There are some recurring terms in software localization which do not seem to have a well-established Italian translation, even if their meaning is very clear and they should be treated as 1-to-1 correspondences.

One of them is “system tray”, a commonly-used term that refers to a “portion of the taskbar that displays icons for system and program features (…)”, according to Wikipedia.

On the same Wikipedia page, we learn that

The notification area is commonly referred to as the system tray, which Microsoft states is wrong, although the term is sometimes used in Microsoft documentation, articles, and software descriptions.

What this means is that the term “system tray” should be avoided in English documentation that refers to Microsoft operating systems. If found while translating, you may want to warn the author to change it to “notification area”.

If we take a look at Microsoft’s own glossaries, here are the results for system tray. The term is not displayed in the blue “Microsoft Terminology Database” area, indicating that it may not be an official Microsoft term. The in-context results displayed in the orange area contain several inconsistencies. The Italian translation that seems to be used in the newest products (Windows 7, Vista, Server 2008) seems to be “area di notifica”.

A quick search for notification area reveals that this term is also translated as “area di notifica” and that this is an official Microsoft term (contained in the Microsoft Terminology Database).

Image: Danilo Rizzuti /

Published by Roberto Savelli

English to Italian translator, translation technology enthusiast.

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