Re: VS: "French+" support by Unicode

From: JFC Morfin (
Date: Mon Apr 14 2008 - 13:00:25 CDT

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: VS: "French+" support by Unicode"

    At 06:24 14/04/2008, Erkki I. Kolehmainen wrote:
    >Dear Mr. Morfin,
    >I'd like to comment only on a limited set of points in your note.
    >The ISO/IEC 10646 English version is not a US document but the result of
    >truly international co-operation involving contributions and verification by
    >participants from all over the world and with a multitude of mother tongues.

    One of the comments I found interesting as a multilinguist was that
    three persons from the three concerned languages perceive the same
    bi-lingual document in three different linguistic ways. Obviously,
    the way US was used was for US English, vs. Anglo-american English
    since it was the point being made.

    >The working language of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 is English.

    This is a problem we face more and more. English is a convenient
    working language, but it is less and less adequate for normative
    thinking. This is precisely why ISO is multilingual. To oblige the
    working English document to be edited through a language of different
    thinking. Actually I think Chinese or Japanese should also be called
    upon. To be equally understood by readers from different languages
    (different forms of comprehension) the ISO texts must be as much
    metalinguistic as they can be (so we can "substract pragmatics and
    add semantics").

    >The French version is a translation of the English version and - as such -
    >it is not subject to the same level of scrutiny.

    This is a mistake.
    (1) a version is not a translation. It is a version. If its content
    is non reviewed translation the Chair is at deep fault, because he
    endorses texts he does not know, and because most probably (this is
    the purpose of the bilingual publication) there are unclarities which
    have been found in the English text that have been translated in a
    way the English has not benefited.
    (2) This is why I say that - if the translators are good, and I
    suppose they are - the French version is necessarily more advanced
    than the English version. And this is abnormal.

    >Since it cannot have any
    >normative information beyond that of the English version, it would be wrong
    >to use it as the base for any further translation, because this could lead
    >to errors in interpreting interpretations.

    French and English versions are legally equally normative. English
    being an easier but less precise language than French many
    translations are carried from the French text or based upon the
    clarification provided by the French version of the text.

    This being said, I fully understand that for a couple of decades the
    normative logoreah has led to a more commercially sponsored usage of
    English, while French is supported on a public budget basis. This
    issue has been approached by the IAB in RFC 3869. The IAB calls for
    more non commercial sponsoring of R&D and therefore of normative effort.

    This is one of the items of our current work (MLTF). It is to
    consider that there are two alternative sources:
    - Government funding which is provided through ISO, ITU, etc.
    - non-profit organisations.

    These sources are less funded than commercial ones. But at the same
    time commercial sources are more interested in fundamental R&D. Our
    analysis shown us that the normative process must be split between
    "norms" which describe normality, and standard which describe the way
    to use that normality in specific manners as the basis for interoperability.

    Only norms need to be multilingual. The only requirement for
    standards is that they do not pollute the normated area. Pollution
    can result from three possibilities :
    - a standard wants to play the role of a norm. This is internationalisation.
    - a standard makes itself non interoperable in disrespecting norms.
    - a standard uses its political area of influence to extend to usages
    foreign to its area of competence.

    As a result we think that non-profit technology independent
    normative, standardisation, and documentation organisartions (INSDO)
    are the place to gather people and multiculturally enonciate norms,
    discuss standard interoperability, and register documentation and data.


    >Erkki I. Kolehmainen
    >Tilkankatu 12 A 3, FI-00300 Helsinki, Finland
    >Puh. (09) 4368 2643, 0400 825 943; Tel. +358 9 4368 2643, +358 400 825 943
    >-----Alkuperäinen viesti-----
    >Lähettäjä: []
    >Puolesta JFC Morfin
    >Lähetetty: 14. huhtikuuta 2008 4:54
    >Vastaanottaja: Doug Ewell; Unicode Mailing List; Asmus Freytag
    >Kopio: Marion Gunn; Kenneth Whistler;
    >Aihe: Re: "French+" support by Unicode
    >4) My point is that in being published out of a bilingual process it
    >is expected to be nearer from a its own metalingual architectonic.
    >What Asmus implies is that the ISO 10646 he uses is, from his point
    >of view, a US document; and does not care about the pragmatic being
    >involved). In addition he fails to consider that the French version
    >is more worked on and probably more metalinguistic and more advanced
    >that his US copy [because he says that translators are good, so they
    >can easily chose the best notional occurrences, and add (or have to
    >add) metalinguistic value (moreover that it is more common in
    >metaductive French than in inductive English).
    >It means that the ISO process has not been respected in order to get
    >a polynym document (cross-language synonymy and quality), i.e; able
    >to be better translated in different other languages. The French
    >document is more advanced and there is no feed back of it into the
    >English version. This is something we oberved in ISO 639-3 : the
    >itarative bi-lingual quality assurance process has not properly
    >worked. This creates problem in that particular case because they did
    >not want to publish a face to face version which would help
    >comparing. And because the French version is often favored as more
    >precise (language and actual ISO publication process) when
    >translating in other languages.
    >Thank you for this very speaking example of the polynymic issue. jfc

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Apr 14 2008 - 13:23:08 CDT