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[bug-gettext] [bug #52971] document the approach w.r.t. date/time format

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: [bug-gettext] [bug #52971] document the approach w.r.t. date/time format strings
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2018 02:50:37 -0500 (EST)
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:57.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/57.0


                 Summary: document the approach w.r.t. date/time format
                 Project: GNU gettext
            Submitted by: haible
            Submitted on: Thu 25 Jan 2018 08:50:36 AM CET
                Category: C
                Severity: 3 - Normal
              Item Group: None
                  Status: None
                 Privacy: Public
             Assigned to: None
             Open/Closed: Open
         Discussion Lock: Any



Date/time format strings (argument to strftime) need to be localized by
translators. Explain the general approach and the specific handling of %B vs.
%OB, %b vs. %ob.

Rafal Luzynski writes:
"I strongly believe that the format strings should be left for the translators
and the programmer's choice of a format string should be correct for English
but this is seldom correct for other languages. This is not because of the
genitive/nominative month names but for the reasons like:

- English often uses the month-day order, most of other languages   use the
day-month order;
- many languages require a dot after the day number;
- English requires a comma after the day number if it is followed by a year
- some languages (e.g., East Asian) do not have month names and use the month
numbers instead;
- and many more...


The reasons above are sufficient to tell that the translators must have dealt
with it since forever. If you are asking whether the rules where to use %OB
and where %B are universal (so the translators will not have to decide) or not
(different in different languages) I must say that I strongly doubt about how
these rules work in Czech, Serbian, and Slovak language. But let's take a look
at these numbers (they may be inaccurate, take them as an approximation):

- there are about 200 languages supported by glibc;
- about 20 of them (10%) need the nominative/genitive distinction, in the rest
of the languages there is no difference between %OB and %B;
- about 3 of those 20 (1.5% of the total number) the rules of %OB/%B may be


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