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Re: Changing the language of gnus menu entries


From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Changing the language of gnus menu entries
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 22:14:10 +0300

> From: Michael Heerdegen <address@hidden>
> Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 20:29:55 +0200
> 
> > > I'm not against localizing menus, but docstrings?  Most of programmers
> > > will understand English, and binding so much work, constantly, for very
> > > few users?  IMHO we should spend our time with other important tasks to
> > > improve user experience.
> >
> > You are, in effect, saying that Emacs should not be localized.  If doc
> > strings, echo-area messages, and help-echo messages are not to be
> > localized, what's the value of having single-word menus localized?
> 
> There are some beginners that even don't know M-x - localized menus
> would be cool for such users, as a start in using Emacs - nothing more.

How do the menus help, if the help-echo tooltips are still in English?
It's not like Emacs's menus are self-explanatory, at least not most of
them.

> But you're right about me saying that Emacs should not be localized, in
> general.

Then I think you should refrain from participating in this thread,
which is about how to get Emacs localized.  Perhaps you should start a
separate thread regarding why it shouldn't.

> - Half of docstring words are Emacs-specific technical terms.  How
>   would you translate such words as "frame", "point", "face" into, say,
>   German?  There are now words for that.  When I talk about Emacs with
>   my friends (in German), I also say "frame", "point" etc.

Take a look at the German tutorial, some of these problems are already
solved there.  Whatever the solution is (and I don't even care which
one), the same one can and should be used elsewhere in Emacs

> - If you don't speak English, how will you memorize hundreds of command
>   names?  We would have to localize command names, too.

No need to localize command names.  This situation is not different
from any programming language, where the reserved words are in
English.  It doesn't prevent computer book stores in Germany from
being chock-full of books in German -- so much so that it's hard to
find a book in English in those stores.  If users of C++ and Python
and Ruby can overcome this problem, why cannot users of Emacs?

And, btw, if someone whose first language is German wants to have
their Emacs speak US English, there should be nothing to prevent them
from doing so, so they won't lose anything.  Localization is for those
for whom a non-native language presents a tremendous obstacle -- and
there are enough of these all over the world.

> Not speaking English, you won't be able to get help from
> gnu.emacs.help.

There's a huge difference between talking on a forum with someone you
can ask questions and request clarifications, and reading terse,
formal documentation that tries to be both rigorous and concise.
Besides, no one said that it's "verboten" to ask questions in German
on gnu.emacs.help -- you will just get fewer answers, that's all.

> You won't write bug reports.

Sorry, that's a red herring: there's always Google translate.

> A great feature of Emacs is that there are third party packages for
> lots of stuff.  Packages that are explained in English and nobody
> has time to translate.

A perfect 100% bulletproof solution that translates everything is
indeed very hard.  But I'm sure you've heard about the 80-20 rule, and
perhaps even applied it in some of your work.

> At the end, I think, we would make some progress, and after most of the
> work is done after some months or years, development will stop, and
> nobody is there keeping things ticking over.

If that's what will happen, then the conclusion is that no one really
needs that, and it's not a big deal that whatever progress was made
eventually went up in smoke.  But at least we will have known that we
tried.  By contrast, today, we have nothing, so people who perhaps
could have taken this feature forward cannot do that.

> We already see this today with the English docs: how many reports
> arriving at gnu.emacs.bug contain patches that are concerning
> documentation?

Excuse me?  Have you checked the bug tracker lately?



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