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i18n of e2fsprogs (was Re: Do not touch l10n files)

On Mon, May 19, 2003 at 10:38:47AM -0400, Theodore Ts'o wrote:
> On Sun, May 18, 2003 at 06:55:37PM +0200, Marc Haber wrote:
> > Highly technical packages like zebra, netfilter-related stuff and
> > linux-atm are most likely to be used by people who know English. Not
> > speaking English will make running routers and/or internet security
> > systems almost impossible anyway.
> I've done most of the work to internationalize e2fsprogs (at least as
> far as gettext is concerned; I haven't done the framework to
> internationalize man pages yet), and while it was done mostly for my
> own edification, to learn about gettext, I have had some concerns
> about whether or not Internationalization is actually a *good* thing.


> The main problem here is support.  If uses e2fsck with NLS support
> enabled, and with a non-US locale, the messages will come out in their
> native language.  Which is all very well-and-good until they run into
> problems and they start asking me for help.  If it's in some language
> I don't speak, such as Swahili, I'm going to be very hard pressed to
> actually help them.

Upstream authors decide which strings get translated, localizing
everything may be suboptimal.  So if you have good reasons not to
localize some critical error messages, this is fine.
You could begin with option summaries (displayed by -h flag), then
localize informations about progress status, and deal with error
messages later.

> I suppose that I could try to look at the Swahili's .po file, and try
> to match the output and turn it back into English, but that will be
> very, very tedious, and so I won't be able to help as many people when
> they give me their sad stories of years of research being lost.

This is hazardous; there are several problems, like encoding issues
(you have to know the displayed message encoding, which may be different
from the one in this .po file) and messages containing % escapes.

L10ned messages are fine when users are asking questions to their
local support ML, but they have to send English messages when talking
to upstreams.


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