en-US language presumption (was...)

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at ubuntu.com
Mon Aug 31 20:42:33 BST 2009

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 04:15:33AM +0200, Jan Claeys wrote:
> Op vrijdag 28-08-2009 om 23:26 uur [tijdzone +0100], schreef Paul
> Sladen:
> > If this presumption is being made, then it is a bug.  People should be
> > free to code their human-readable appliation output in whatever
> > (human) language that group of developers feel most collectively
> > comfortable with.

> > I personally write my error messages in UTF-8 formatted en-GB---it
> > would be an unfair bunden to expect me to be familiar with en-US (or
> > en-CA, en-AU, en-*)---and I would be more likely to make mistakes in
> > attempting to do so. 

> I agree that that should be the way it works, but unfortunately as far
> as I know the GNU gettext string extraction utilities assume that the
> source language is always US English.

> (IIRC the gettext specifications don't mention this, so maybe we should
> consider it as a bug in the GNU gettext utilities implementation?)

They don't assume US English at all.  They *do* assume that the charset of
the source strings is a common subset of the charsets used for all
translations, i.e. ASCII, which somewhat limits the set of candidate
languages.  But the source strings could be UK English as easily as US

I think the best argument for using US English is that it's more efficient
to have consistency in the source strings so that the en_US "l10n" team can
focus their attentions there, instead of having to divide their attention
between proofreading source strings and translating those which someone has
decided should use a different dialect.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek at ubuntu.com                                     vorlon at debian.org
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