Re: Character name translations

From: David Starner <>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2012 04:13:19 -0800

On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 3:36 AM, Jukka K. Korpela <> wrote:
> Though such efforts can be useful, and I was somewhat involved in the work,
> I think the basic idea is questionable. The Unicode names of characters are
> not “names of characters” in an ordinary sense. Instead, they are
> alphanumeric identifiers for characters, with considerable mnemonic nature,
> but still ids, not really names. The list of Unicode names should not even
> be treated as a list of English names of characters; many of the names are
> unsuitable for common use (or even any use except as identifiers), or at
> least suboptimal for use.

Every Unicode character has an id of the form U+xxxxxx. Having some
sort of readable name beyond raw number is useful for many audiences.

> It may be useful to try to agree on official or semi-official names for
> characters in a language. Such a list hardly needs to cover all of the over
> 100,000 Unicode characters.

Why not? Why should an English speaker sticking a arbitrary character
into a character map program get a name for it but a non-English
speaker not?

(I'll note that of those 100,000 characters, 75,000 Han ideographs
don't have names and 11,000 Hangul syllables have algorithmically
derived names.

> So Unicode names should not be translated at all, any more than you
> translate General Category values for example.

Why wouldn't you? There's an argument that they're generally useful
for programmers only and programming often requires English knowledge,
but if I were explaining the character categories in Esperanto, I
would certainly say that Sm is matematikaj simboloj or Simbolo
Matematika, not act like "Symbol, Math" should have any importance to
my audience.

Kie ekzistas vivo, ekzistas espero.
Received on Thu Dec 20 2012 - 06:14:38 CST

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