Re: "Near Miss" error handling? (VBDis)
18 Apr 2001 02:26:54 -0400

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From: (VBDis)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 18 Apr 2001 02:26:54 -0400
Organization: AOL Bertelsmann Online GmbH & Co. KG
References: 01-04-104
Keywords: practice, i18n
Posted-Date: 18 Apr 2001 02:26:54 EDT (Henry Spencer) schreibt:
>My understanding is that the French are the single substantial
>exception to the original comment.

Not necessarily. In my first computer lessons, 30 years ago, I was
told to use native language words all around, just to prevent any
accidental interference with the English keywords of most programming

But nowadays I design and write my (private) programs in English,
too. Simply because I'm too lazy to eventually translate them into
other languages later. The documentation is English, too, since I've
seen what a translation program created from my German documentation,
and a translation of that text back into German :-(

BTW, translation of programming languages was attempted several times,
but hopefully Microsoft was the last one, who tried to do so, and
failed. Also in my first computer lessons I had learned, that
programming languages CAN NOT be translated into native languages,
because they are /artificial/ and not /natural/ languages. Any
translation requires a meta language, which allows to describe both
the source and target language, and their relationship. Such a meta
language doesn't exist for the class of programming languages, and
dictionaries are no appropriate replacement for such a meta language.

Have you ever seen an (language independent) compiler switch,
indicating which set of keywords to use, for all or part of a source

Can you imagine what happens, if that switch (e.g. #pragma language =
German) must be written as "#Verhalten Sprache = Englisch" to switch
back to English?

Now at least you should understand, why a unique meta language is
required to describe, in which places in the syntax a translation is
allowed, and where not. Otherwise any attempt of a translation will
produce errors, when symbols are translated in places, where they do
not really denote keywords of the language.

And also /every/ preprocessor must know, how to correctly handle the
source code. Not to forget the linker, which eventually also must know
how to translate the names of the standard library functions, and how
to link together modules from different languages...

Natural English speakers have a huge handicap in understanding the
problems of translation, since they are not forced to learn other
natural languages, in contrast to speakers of other languages. Please,
never ever try to translate a message into another language, using a
dictionary or translation program. Otherwise I'll send you back the
re-translation into English, with "menstruation" for "dot" and similar
astonishing constructs.

Some more self-study exercises (German from English):
"in der Mode der Schnörkelfesselung"
"völlig Schirmschriftleiter"

If you are interested in the meaning of these well known computer
terms, I can present the solution in my next message. You have these
things in front of you, when reading this text. Have fun ;-)


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