Translating the standard

Marcel Schneider via Unicode unicode at
Mon Mar 12 03:34:01 CDT 2018

On Mon, 12 Mar 2018 07:39:53 +0000, Alastair Houghton wrote:
> On 11 Mar 2018, at 21:14, Marcel Schneider via Unicode  wrote:
> > 
> > Indeed, to be fair. And for implementers, documenting themselves in English 
> > may scarcely ever have much of a problem, no matter whatʼs the locale.
> Agreed. Implementers will already understand English; you can’t write computer software
> without, since almost all documentation is in English, almost all computer languages are
> based on English, and, to be frank, a large proportion of the software market is itself
> English speaking. I have yet to meet a software developer who didn’t speak English.
> That’s not to say that people wouldn’t appreciate a translation of the standard, but there are,
> as others have pointed out, obvious maintenance problems, not to mention the issue that
> plagues some international institutions, namely the fact that translations are necessarily
> non-canonical and so those who really care about the details of the rules usually have to refer
> to a version in a particular language (sometimes that language might be French rather than
> English; very occasionally there are two versions declared, for political reasons, to both be
> canonical, which is obviously risky as there’s a chance they might differ subtly on some point,
> perhaps even because of punctuation).

Sometimes it occurred in the EU that the French version was so sloppy it transformed the issue 
to entirely another one, but at the Unicode‐ISO/IEC merger the bad will was clearly on the other 
side —

> In terms of widespread understanding of the standard, which is where I think translation is
> perhaps more important, I’m not sure translating the actual standard itself is really the way
> forward. It’d be better to ensure that there are reliable translations of books like
> Unicode Demystified or Unicode Explained - or, quite possibly, other books aimed more at
> the general public rather than the software community per se.

Good point. What we need most of all is a complete terminology, as well as full ranges of 
character names in every language, to enable people to talk about it after reading in English. 

Best regards,


More information about the Unicode mailing list