gender voice variants

Broome, Karen Karen.Broome at
Thu Dec 20 02:31:57 CET 2012


When you're not working with an OS and just small audience-targeted strings, the gender matters. You're talking about differences between OSes in terms of whether they use formal case or not, not the very real need to distinguish an individual app string intended for a male from one provided to a female in the same application context. I can't make a use case for your creating formal and informal versions of an OS, but I can make a very common case for needing two strings that are identical except for target gender.

Making work for localizers in the interests of using language properly and not offending whichever gender I shortchange? Sure. The use cases for this are application-level. I'd rather employ a localizer than be asked to answer a list of survey questions as if I were a man when in the Czech Republic. When creating an app, adding the ability to address a woman as a woman and a man as a man in languages that distinguish this is likely worth the localization dollars. 

Without this, you force people to make kludge-y ("developer/developerette") or sexist choices (present male voice to all female app users) every day. 



-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 5:17 PM
To: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion
Subject: Re: gender voice variants

On 19 Dec 2012, at 19:47, "Broome, Karen" <Karen.Broome at> wrote:

> 私は (watashi wa) versus 僕は (boku wa) in Japanese....
> All of these things potentially come up in localized web forms and web services that use the tagging -- especially for marketing and sales, and yes, these tags are used for such impure things.

Yes, and the Mac OS in Danish says "du" to you and not "De", and the Mac OS in German says "Sie" to you and not "du". What is it you want? To multiply localizers' work by four by offering choices to the end user as to whether the computer is a boy or a girl or whether the computer knows whether you are?

Michael Everson *

Ietf-languages mailing list
Ietf-languages at

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list