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Re: [translate-pootle] [Translation-i18n] gettext with non-en source language

On Do, 2006-09-28 at 13:46 +0200, Bruno Haible wrote:
> Christian Rose wrote:
> > gettext's English-centredness (which to large parts is historical, but
> > in some cases still exists, like in the handling of plural forms) is
> > both a blessing for our community where English is the UI default, as
> > much as it is a nuisance in other real-life software development where
> > the local language is the one that is targeted primarily, and is the
> > one that you would want in the msgids and base your other future
> > translations on.
> What you call "gettext's English-centredness" is only a recommendation
> in the doc. You _can_ use another language as the language of the source
> files and the msgids in the PO files. Did you try it? Did you encounter
> problems?

Well, I did not try it, but the example used here (Czech as source
language) won't work, because it has three plural forms. So I would say
it is more than just a recommendation. I guess there is no real reason
why languages with the exact same plural equation as English can't be
used, but this will even exclude for example French which handles 0

> Sure there are people who start a web server software in Czech and then
> want to localize it to German. They can do so. But I will not recommend
> in the gettext doc to do like this. English and American are the world's
> most understood languages nowadays and for the next decades, not Czech,
> German, Spanish or whatever. It is short-sighted to start a fresh project
> with user interface strings in any other language than English.
> Bruno

Except if the programmers can't write English, in which case it makes
perfect sense to use what they can. I agree with your recommendation,
though, don't get me wrong. I foresee a possible scenario for example
where someone in francophone Africa writes in French which will be the
common language to use to translate into local languages. Not the best
choice to get you translations in all the world's languages, perhaps,
but the correct choice for their circumstances. I'm speaking quite
hypothetical now, of course. Although it would be interesting to see how
many people will be able to contribute for the first time if
understanding of English is removed as obstacle.

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