Re: [Translation-i18n] Proposal for declinations in gettext


Danilo Segan wrote:

> Veronica Loell wrote:
>>> The current "solution" for these and similar problems are to put the 
>>> work on programmers, and force them to create "complete" strings, so 
>>> instead of the former three, one would have four strings:
>>> msgid "Workspace %d"
>>> msgid "Desktop %d"
>>> msgid "Switch to workspace %d"
>>> msgid "Switch to desktop %d"
>> As I said before, this is the only way that you would be able to 
>> translate
>> to languages that do not use the same structure as the original one.
> Yes, I'm aware of that. But than it's just a "feature" that shouldn't 
> be advertised to programmers as "complete solution", but rather a 
> thing that would help translate many existent and badly constructed 
> strings in many languages. I am not optimistic enough to even hope for 
> a solution that would work for all languages. 

I too believe that creating complete strings is the only solution 
that'll work for all languages. IMO, there is no point in creating such 
feature for some languages, if the engineers will have to create 
complete strings for other languages anyway.


>> The main difference in English and Swedish is that in English you write
>> compound words one at a time, in Swedish you would make them part of
>> one word.
>> email program = epostprogram
>> world health organization = världshälsoorganisationen
> So yes, the composition which would be of the form:
> msgid "program"
> msgid "message"
> msgid "email %s" # %s takes any of the above
> would be very bad. But I have fortunately not seen many cases like this.
>> English is a very isolating language which means that for example the
>> definitive form of a word is presented by the means of an article. In
>> Swedish an affix is used instead.
>> the house = huset
>> in a truly agglutinating language such as Finnish the entire clause 
>> "in my house" would be 1 word.
> That's similar to Serbian, though not exactly the same: "in house" 
> would be translated with 2 words, but "to house" would be one. So, the 
> words like "to", "in", "from", "by" and similar mostly disappear, and 
> they "manifest" themselves through changes in the word (usually postfix).
> Also, it seems that in Finish (from the quoted examples) only 
> "noun-forms" agglutinate: no verb is ever involved, but rather nouns, 
> adjectives, pronouns, etc. The thing I'm talking about works for the 
> forms of "doing %s" or "doing with/in/to/from/by %s", where %s takes 
> any of the "noun-forms" (expression consisting of nouns, 
> adjectives,...). It's a simple problem, with simple solution.
>>> Such feature would not get in the way to anyone who doesn't use it, 
>>> but it would solve at least some problems. I guess that should be a 
>>> reason enough, though if anything better can be imagined, I'd love 
>>> to hear it.
>> Your feature would encourage the programmers to keep constructing the 
>> sort
>> of strings that you present in the beginning. My point is that this 
>> will make the programs impossible to translate for many target 
>> languages.
> The particular problem which made me think about this is the 
> translation of a card game in Gnome. Since there are fifty-something 
> cards, and I don't know how many different operations, this kind of 
> "solution" would require more than thousand of similar strings in 
> original program, which is unlikely that any programmer will do. The 
> programmer is aware of the problem, but still considers it just a 
> minor (perhaps major, but still not worth the change) nitpick, so my 
> proposal would at least allow some (many?) languages to get the 
> correct translation, besides English and other "simple" languages.
>> It is a hassle to translate 10 strings instead of 5, but the solution is
>> to create better tools, not to find shortcuts, imo, especially as the 
>> shortcuts as is usual with shortcuts will make the job harder for 
>> anything
>> that does not fit this pattern.
> Yes, I realize that and I agree with most of your arguments. Only, I'm 
> trying to be "down-to-earth" (no insult intended, just, I'm talking 
> about a practical problem and practical solution). It may be because 
> I'm "egocentric", and only think about my own language, while you 
> (being a professional) can take a much larger and better look.
> Still, the particular "feature" would make job harder even for those 
> whose languages do fit the pattern, but only so because they can now 
> get *correct* translation for the cost of some extra effort. As a 
> translator, I'm willing to pay that price. Unfortunately, it's clear 
> that this kind of solution would do no good if it wasn't supported 
> widely, and I'm looking for a solution that would work with most 
> existing programs fairly well (I don't consider recompilation very bad).
> Cheers,
> Danilo
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Dr. Bernd R. Groh                     Email:
I18n/L10n Engineering                 Phone: +61 7 3872 4847
Red Hat Asia-Pacific                  Fax  : +61 7 3257 4800

"Everything we know is an illusion, nothing we know is real,
 nothing real we can know, illusion is what we call reality."


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