you'd still have to clean up the design manually, but it might be easier.

Reply Score: 3

comments and clarifications
by brambi11a on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 16:33 UTC
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as everybody seems to hang on to the initial consideration that PowerPoint is inherently hard to translate I will add my own comment on that:

Since a presentation program most often is used to provide keywords for the speaker to elaborate upon, accordingly the keywords are just that. They are rarely even complete sentences and without a knowledge about the actual speech it can be very hard to guess what they are all about.

Some presentation programs, including PowerPoint, has a feature where the speaker gets support notes on his screen, while the audience only get the "points" on the beamer. If this feature was used on a regular basis translation would be much easier. Latex, html, whatever decent formatting language will support comments, but if the creator of the presentation only wrote a list of keywords making a translation is very hard.

Reply Score: 4

Jeff Bezos
by kwan_e on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 13:44 UTC
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Just use the Jeff Bezos method: ban the bloody thing. Write proper documents and then force people to read it during the meeting.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Jeff Bezos
by JLF65 on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 15:34 UTC in reply to "Jeff Bezos"
JLF65 Member since:

Yeah, PowerPoint reeks of middle school classes being taught by the phys ed coach... which tells you a lot about upper management. ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Jeff Bezos
by ssokolow on Sat 4th Nov 2017 22:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Jeff Bezos"
ssokolow Member since:

Reminds me of Visual Basic... the next step after Excel classes taught by the phys ed teacher.

...that said, half the reason it reminded me is because I recently ordered a copy of Visual Basic 4.0 Professional off eBay to use as an AutoHotkey alternative for my Windows 3.1 retro-gaming machine.

(4.0 Pro is the only version of VB that was both released on CD-ROM and capable of targeting Win16.)

Reply Score: 3