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Subject: [xliff-comment] Pluralization issue

(I am new to this list, so please direct me to prior discussion of this
matter if it has already taken place.)

The issue is handling pluralization for localization of text messages coming
from software.

I am concerned that XLIFF format seems to lack support for this
issue.(neither v1.0 nor 1.1 from what I've seen)

The issue comes up in translating text where the text comes from messages
generated by software. Often the number of items being discussed in the text
varies depending on the situation at the time the message must be issued.
Pluralization varies widely in human languages. Many languages have just
singular and plural, but some languages have 4 or more different
translations that must be used depending on how many items are being
discussed. The usual tricky example is Polish where the word "plik" (file)
is used this way depending on the quantity being discussed:

    1 plik
    2,3,4 pliki
    5-21 pliko'w
    22-24 pliki
    25-31 pliko'w

So, for a message like "confirm deletion of %d file(s)", you need to know
the quantity and choose among 4 translations for Polish.

The free software foundation (a.k.a. GNU) has a file format for their
gettext utility that allows the deferring of the quantity selection so that
the translator sees that a quantity is involved and can provide multiple
translations. It amounts to providing a table by quantity ranges so that you
can associate different translated texts with different quantities.

There is a rather excellent discussion of this problem at

It seems to me that XLIFF format, to be useful for localizing software,
should go after this problem and put in tags allowing it to subsume the
functionality of the FSF's non-XML ad-hoc format.


Mike Beckerle
Systems Architect, Technology Office
Ascential Software
Westborough, MA 01581
mailto: mike.beckerle@ascentialsoftware.com 

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