Re: "re" and "fwd" translations

On Thu, 17 January 09:03 Pawel Salek wrote:
> Hi,
> I remember some discussion whether reply and forward prefixes "re" and "fwd" 
> should be translated or not. Unfortunately, I do not remember the 
> conclusion. I could not find quickly any reference to them in RFC neither. 
> Can anyone enlighten me?

My own feeling is that it is better for the canonic format to be used in the 
subject headers.

RFC 2822 appears to recommend the use of "Re:" regardless of language.  It is 
silent on use of Fwd:

    The "Subject:" field is the most
    common and contains a short string identifying the topic of the
    message.  When used in a reply, the field body MAY start with the
    string "Re: " (from the Latin "res", in the matter of) followed by
    the contents of the "Subject:" field body of the original message.
    If this is done, only one instance of the literal string "Re: " ought
    to be used since use of other strings or more than one instance can
    lead to undesirable consequences.

The above paragraph suggests that the prefix Re: is special and that when 
present, the string "Re:" should not appear elsewhere on the subject line.  
Unfortunately the MAY in the above makes it unclear as to the exact meaning of 
the text or if a requirement is being imposed.  I assume "other strings" means 
alternative strings with the same meaning as Re:, e.g. translations.

It is a shame the language here is so vague - IMO, the requirements  should 
have been stated as imperatives if there is a potential interoperability issue 
or not at all.

IIRC, when this was discussed in the IETF drums WG, the intention was to 
assist automated processors to spot the Re: prefix; e.g. an MUA might use Re: 
to thread the messages by their subject line, translate the prefix to the 
user's language or clean up the Re:* mess before sending a message.

Translating Re: makes sense even though translating the text of the subject 
may not be feasible because an automated processor will be more reliable when 
processing subject lines.

Brian Stafford

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