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The translation of the start button's name always looked weird for me.

In Russian Пуск is usually used as a launch command in context of missile launching. It can be used to denote a launch of an arrow, missile or a rocket. In industrial environment a ПУСК button usually means a button which turns on some, often uncontrollable, machine, mechanism or process. In all contexts such buttons are usually large and can be painted red. They create impression of being dangerous and starting something that you may be unable to reverse.

Thus when I saw Windows 95 for the first time, I was very afraid of pressing the start button because it made impression of starting some irreversible process, like disk formatting or at lest some transformation.

In my view they could have named the button Старт which is quite normal Russian word, meaning beginning. It is also often used in context of activities of learning, meaning the entry point from which one begins their work or study a new field, which would be quite appropriate because the button is either used in the beginning of the work, or as a first thing one learns about the new operating system.

So I wonder whether the choice of the word Пуск is just a weird translation or there is something other than that to it?

  • 1
    as opinion: maybe it's preferred because both are 4 letter words. Also sense of big launching rocket - I see no reasons for MS to reject that label ) – MolbOrg Jun 30 '14 at 18:59
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    @MolbOrg "Start" has 5 letters. – Anixx Jul 1 '14 at 7:33
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    Насколько я помню в школьной мастерской Пуск был черного цвета, а Стоп красного. Это сделано для того чтобы в случае ЧП остановить станок нажав на Большую Красную Кнопку. – Artemix Jul 1 '14 at 13:42
  • @Artemix Ну да. Красная всегда кнопка «Стоп», «Пуск» же — любого другого цвета (зеленого, белого, цвета корпуса). Это один из настолько устоявшихся стандартов, что иногда даже считают излишним подписывать или еще хоть как-то обозначать кнопки в дополнение у цвету. – Dmitry Alexandrov Jul 1 '14 at 14:20
  • @Dmitry Alexandrov это если кнопки идут парами. А вот если кнопка запускает ракеты... – Anixx Jul 4 '14 at 4:57
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Microsoft is known for their effort to keep Russian localization as Russian as possible. They don't even like to use the word информация, preferring данные или сведения.

Actual meaning of the word Start on this button is just "CLICK ME", as you may find from this Raymond Chen's story: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2003/07/22/54559.aspx

Russian localization team probably found the word "Пуск" neat and funny enough to be placed on the button. Just because of your associations with rocket launching.

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    I think the start button means "if you do not know where to begin, click here". The "Пуск" then is total opposite because in Russian it means "I am ready, in control and made all preparations, launch/power on the process immediately!" Definitely a person who sees the Windows first time, will not go on and click something like this. – Anixx Jun 30 '14 at 17:10
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    «Данные» is «data», «информация» is «information». The difference is that information is data+metadata. I don't use Windows, but if Microsoft made mistakes these two terms, it's rediculous. It'd be akin to translating «sentence» as «слова». – v010dya Jul 1 '14 at 11:38
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Localization process was always quite tricky because, besides of the main purpose of translating the meaning of the text, there is another problem - it's the length of the resulting text. And statistically speaking, words in Russian language are about 20 to 50% longer than in English.

So, the word Пуск is as short as english Start and shorter than the word Старт.

The difference is quite noticeable here:

  • Start
  • Пуск
  • Старт

Although, without italic the difference is not so big:

  • Start
  • Пуск
  • Старт

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