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Re: Texinfo translation error, texinfo_document domain

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: Texinfo translation error, texinfo_document domain
Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2022 00:47:22 +0100

Hi Patrice,

Patrice Dumas wrote:
> > My complaint was only about the (apparent / confused) need to use TeXinfo
> > syntax *for non-ASCII characters*.
> It should only be required for non-ASCII characters if the encoding of the
> po file is us-ascii, for example in pt_BR.us-ascii.po the @-commands for
> accents need to be used.
> In other cases, I think that it is best to leave it to the translators.
> They can use @-commands if they wish, and not use them if they don't
> want to, both for accented letters and, more generally, for styling.
> This is explainined in
> https://www.gnu.org/software/texinfo/manual/texinfo/html_node/Internationalization-of-Document-Strings.html
> (though upon reading it I realized that it is a bit out of date...).

In this documentation page
some importance is given to the @documentencoding.

The @documentencoding is documented in
The way I read this page, it recommends to use '@documentencoding US-ASCII'
when possible.

When I combine this with what you wrote above, the recommendation is
  - to use the US-ASCII encoding for the texinfo_document domain PO files,
  - to use the @-commands for the non-ASCII characters in these PO files.

This is what would have been expected in the year 2000. But meanwhile UTF-8
support is wide-spread in so many tools, editors, and viewers.

And in texinfo/doc/short-sample-{ja,zh}.texi you have examples with Japanese
and Chinese text and fonts, both happily using UTF-8 for input.

This leaves me confused.

Can we remove the obstacles that (apparently) discourage Japanese, Chinese,
Hindi translators from producing PO files for the texinfo_document domain?
Gavin observed that many translation teams are not very active. True. But if
you give them enough years of time, and if the usual tools & procedures are
supported, they will some day do the translations.

talks about the 'coding:' marker in Info files. Is it a problem to have an info 
with 'coding: UTF-8' nowadays? If users are in an old-style ISO-8859-1 locale, 
the 'info' program will hopefully convert the contents to ISO-8859-1 on-the-fly 
display (like it surely does in the opposite case, when viewing an info file 
'coding: ISO-8859-1' in an UTF-8 locale)?

also says "in Info and plain text output ... accent constructs and special 
... are output as the actual 8-bit or UTF-8 character in the given encoding 
where possible."
Is this a problem? Nowadays, UTF-8 is the standard encoding for text files. It's
ISO-8859-1 encoded files which sometimes display in a weird way.

3) "For maximum portability of Texinfo documents across the many different user
environments in the world, we recommend sticking to 7-bit ASCII in the input"
Is this recommendation still relevant (in view of the Japanese and Chinese 

Why is the @documentencoding relevant here? Why can't TeXinfo just recode things
as needed?
I guess that if @documentencoding were made to be irrelevant here, then above
you would not need to say
  "for example in pt_BR.us-ascii.po the @-commands for accents need to be used."
since there would be only one pt_BR.po, and translations would pick UTF-8 for 
encoding, like they do for so many other translation domains.


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