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Re: i18n/gettext?

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: i18n/gettext?
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:33:09 -0800 (PST)

> Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 00:16:00 -0700 (MST)
> From: Richard Stallman <address@hidden>
> This is one possible approach: use a single catalog for all of Emacs.
> Another proposal was to use a catalog for each Lisp file.  We need to
> consider both and compare them.

The usual approach is to have a single catalog for each separately
distributed package.  For example, there's one catalog for diffutils,
another catalog for textutils, etc.  There isn't a separate catalog
for each diffutils source file.

Having one catalog per distributed package simplifies the job for
translators, since they don't need to keep track of each source file
separately.  Also, different Lisp files within Emacs will often use
common strings: putting them into a single translation catalog will
let us share the strings, thus lessening the translators' burden (and
providing a bit more runtime efficiency).

> Currently no strings are translated, period.  But we looking at the
> idea of translating them automatically when they are used in certain
> ways.

OK, but I don't quite yet understand what you mean by "automatically".
Do you mean something like this?

  A translation will occur if:

   1. The programmer explicitly asks for a translation, using the gettext
      function (or something like it); or

   2. The programmer implicitly asks for a translation, by passing the
      string to a function that always translates its argument before
      using it.  For example, the Emacs Lisp function `message' would
      always translate its first argument before displaying the message.

(1) is a special case of (2), so in some sense there is no real
distinction between "explicit" and "implicit" translations.

This sort of thing is pretty simple, and could be automated easily,
and explained easily to programmers and to translators.  Is it the
sort of thing that you have in mind, or are you thinking of something
more elaborate?

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