Re: Internationalizing Linux

Marcin Dalecki (
Tue, 08 Dec 1998 15:18:32 +0100

Horst von Brand wrote:
> Then think the other way around: I've learned CSc from books and papers
> written in English (mostly because there is not much else), I stare at code
> written in English, read the manual in English, and have to translate what
> I see there into Spanish and back to understand error messages.

Which will give the correct results only under the assumption that there
a one to one mapping between the semantics of different human messages.
This assumptin turns out to be utterly wrong in fact. Most singlelingual
underestimate terrible the impact of cultural connotations on the

> > o There needs to be some standard message identifier if
> > this is going to go at all.
> Exactly! It's called "Standard phrase in English" right now. Works fine
> (If you look, most people that are concerned by this are from the USA, in
> other parts of the world an (even limited) knowledge of English is part of
> everybody's secondary schooling, at least).

Never mind but most of the world doesn't care about english as much. In
please note that basic english in German usually results in an much
understanding of this language than in for example Poland. Just becouse
similarities between German and English are much higher than for example
any slavic
language. Therefore don't underestimate please how many people out there
have a real
problem with this. (It just happens that on an english speaking list You
get any sight of them ...)

> And nobody will bother (or dare) translate them, so I get to see messages
> in English (written by Alan Cox),

no problem

> in Swedish (by Linus),

damn! (should be however managable if You know German...)

> some in Italian

maybe he could be persuaded to use latin?

> (by Andrea),
> or Bill Hawes in German,

kein Problem
> and Alexey in Russian... boy, will

Bez problemaw, Tawariszcz!

> _that_ be fun.

Certainly... Ah badly the Soviets lost the cold war on technological
area and
we need to live with this English instead of the wonderfull, and in my
much better suited for technical purposes, since it's a lot less terse,
However fortunately the Chinees didn't get it. No offence at the
language itself
intendid. But it would certainly prevent me from having anything to do
informatics to no end. Just imagine to issue a shutdown in the broken
alphabet :-)...

> Or worse: I get nicely formatted messages in German, that some kind soul
> translated. Perhaps without a clue of what was going on inside the code,
> so she perhaps completely misunderstood the intent...

This is the reason I hate translated programms...

And btw. The whole message translating thing should be really done in
in user space if anywhere. The only thing which can't be done there are
first 4096 bytes of boot messages...


To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
Please read the FAQ at