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Re: Emacs i18n

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: Emacs i18n
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 2019 11:22:12 -0800
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Michael Albinus wrote:
Packages with an own subdirectory (f.e., gnus, vc) should have an own

I'm not sure I agree.

Message catalogs are primarily of interest to translators and installers, not programmers. Assuming we're using the gettext machinery (a pretty safe assumption, as why reinvent the wheel?), the set of messages to be translated will be maintained automatically: programmers shouldn't care how many catalogs there are, or how they're updated.

Other GNU packages generally go with one large catalog, for several reasons. For example, translators can batch their work; similar translations can be shared more easily and reliably; and installation is simpler and a bit faster.

A few packages do have multiple catalogs. This is intended for convenience in installation, not for convenience to developers. For example, GNU gettext has two catalogs, one for the gettext runtime library (used by applications in production) and one for gettext tools (used by developers when extracting or doing translations). That way, operating systems packagers can install just the first message catalog on systems where users are not developers.

In practice, though, this multiple-catalog approach hasn't proved to be all that useful. Debian and Fedora both put the two gettext catalogs into one package. Debian has a package language-pack-fr-base that contains French translations for several core packages, including both gettext catalogs, and similarly for other languages. Fedora includes all translations of both gettext catalogs in its 'gettext' package. So in hindsight, it seems to have been overkill for 'gettext' to have two translation catalogs.

With this in mind, I think it unlikely that OS packagers would find it useful for Emacs to maintain multiple message catalogs for each source subdirectory.

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