Localized software (was: Re: minimizing size)

From: Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven (asmodai@in-nomine.org)
Date: Sat Feb 09 2008 - 05:44:59 CST

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    -On [20080208 22:47], John H. Jenkins (jenkins@apple.com) wrote:
    >I'm in total agreement with you here, James. The big factor is economics,
    >as Ed points out. Supporting the non-complex rendering bits of Unicode is
    >relatively cheap and gets you the biggest markets: the Americas, Europe,
    >and East Asia. The cost-benefit ratio is much worse when it comes to
    >supporting bidi and complex scripts, so companies cut corners by not
    >supporting them.

    Let me chime in from the other side of the discussion. I am, next to a whole
    slew of other things, a localization manager for a few projects, the most
    notable being Trac (http://trac.edgewall.org/).

    Right now, using Babel (http://babel.edgewall.org/) -- which we wrote
    specifically for this stuff incorporating CLDR, I kickstarted translations
    for the following locales:

    cs_CZ, cy_GB, de_DE, el_GR, en_US, es_ES, fa_IR, fr_FR, hu_HU, it_IT, ja_JP,
    ko_KR, lv_LV, nl_NL, pl_PL, pt_BR, pt_PT, ru_RU, sv_SE, th_TH, tr_TR, vi_VN,
    zh_CN, zh_TW

    For me, editing-wise, the more difficult locales have been fa_IR and vi_VN
    due to proper font support (especially on a monospace front) as well as
    Arabic/Farsi complex rendering.

    I think that for the common case of LtR writing using European languages and
    Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Japanese, at least, the problems of layout
    and rendering are quite well understood. On the matter of many other
    languages I think the details are too often found in obscure books known
    only by linguists or people with an insane interest in this sort of stuff
    (like yours truly).

    I think it would help to document, even more than the Unicode manual does
    right now, the various scripts and associated problems for rendering and
    layout from a mixed linguistic/technical perspective. I am even willing to
    help write such documents or at least kickstart it based on what I know and
    can find and invite expert comments on that. (It's something I am already
    working on in my spare time in fact.)

    This would enable the information to be more open and public and
    subsequently serve as a good reference for implementations.

    Ideas/comments? :)

    Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven <asmodai(-at-)in-nomine.org> / asmodai
    イェルーン ラウフロック ヴァン デル ウェルヴェン
    http://www.in-nomine.org/ | http://www.rangaku.org/
    Education is power, joy is venerability...

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