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Re: [bug-gettext] Request to GNU gettext

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: [bug-gettext] Request to GNU gettext
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 00:42:06 +0100
User-agent: KMail/1.13.6 (Linux/; KDE/4.6.0; x86_64; ; )

Hello, ProfÂȘ Barreto,

>  I am Brazilian and I need help.
> I want my page to be translated automatically according to the source IP 
> address.
> That is, if the person my site in France, appears to her, as translated in 
> Frenc.
> Tell me please how to implement this on my site.
>  Thank you!
>  Atenciosamente, 
> ProfÂȘ. Sandra Barreto  

I take the freedom to copy the bug-gettext mailing list, because your question
is of general interest.

In summary, what you have in mind *can* be done, but *should not* be done.

It can be done by use of so-called "geolocation databases"
and a mapping from location to language.

Why should it *not* be done?

1) Location does not imply language.

   If, as a Brazilian user, you travel through Europe and connect yourself
   to the internet through local facilities (hotel rooms, internet cafes),
   your preferred language is *still* Brazilian Portuguese and not Italian,
   Croatian, Lithuanian, Greek, or whatever language happens to be spoken
   in your location.

2) User's freedom and user's choices.

   Users happen to have preferences. Even if you are not traveling, your
   preferred language may be your mother's tongue rather than the official
   language of the country you are residing in. Even if a number of users use
   the same computer, their language preferences may be different. For this
   reason, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is recommending the
   Accept-Language marker in the HTTP protocol to transmit user preferences
   from the user's browser to the web server. The user can change her
   preferences in the browser. For details see
   These are standards, widely implemented for 15 years.

If you use geolocation for language nevertheless, you can be sure that your
users will curse you. "I've downloaded a German-localized Firefox, I've
set my preference to German, and still this fascist web site from Brazil
wants to greet me in French...!"

In memoriam John F. Kennedy <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy>

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