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Re: Emacs i18n

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: Emacs i18n
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2021 10:43:35 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/28.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Thibaut Verron wrote:

>> They used to speak French, now they speak English.
> I don't know what they used to speak, but nowadays they
> speak their own language afaik.

They used to speak French, that was the langauge of diplomacy,
now they speak English.

> We see the effect of this when all EU treaties are
> translated in all the official languages of the EU (which,
> luckily, still include English).

Well, they have resources to do that, and hire themselves and
each other to do the job for the right price. A lot is for
political reasons, also. But, obviously I don't know how
everything happens there, but of course the international
language is English there as well as everywhere else.

>> We see traces of this in for example the Euro Vision Song
>> Contest where they tell the score in English and French.
> Is that diplomacy now? :)

I think it is! It is a competition between nation and about
national pride. But it is also just a show, of course.
Commercial, monetary. Just like IIHF, too bad the French
didn't have a team this year (they play the B tournament, with
a bunch of Canadian guys, I think, so hopefully we see them
again soon).

FYI I've played ice hockey with Canadian guys from Quebec -
you know of course that they were separatists in the 70s - now
(well, this was 5-10 years ago) now these guys spoke English
in a way that was inseparable from any US or English-speaking
Canadian dude, no French accent, nothing. Reality, "man".

> Okay my bad. Might I still assume that I have met more
> French scientists and programmers than you? Most of them
> speak very broken English, and hate it.

Then it is a matter of attitude. Most Swedish people enjoy
speaking English a lot actually, and in the tech world it
makes sense as well, but even so most people get over it after
the initial love affair, of course we don't want to speak
English to countrymen we meet in the street or to our parents
(who speak good enough, sometimes excellent English, my mother
speaks good French as well BTW, and German, and Spanish, my
father's English is so-so, he speaks OK German tho, I speak
and write English fluently but not always correctly of course,
I can read French to some extent and I speak get-by Russian,
this may sound like a lot of languages everywhere but
I consider my skills at a pretty basic or low level, I didn't
score the top marks in school by any means, and if it hadn't
been for technology, education, student life, and talking like
this on Usenet/mailing lists and IRC, I don't think my English
had been on a so-so (or lower) level as well).

> I'm flattered that you take me as an example, but I speak
> and write English on a daily basis precisely because I don't
> live in France.

Yes, hah, you are allowed to speak French about technology in
France and everywhere else where you meet French-speaking
people, sweet heavens! It is just very impractical for you and
everyone else if you for example write source in French, and
you will put yourself at a huge disadvantage if you cannot
read books and source and web pages in English, and _we_ then
also cannot benefit from _you_ if you choose that path, as
I've said many times now. But you are not so no worries about
that, it is just this charade over and over, unbelievable!

> In France I was speaking 99.9% French, including at work.
> We would be writing a paper in English and discussing in
> French about which words to use.

The French students I met were 20-25 years old and they were
fluent speaking English, in a couple of years or a decade at
the most the French people will be as fluent as them, only at
15-20 instead, it is inevitable, French people are proud of
their engineering skills and everyone wants to take part of
the international world, including the French, you can pretend
to be annoyed by it all you want, as long as you still do it,
which is the case clearly, I'm fine... well, I am annoyed by
the whole charade, which the French are the only ones who do,
interestingly enough, but I know you are here anyway so it
doesn't matter really. And those who are not will come.

And a couple of generations more it will be all natural, no
one will even think about not doing it.

> And France is far from the worst place to speak English.
> Try a random Chinese or Japanese or Russian student.
> Try a random Turkish or Thai or Ivorian student.

No! Well, Thai or Ivorian students I never met but Chinese,
Japanese, Russian, and Turkish I all met, a lot, my dad even
has a house in Turkey, their technology students speak English
excellent, just fine, or are getting there, Russians in
particular are a weird bunch in this respect, ha, there are
some who refuse and some who are like Western Europe (i.e.,
very good), but it is inevitable, their education has always
been awesome and they are into everything Western, it is
inevitable that the "English-speakers" will win that battle,
and it doesn't have to take that long, these processes are all
under way sine long... (And actually it isn't a battle, the
Russians that "refuse" do that because they think they cannot,
they are in a "blocked mode", often they rely on a friend who
speaks excellent English but they themselves want to speak as
well and one forces them to speak they are happy about that
and learn very fast, if you think I'm generalizing now I am
but I've seen it so many times I know its true, ha.)

