[mb-i18n] Internationalization for lists
alex.dupuy at mac.com
Sun Apr 19 11:38:42 UTC 2009
Oliver Charles asked:
> Something that came up on IRC but needed more discussion is how to
> handle lists of items, in a human readable form. In English, one would
> write, for example:
> Foo & Bar
> Foo, Bar & Baz
> With any more than 3 items, we join them together with commas except the
> last item. Saddly, I only speak English, so I don't know how this
> construct looks in other languages.
> It does crop up in a few places in the templates (displaying
> relationships, and other short lists) - so it would be nice to have a
> solution to display lists in this manner, taking i18n.
Nobody has mentioned the East Asian languages, I don't have any special
experience with these, but Wikipedia provides some relevant information
Enumeration comma ( ? )
The enumeration comma, known as the "pause mark" in Chinese
(simplified Chinese: ??; traditional Chinese: ??; pinyin: dùnhào;
literally "pause mark"), must be used instead of the regular comma when
separating words constituting a list. Chinese language does not observe
the English custom of serial comma (extra comma before "and" or "or" in
a list), although the issue is of little in Chinese at any rate, as the
English "A, B, and C" is more likely to be rendered in Chinese as "A? B
? C", without using a conjunction such as ? or ?.
Japanese apparently follows this style as well, whereas Korean uses more
Western punctuation forms.
Worth noting for all of these East Asian languages is that the fullspace
comma does not need space character between it and following list item.
So, you could probably do fine with just three i18n terms:
1) ' and '
2) ', '
3) ', and '
although in theory, if you wanted to support a localization that
required punctuation around each item (e.g. a Lisp-like syntax that uses
parentheses like ((a) (b) (c)) for lists of items), you could add two
more terms for start-of-list and end-of-list (which in English would be
empty strings, although end-of-list could be a period).
Sample localizations of these terms might look something like the
following table, showing space characters as ? for clarity (it might
well be worth making these a personal preference, since users in any
locale might well prefer different variants, for example "and" vs. "&"):
?&? ?and? ?y? ? ) (
,? ,? ,? ?
,?&? ,? ,? ? ) (
mailto:alex.dupuy at mac.com
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