Re: Go for ultimate localization!

From: Gerd Stolpmann (
Date: Thu Oct 28 1999 - 23:00:14 MET DST

From: Gerd Stolpmann <>
To: Benoit Deboursetty <>
Subject: Re: Go for ultimate localization!
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 23:00:14 +0200
Message-Id: <99102823284500.18066@ice>

On Tue, 26 Oct 1999, Benoît de Boursetty wrote:
> So, O'CaML handles Latin-1 characters in the identifiers. This
>allows most Europeans, well at least you and me, to use their own
>language; but to me, it has always seemed a bit strange to write a program
>with keywords in English, and identifiers in French. Indeed, I feel
>it's really bogus when I try to read this out loud:
> "let élément = String.sub chaîne where chaîne = "...

I have currently some projects in a bank in Frankfurt. Although our team often
chooses English identifiers, there are sometimes special terms which are
difficult to translate. Big organizations tend to have their own language, and
everybody in the organization knows what is meant if one of the special words
is used. For example, in this bank the German word "Sachgebiet" is a software
application tied to an organizational unit; nobody outside would think at
software if he or she hears this word; and it seems to be impossible to
translate such a term to English because nobody inside the bank would
understand it. So the only way out is to mix English and German words, e.g.
get_sachgebiet as method of an object.

I mention this example because it demonstrates that you cannot get rid of the
local language even if you try hard. I think this is not different in Japan or
other parts of the world, so non-Latin1 characters are really needed there.

Please note: This argument has nothing to do with esthetics ("how it sounds"),
the language mixture is simply necessary to make yourself understandable. The
grammar (the language of the keywords) of Ocaml should be the same all over the
world, otherwise you would split the software basis artificially.

>It can be ridiculous when two speakers
>of the same language come to speaking English to each other.

Yes, but this is not the problem. We have also native English speakers in our
team, and international teams are very normal in this world. John also mixes
languages and it is sometimes very funny...


Gerd Stolpmann      Telefon: +49 6151 997705 (privat)
Viktoriastr. 100             
64293 Darmstadt     EMail: (privat)

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