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Re: Emacs i18n

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: Emacs i18n
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 02:26:38 +0100
User-agent: KMail/5.1.3 (Linux/4.4.0-141-generic; KDE/5.18.0; x86_64; ; )

Richard Stallman wrote:
>     > - The translator, you can assume, can translate sentences and knows
>     >   about the different meanings of words in different context. 
> The Russian translation team for Emacs will not have difficulty using
> russian-masc, russian-nom, and so on.  Being Russian speakers, they
> will understand how these constructs make sense for Russian, once
> they read the documentation for them.

Still, it's essential to consider what the programmers send to the
translators, and what the translators send back in return.

> I don't speak Russian.

Since you speak French perfectly, and we have a French translator on this
list (Jean-Christophe Helary), let me make an example in French.

As far as I understand, for plural handling instead of asking the
translator to translate

  msgid "He bought one nice horse."
  msgid_plural "He bought %d nice horses."

you would send them just the string

  "He bought %d nice horses."

and expect that the translator sends back the string

  "Il acheta %d beau%| cheval%|."

and then have, in the program, code that transforms this to

   "Il acheta un beau cheval."
or "Il acheta %d beaux chevaux."

I claim that

  1) It is not a win for the translator. It is just as easy for the translator
     to produce two strings, than a string with several markers. Speech is
     natural to translators, not markup and grammar.

     Additionally, how will the translator know whether they have done it
     correctly or made a mistake? If you don't want translators to return
     untested translations, there will be the need to integrate the algorithmic
     code into the translation tools (KBabel, Lokalize, Gtranslator, Poedit, 
     How do you want to do that?
  2) It is hard to implement:

     - For the singular case, you need to know that "cheval" is masculine.
       Would you like the translator to provide this information, through
       markup such as
         "Il acheta %d<m> beau%| cheval%|."
       or would you like the code to look it up through a dictionary?

     - For the plural case, you need to know that the plural of "*eau" is
       "*eaux" in French (a rule that can be coded), but also that the
       plural of "cheval" is "chevaux" (or vice versa, that the singular
       of "chevaux" is "cheval") - which requires a dictionary lookup.


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