Re: how should we localize locale names?

Subject: Re: how should we localize locale names?
From: Paul Rohr (
Date: Thu Mar 08 2001 - 13:46:44 CST

At 01:27 AM 3/8/01 -0500, Dom Lachowicz wrote:
>Very true, but this is also the case with any translated text, so I don't
>see the reason for the fuss here.

Prior to this, the only way to push a translation below 100% was to add
functionality to the product as a whole. Getting all that sorted out
cleanly before a major release is bad enough.

This is the first case where adding a *translation* would affect all the
others. Imagine the maintenance headaches if the hypothetical Sioux
translator shows up a week before 1.0 is ready to ship, and we have to get
48 other translators to fix that string. Ick. That's worse.

>This is where I disagree with you. I am very much opposed to any
>modification of the strings file format. I don't know about the rest of you,
>but I have this overwhelming desire to treat this as almost deprecated. The
>overhead for both developers and translators alike is huge.

Just to drill down on this point for a second.

In an ideal world, translators would be able to update a single resource
that got dynamically included in the product. No compilation or
modification of existing source files would be needed.

We currently have an unfortunate setup where translators have to update some
or all of the following:

  - strings file (XML format, encoding of your choice)
  - menu labels and layout (C format, encoding unclear)
  - toolbar labels, icons, and layout (C and XPMs)

This may have been an acceptable compromise when we only had a handful of
localizations, but now that we're up to 25, it's gotten obnoxious.

I'll assert that the biggest problem with the existing mechanism isn't the
strings, it's the menus and toolbars. If anyone would like to figure out
how to get *those* loaded from an external file, wouldn't we all be a lot
better off?

Even if we do the work to switch to gettext on all platforms (or some other
mechanism), wouldn't we still have the menu and toolbar problem?


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