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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:  C Severity:  3 - Normal
Item Group:  None Status:  None
Privacy:  Public Assigned 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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