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Re: Emacs i18n

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: Emacs i18n
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:36:06 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.5.3

On 3/20/19 4:59 AM, Bruno Haible wrote:
> In the gettext approach (where 1) are POT files and 2) are PO files) we
> added plural form handling, which is just a small morphological variation,
> and it required a significant amount of documentation and education for
> translators. I would say, it is on the limit what we can make translators
> grok.

Thanks for making the point better than I was able to.

There's another reason pluralization is a good place to stop. GNU
gettext attacks the problem of how to translate formats containing
printf conversion specifications like %d, in phrases like "%d items".
That is, gettext deals with the grammatical problem of number, because
printf formats numbers. However, there are no printf conversion
specifications for other grammatical aspects such as case, gender,
tense, voice, or mood, which means there is no significant need for
gettext to deal with these other aspects.

In hindsight it might have been better if gettext had not attacked the
problem of plurals. As you wrtite, even plurals are nearly a bridge too
far. But it's done now, so we might as well use it.

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