> And to be clear, it's not about the people. Some languages
> are extremely different from English (how hard is it to
> learn English from Swedish?). Some countries have extremely
> poor English teaching in lower education.

No, no, everyone is capable of learning English, some small
(or smallish) countries and language groups (e.g., Sweden, the
Netherlands, ...) has had a head start since it was so
apparently necessary for one reason, and there are other
reasons as well, but everyone else is equally and more than
capable and as we have seen with Russians and in particular
with the Germans who has had a rocket-career in this respect
it doesn't have to take that long, it will all come, so
whatever head start Sweden or other countries might have had -
well, good for us :) we were always clever merchants and
warriors at the same time :)) - but the point is that head
start for us won't mean anything sooner than we would like,
actually :)

>> Wrong! They do, and they do even more and better for each
>> year, and the very small group who don't, well, they have
>> a HUGE problem that should be fixed by them putting ALL
>> their efforts learning English as soon as possible
> Not realistic. Instead, they think that their English is
> good enough and will improve as they go.

Those who don't learn English will be at a disadvantage in
every aspect. People don't want that, it doesn't benefit them
or their games and it isn't fun, girls want to talk to foreign
guys and guys want to play games and watch stupid movies and
so on and so forth etc etc etc - I mean, why on Earth would
one not do that in general? And in particular a tech or
science person? I don't understand, why? The Swedish world is
small but the French world isn't big enough by far, sorry.
Deal with it...

> But learning a difficult topic will always be easier in your
> own language.

No, not with technology once you have made that step, then it
is more difficult, well, more _impractical_ I should say, to
speak about it, and in particular _write_ about it, in your
own language, actually. English is already the international
language and the language of technology and science, if you
want to be an international warrior you need this gun in your
belt as well, use only the French guns - you are gunned down,

> Yes. But to those who know some English but for whom it
> requires effort, it would mean that they get a first contact
> with new difficult topics without language hurdles.
> They will still be able to access the complete documentation
> in English when needed.

They must and they will take the step, I'm positive, I'm 100%
convinced. Go to a party with 20 year old, as a field trip.
Go to the cutest, most intelligent girl and the guy who is
most skilled with tools and the guy who is most skilled with
sport. They ALL SPEAK ENGLISH and see no problem with it.
This decides everything already at this point!

Translating huge books is just an immense wasted effort that
also have several negative effects that I've mentioned
already. For example this book

  author     = {Cormen and Leiserson and Rivest and Stein},
  edition    = {2nd edition},
  isbn       = {0-268-53196-8},
  publisher  = {MIT Press},
  title      = {Introduction to Algorithms},
  year       = {2001}

It is 1184 pages!

And that format (book heft) isn't uncommon!

Are you going to translate this to French because some French
guys aren't good enough English readers? This reasoning is
insane, I don't know how you get it to work in your heads,
that are rational in every other sense, including this one,
but only for your personal life and activities? Are your
compatriots that stupid? And you some kind of elite or
something? And you are gonna translate 1084 page books on
algorithms to remedy that? Ha, listen, it doesn't make any
sense any of it! Hahaha :)

>> and in the worst case they would be deluding themselves
>> thinking they are so great, while actually living in
>> a bubble 10 000 miles behind everyone else!
> With this kind of attitude, some of them just might.
> Talk about delusions...

But it is true, remove English from the world of technology
you can never keep up and you are restricted to work in the
fields were other people have translated stuff. French people
had I think with feudalism, right? That's what's gonna happen?
Haha :)

Native French output in terms of computers and programming and
(technology and science in general) cannot in any sense or in
any way be compared to the corresponding output in English.
Restrict yourself to French, that's the stupidest move in
anyone's personal or professional career, you just have to
deal with that reality, that doesn't work anymore -if it ever
did that world is long GONE. Gone but not forgotten, it would
seem! Hah. But know you will come and be here just as everyone
else, this recurring charade notwithstanding...

> Books get translated. Wikipedia is translated. Is it all
> negative to you?

