Distinguishing Greek and Greek

Mark Crispin MRC at CAC.Washington.EDU
Thu Mar 17 07:39:44 CET 2005

On Wed, 16 Mar 2005, Sean M. Burke wrote:
> (Your point is particularly timely as I have just been dealing with someone 
> who thinks that to localize a system to X languages, you have to localize all 
> the system's messages including the language-name choices, so that there is 
> an X**2 increase.  Because, of course, if you are localizing to Hopi and 
> Malay, you MUST have the Malay word for Hopi, and the Hopi word for Malay.)

Gack.  I've encountered that attitude too.

But I see where it came from.  Very often, English-based systems that 
offer a language switch option do so with all the language names in 
English, so it is not surprising that the obvious conclusion is that this 
mistake should be replicated.

Windows replicates this mistake.  My laptop has the Japanese localized 
version of Windows XP, and the language switch menu offers the following 
choices for the languages I have loaded:
 	CH	<chuu><goku><go> (<tai><wan>)
 	KO	<kan><koku><go>
 	JP	<ni><hon><go>
 	CH	<chuu><goku><go> (<chuu><goku>)
 	EN	<ei><go> (<bei><koku>)
 	DE	DO I TSU <go> (DO I TSU)

The items in the second column are all in Japanese script (Han characters 
or katakana).

My Japanese-made digital camera, however, does the right thing; it 
displays each of the languages it offers in that language's language and 
script.  Hooray for Unicode.

-- Mark --

Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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