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Re: Foreign Names

  • From: THOMAS PASSIN <tpassin@i...>
  • To: <xml-dev@x...>
  • Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 20:20:49 -0400

writing names in chinese
David Megginson wrote:

> It's relatively simple to rename elements, but extraordinarily
> complicated to translate from one vocab to another in the general
> case.  When you're looking at a large network of users and producers
> rather than a unidirectional information-supply chain, even a simple
> renaming introduces too much complexity -- imagine the browser market
> if each natural language had its own, localized HTML vocabulary.
To add one more wrinkle to this thread, what if someone wanted to use
Unicode characters that map to Chinese or Japanese (say) characters.
Theoretically, one could write a script or stylesheet to transform them to
English or French, say.  But in practice, most westerners are not going to
be able to recognize the characters so they can start writing the scripts.
Obfuscated code for free!  It takes a lot of exposure to Chinese characters
(or hieroglyphics, for that matter) before one (non-Chinese or Japanese
person) can start to recognize them, let alone make some sense out of them.
A determined person could get the characters translated to numbers, of
course.  But now it's really painful and it's even harder to recognize
anything by eye.

I venture to say (and Rick Jelliffe could shed more light on this) that it's
much easier for many Chinese persons to deal with latin words and names than
for westerners to deal with words and names in Chinese characters (because
of education and exposure to the writing sytems). I know this is true in
Japan from personal experience.

This doesn't give any answer to the original question, but it does suggest
that the problem could be more acute than the thread postings have been

Tom Passin

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