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bug #52971: document the approach w.r.t. date/time format strings

Submitted by:  Bruno Haible <haible>
Submitted on:  Thu 25 Jan 2018 07:50:36 AM UTC  
Category: CSeverity: 3 - Normal
Item Group: NoneStatus: None
Privacy: PublicAssigned to: None
Open/Closed: Open

Thu 25 Jan 2018 07:50:36 AM UTC, original submission:

Date/time format strings (argument to strftime) need to be localized by translators. Explain the general approach and the specific handling of %B vs. %OB, %b vs. %ob.

Rafal Luzynski writes:
"I strongly believe that the format strings should be left for the translators and the programmer's choice of a format string should be correct for English but this is seldom correct for other languages. This is not because of the genitive/nominative month names but for the reasons like:

- English often uses the month-day order, most of other languages use the day-month order;
- many languages require a dot after the day number;
- English requires a comma after the day number if it is followed by a year number;
- some languages (e.g., East Asian) do not have month names and use the month numbers instead;
- and many more...


The reasons above are sufficient to tell that the translators must have dealt with it since forever. If you are asking whether the rules where to use %OB and where %B are universal (so the translators will not have to decide) or not (different in different languages) I must say that I strongly doubt about how these rules work in Czech, Serbian, and Slovak language. But let's take a look at these numbers (they may be inaccurate, take them as an approximation):

- there are about 200 languages supported by glibc;
- about 20 of them (10%) need the nominative/genitive distinction, in the rest of the languages there is no difference between %OB and %B;
- about 3 of those 20 (1.5% of the total number) the rules of %OB/%B may be different."

Bruno Haible <haible>
Project Administrator


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