(off-topic) Miscellaneous comments/questions.

From: Patrick Andries (pandries@iti.qc.ca)
Date: Sat Aug 12 2000 - 17:15:30 EDT

--- Dans unicode@e..., Alex Bochannek <alex@p...> a écrit

> A similar issue was very interesting to observe in France and
> Germany. The use of the English language in advertisement seems to run
> rampant in Germany while almost all ads that include English in France
> (mostly tag lines) are followed by an asterisk and the literal French
> translation somewhere near the edge of the sign.

I think that this was made compulsory by the Toubon law [every citizen has
the right to be informed in his language], unfortunately the law did not
specify the printed size of foreign language text and their French
translation. This may have seemed like a pedantic precision to some French
legislators but in practice it means that the translated text (i.e French
text in France !) is hidden (often using a hardly readable font size and
color), in magazines it is usually close to the binding or any other margin.
After all, if the marketing guys chose English why would they want to show
the French equivalent ? Often the slogan written in English has no other
intention than to declare or pretend that the company in question is a
world-wide company. Examples : Bull and its "Network of confidence" or
Zenith a Swiss watchmaker and its "Life is in the movement". These slogans
present no translation problem in French and are not exceptionally good in
one language or the other. The meaning is not important, the language used
is. In Quebec, this is unthinkable (the law is much more precise), in other
areas this kind of typographical game is also impossible (think of the
health warning point size on cigarette packages).

>At first I thought it
> was somewhat silly but when I saw how the German language currently is
> absorbing English words like a sponge, the footnotes seemed to make
> sense.

I believe there is some confusion here between the "German language" (or
people) and German in advertising (or fashionable circles). I would think
that English words in daily German are far less prevalent than in
advertising or fashionable speech. How many Germans would say like the
fashion designer Jill Sander : "Mein Leben ist eine givingstory. Wer
Ladyisches will, searcht nicht bei Jil Sander. Man muß Sinn haben für das
effortless, das magic meines Stils" ? (In the FAZ, 3 or 4 years ago.)

See http://www.vwds.de/vds/r_denglisch.htm

> The other issue that was brought up about time zones is fascinating. A
> while ago, when I was looking into locale issues, it occurred to me
> that there really needs to be a comprehensive database of "cultural
> defaults." For extensive localization, you need to know more than just
> date format, language, and script (OK, I am oversimplifying the extent
> of the locale information.) What I would like to see is a database
> that allows to enter a location in, e.g., coordinates and a date
> and
> that then gives me extensive information about the most commonly used
> language, script, currency, measurement units, local date/time,

This we are actually building for our wireless and satellite asset
management system. Given a latitude, a longitude and an event time, it will
return the local time when this event occured. I believe to have all the
elements (GIS maps, TZ definitions) to build relatively quickly a prototype
(thanks to all for the pointers supplied).

Patrick Andries
Dorval (Québec)

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