Fwd: Pseudo-locales for i18n testing by English speakers

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Mon Oct 6 00:52:40 EDT 2008

This is the start of a rather interesting thread in fedora-devel-list.
It seems like a very easy way to push the envelope a bit on i18n/l10n
support, something that even G1G1 testers can help us with.

I've already cross-posted it to moodle.org where it immediately revealed a bug.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sean Flanigan <sflaniga at redhat.com>
Date: 2008/10/2
Subject: Pseudo-locales for i18n testing by English speakers
To: fedora-i18n-list at redhat.com, fedora-devel-list at redhat.com

(Apologies for the double post on fedora-i18n-list, but I want to keep
the thread together.  Please reply to this message, not the first one.)

G'day all,

I think we should make use of pseudo-locales to test Fedora.

[--- I ŧⱨîňⱪ ש𝖾 šⱨøմŀđ ოåⱪ𝖾 մš𝖾 øϝ Þš𝖾մđø-ŀøçåŀ𝖾š ŧø ŧ𝖾šŧ F𝖾đøяå.

(In case UTF-8 doesn't make it to everyone's mail client intact, the
above sentence should like similar to the first one, except that the
lower case characters have been replaced by other similar-looking
Unicode characters.  A couple of the characters don't fit into 16 bits,
and really gave my text editors some trouble!)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-translation and
http://blogs.msdn.com/shawnste/archive/2006/06/27/647915.aspx for more
about pseudo-locales.  Microsoft actually used three different
pseudo-locales to test Vista, with things like reverse sorting,
right-to-left characters, and large character sets.

To me, the main advantages of pseudo-localisation are the ability to
test some aspects of i18n without having to wait for translations to be
turned around, and allowing English-only speakers to test i18n areas,
which is otherwise extremely difficult.

I have a simple Ant task which can generate pseudo-translations like the
one above from a gettext POT files, but I'm not suggesting that we
should integrate my humble Ant task into the makefiles of thousands of
Fedora packages. If the gettext runtime code that fetches translations
from .mo files (in glibc?) were to recognise a pseudo-locale id, it
could generate pseudo-translations on the fly from the English text.

Admittedly, there's a little more to it than simple character
substitution.  The pseudo-translator has to avoid changing things like
variable names and html tags, but a few rules (eg don't modify anything
between angle/square/curly brackets, don't touch %d/%s/etc) would cover
95% of cases.  In the other cases, you might mess up some HTML or fail
to expand a variable, but only users who choose to use a pseudo-locale
would ever see these problems.

Would there be any interest in getting something like this into glibc?

[--- S𝖾åň ---]

PS this could make sense for the OpenJDK too, but that's another story.
Sean Flanigan

Senior Software Engineer
Engineering - Internationalisation
Red Hat

 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff
-------------- next part --------------
An embedded and charset-unspecified text was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
URL: <http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/attachments/20081006/95720564/attachment.asc>

More information about the Devel mailing list