Over at his blog, Mitcho has some very sharp thoughts about localizing Ubiquity to verb-final languages such as Japanese.

I talked about similar localization issues several months ago, but Mitcho takes it further than I did. He says:

In a verb-final language, however, you enter the arguments first and then the verb, making this strategy of suggesting appropriate arguments impossible.

Instead of seeing this as a disadvantage, however, let’s see what verb-final order allows us to do.

That’s the spirit!

He goes on to talk about analyzing the arguments, which are entered first, and using them to suggest a verb. I think this is exactly the right idea.

I’ve just got one thing to add: Ubiquity already does some very rudimentary suggestion of verbs based on having the nouns first. This is how we handle the case where the user selects some text and then pops up the command line — we suggest verbs based on the noun types that produce a positive match to the selection. It’s very basic right now, and could be a lot better.

The good news is that we can take the algorithm that suggests verbs based on the selection, and apply it to Mitcho’s idea of suggestions in verb-final languages. Any improvements we make in one will be applicable to the other, and vice versa. Working on the noun-first suggestion algorithms helps everybody!