Re: Go for ultimate localization!

From: Matías Giovannini (
Date: Thu Oct 28 1999 - 19:59:29 MET DST

Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 14:59:29 -0300
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Mat=EDas?= Giovannini <>
To: Benoit Deboursetty <>
Subject: Re: Go for ultimate localization!

I should have read all before letting my fingers twitch, but... ObCaml
now :-)

Benoit Deboursetty wrote:
> All this may be very difficult to implement, I don't know, I am
> telling things from the user's point of view. This may also be a project
> completely different from what O'CaML wants to focus on. But couldn't the
> camlp4 "PreProcessorPrettyPrinter" by D. de Rauglaurde be the beginning of
> a solution, at least for parser localization? It would even provide
> translations between different localizations of the parser by
> pretty-printing, wouldn't it?

Localizing the language is not that difficult, but it would involve
exposing the abstract syntax to the localizer, and the localizer would
have the difficult task of rewriting the parser. This is not as bad as
it sounds for indoeuropean languages (the most difficult problem I can
think of is the use of cases vs. prepositions, but I can't think of the
equivalent of a prepositional phrase in a computer language), but for
object-subject-verb languages like Japanese it could be nightmarish.

Localizing the libraries can be done the right way, or the easy way. The
easy way is to have a dictionary of external-vs-internal names, with the
language using only internal names. It could be easy if initially the
internal names are the names used by the developer, and external names
are added as the localization proceeds. Somehow, this seems wrong to me
(because it seems too easy), so I think there must be a "right" way to
do it that is absolutely non-trivial.

> PPS: Pour "to match sthg against a pattern", existe-t-il une traduction
> "officielle" ? Que pensez-vous de "plaquer qqch sur un motif" ?

Um, you know, I think that this is pressing things too far. It's the
same attitude the Spanish have, trying to find a Spanish word for every
technical word out there. The result is doubly bad: on one hand, you're
restricting yourself to *translating* instead of *generating* technical
language (as is done in the Social Sciences, for instance), and you're
letting out people who have no problem with direct imports (we speak
routinely of *matchear*, and I have yet to find someone, techical or
non, who doesn't "get me"). I'm not afraid of jargon, and I think we in
Argentina are used to jargon (we speak dialect anyway, in Buenos Aires).

The literal Spanish to your French would be "pegar algo sobre un patrón"
(paste sthg over a pattern) but it sounds backwards. Better would be
"aplicar un patrón sobre algo" (apply a pattern on sthg), but while it
now sounds right it *is* exactly backwards. The best compromise is
"matchear algo contra un pattern", and it only translates the normal
"part-of-speech" words, leaving order and technical words intact.

I got your message. I couldn't read it. It was a cryptogram.
-- Laurie Anderson

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