Yes, if the explicit or implicit reason is that people are bad
at English! Of course there can be commercial, personal,
emotional etc reasons to do whatever but in terms of
technology restricting oneself to one's native language (well,
unless that's English, d'oh) that would be a huge blunder, no
one should do it and certainly not live under the illusion
that translations can make one not have to come HERE, where
the game is! You think French hockey players should only play
in the French league? NO, they should come to use here to
Sweden and Finland, where the level is ... another :)
Meanwhile WE should aim for the NHL and KHL, ha :) If enough
of them come, after their careers peak, they will not be good
enough for Sweden and Finland so they'll go back to France,
where they will bring the level up with their skills and
experience, and before you know it the French league can be
competitive with perhaps Germany, Litva, Belarus, Kazakhstan
... well, if you send A LOT of players anyway! But you will
never ever be at the level of Sweden or Finland and never ever
in a million years will the French hockey league be competitive
with NHL and the Russian Super League. So the only way you can
compete with the NHL and KHL is _in_ the NHL or KHL, and these
guys show it is indeed possible: (3 French guys in the NHL)

There are 50 Swedish guys in the NHL BTW:

and 50 Finnish guys:

> Heck, *you* wrote a book in Swedish!

Please, you or anyone else get me a contract in NYC (which is
the publishing capital of the world BTW, tho the biggest
publishing house is English, Penguin, right? I think Hachette
Livre is number 2 but they also have their HQ in NYC) - you or
anyone else offer me a contract and instead of ranting here
I'd be more than happy to translate it to English or write
another book in English for that matter :) How about a book on
a tree house project?
Or Elisp robotics?

>>> And all over the world, a lot of students who do not feel
>>> confident with English treat the lack of available
>>> translations as a significant hurdle, or even a barrier.
>> 100% incorrect
> You really have no idea

I know so many people have take the step and those who don't
will be at a disadvantage, I don't think they like that so
they too will take the step, it makes sense and we see it
everywhere every day, why on Earth would it NOT happen? It is
already happening all over the world! Even here, I can go to
one of the student house quarters right now and there will be
people from all over the world - we have 42 559 students here
<> - all of
them will speak excellent English, and if we ask about their
parent some will say their parents speak good English, some
so-so, and some not at all, but guess what, these people are
soon parents _themselves_, people use more and more technology
and consume more and more culture, watch movies, read
magazines, watch DIY YouTube videos how to demolish their
carbon bicycles, while trying to raise the saddle and learning
something in the process - it is inevitable. RESISTANCE IS

> It's not really the same thing. Nobody asks *you* to write
> or read a manual in French or Chinese.

OF COURSE everyone is allowed to do it, I'm not going to do
anything more that write these messages, actually I'm getting
a little tired of it by now, I think I'll bookmark these 3-4
rantings the next time the French connection get their way up
to Annapurna (the first 8000+ mountain to be summited BTW, by
a French expedition, everyone gives them credit for this -
except the Swiss. why? because of langauge? can't have
a brother succeed? but Swiss mountaineering expertise is
beyond question - Mt. Everest OTOH was first summited by the
English but none of the two people reaching the top was from
England, ha, typical of them :) maybe the most difficult
mountain in the world, K2, was first summited by the Italians.
of the Polar explorers we have respect for the English
super-human efforts but there is no doubt in our minds the
best in this respect were the Norwegians.)

> But yes, I guess French diplomats make it a point to remind
> everyone that English domination should not be taken for
> granted. You can call it tradition. :)

Yep, Frenchh hangup (Frenchh = French and only French)

> But when I say that translated manuals are helpful, it's not
> part of that tradition, it's from my experience meeting and
> teaching to French students. Many of them simply do not
> bother or are blocked from learning a topic because there is
> no entry-level material in their language. That's a fact.

Manuals - maybe in the 70-80s but I'm not sure, now - harmful.

Textbooks - sure, if you have the manpower and resources and
political and individual desire to do that instead of
something more interesting, ha, but remember that
English-language university undergraduate textbooks are often
~1000 pages. They call everything before or below PhD
"Introduction" which is fun because again the books are
often >1000 pages. So if you want to translate the "intros" by
all means, do it.

And before you say it, what about the French production, which
is in French already? That is a competitive bout but not
close, and certainly not a draw. If you try to compete in that
sense you will loose. The only way for you to compete is to do
it in English like everyone else. You already do it, now you
have to 1) deal with it; and 2) do it even more, and the
French honor will be restored, despite the IT and computing
setback to the accursed Anglo-Americans...

underground experts united

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