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Re: A system for localizing documentation strings


From: Jean-Christophe Helary
Subject: Re: A system for localizing documentation strings
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 23:43:24 +0900


On 27 juil. 07, at 21:07, Kenichi Handa wrote:

In article <address@hidden>, Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

From: Jean-Christophe Helary <address@hidden>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 16:22:46 +0900

There is absolutely _no_ need whatsoever for Japanese people to learn
_any_ bit of English to become excellent programmers.

Handa-san, could you please give us your perspective on this
assertion?

To become an excellent programmer, one must read a code
written by the other people, and for that, English is
mandatory.  Not only comments, but also function names,
variable names, etc. are mostly based on English words.

This is not about learning English, this is about remembering what code means. I.e. This is about assigning arbitrary signs some signification. As for code itself, there is nothing more remote from English than _code_.

  If
they are all some random alphabets something like
"lkvkdloa", it's almost impossible to track codes.  In
addition, one have to communicate with people working on the
same fields, and if you are working on a program used
world-widely, the developper community almost always uses
English.

You are talking about a special class of developers. Most excellent programmers work in companies where they don't need to communicate with the "international community". People who maintain complex cobol systems in banking or insurance companies have most probably no use for English at all. What you describe is good for researchers or for high profile company employes (who may not be excellent programmers anyway). And as a counter example, I'd argue that the ruby community in Japan has nothing to do with English at all, because _they_ are the experts.


As for computer/programming related books, it's sure that
most important ones are translated in Japanese.

Not only that but bookstores are full of high level books that are directly written in Japanese by Japanese experts.

  But, most
of them assumes that a reader has some basic knowledge about
English.  Many technical terms are just written in Katakana
(a phonetic transliteration from the orignal English word),
and one has to know the meaning of original English word.

Of course not. Most words in katakana are already part of the CS jargon in Japanese. What you pretend is equivalent to say that to read a recipe book in Japanese one must know French because the technics used have katakana words that come from French. But the truth is that all those words have specific meanings that people who are involved with this subset of Japanese know from using them daily - without having to understand a single bit of French, except for "bon ap├ętit"...


Jean-Christophe Helary




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