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Re: German translation of R5RS

From: Mark H Weaver
Subject: Re: German translation of R5RS
Date: Tue, 29 May 2018 12:08:19 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.3 (gnu/linux)

Hi Florian,

"pelzflorian (Florian Pelz)" <address@hidden> writes:
> Please accept my patches adding a German language info file for R5RS
> and fixing some small errors in English R5RS.  I believe the patches
> to be reasonably correct.

I very much appreciate this enormous amount of work that you've done!

My primary concern is that I lack the ability to review this, because I
have not (yet?) learned to read German.

A large technical specification like this is quite hard to produce
without introducing many mistakes.  Even when everyone in a standards
committee is focused on the same draft document, errors are frequently

Errors in technical specifications can have quite bad consequences over
long time frames, because they lead to misunderstandings in the minds of
developers, and thus bugs in code, which may persist for a long time.

At present, most users who wish to read the R5RS have no choice but to
read the original document written in English.  On the one hand, this is
obviously a barrier and hardship for people who do not know English
well, but on the other hand, at least they can be assured that the
document they are reading has been widely reviewed by a large number of
people over several decades.

If we now invite them to read a German translation which has not been
reviewed at all (except for the translator), I fear the resulting
misunderstandings and buggy code that this might entail.

So, I would feel much more comfortable if someone else with good
knowledge of Scheme would step forward to carefully review this
translation.  It need not be someone from the Guile community, which
brings me to the next issue:

Although we distribute a copy of R5RS with Guile, we do not maintain
R5RS, and it is not specific to us.  To me, this situation seems
somewhat analogous to submitting a large contribution for the Sqlite3
library to the Firefox developers.  Firefox distributes a bundled copy
of Sqlite3, but they do not maintain that library.

However, I admit that this case is far more muddled, because R5RS is an
historical document, and there's no longer any group that maintains it
as far as I know.

Are there any German speakers here with good knowledge of Scheme who
would be willing to make a careful review this translation?


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