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Re: i18n/gettext?

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: i18n/gettext?
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 10:06:59 +0200 (IST)

On Mon, 10 Dec 2001, Paul Eggert wrote:

> > 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.

Emacs is different: most of its Lisp packages are loaded on demand, and 
quite a few are maintained by people whose release schedule is not 
synchronized with Emacs releases, even for packages that are bundled.

Emacs is also much larger than most other packages which use gettext.  
That size in itself might be a good reason to consider alternatives to a 
single large catalog.

As yet another reason, consider the fact that Lisp files are much easier 
to modify on the user level than it is with a typical C program.

> Having one catalog per distributed package simplifies the job for
> translators, since they don't need to keep track of each source file
> separately.

With Emacs, it's quite possible that several translators will be involved 
for a certain language, each one handling only part of the distribution.  
After all, different Emacs packages deal with very diverse subject matter; 
some notable examples include Calendar, VC, doctor.el, idlwave, and 
Calc.  Providing good translations for these requires some knowledge 
about the underlying subjects.

Also, some package maintainers whose first language is not English may 
wish to provide translations for their languages.

So I think we should try to make this as modular as reasonably possible.

>  Also, different Lisp files within Emacs will often use
> common strings

The same problem exists today with many GNU packages: for example, they 
all use getopt, and many of them use GNU regexp.  And yet each package 
that uses gettext includes translations for messages used by those library 
functions.  (I just copy the translations; I'd imagine everyone else does 
the same.)  If we want to address this problem, fine; but it isn't 
specific to Emacs.

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