[wikka-community] UI translations and declension of nouns

Krzysztof Trybowski trybowski
Sun Apr 13 10:50:36 GMT 2008

Hello all,
upon translating of en.inc.php I stumbled upon a problem of inability
to nicely translate strings due to different forms of nouns required
by my language (Polish, however this will probably be the case with
other less-common languages too). The way UI translation is currently
made is English-centric.

Some more information about the issue follows. Let's imagine we have a

"There exist XX pages", where XX is a number.

In English it's enough to have two strings to correctly display that:

"There exists one page" and "There exist %s pages". (I omit the "zero"
case, which is a little separate).

However it's not that easy in Polish, for we need *three* strigs

"Istnieje jedna strona" == "There exists one page" (just for 1)

"Istniej? %s strony" (2, 3, 4, and all numbers ending with those
                      digits except for 12, 13, 14)

"Istnieje %s stron" (5 -- infinitum, except for numbers ending
                     with 2, 3, 4, but including 12, 13, 14)

The second case uses plural nominative, and the third uses plural
genitive. This is also the case with other messages, like "XX pages
found" etc.

Currently I work it around using expressions like

"Number of existing pages: XX"
"Number of pages found: XX"

but these are not as user friendly.

My proposal is:
 -- Let's create a ticket on that, and get some feedback. Perhaps the
    case is similar in other languages too.
 -- Let's learn how different forms of nouns are used in different
    languages and try to make a common pattern.
 -- Let's implement it, so that translations are more user friendly.
    I imagine that there could be some automatic fallbacks for
    languages not requiring declension (so that if a 3rd string is not
    specified, 2nd is always used for plural).

Your opinions are welcome.

Regards, KT

Krzysztof Trybowski
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