[XeTeX] "new-babel", was: Ancient Greek hyphenation

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Tue Apr 24 00:42:43 CEST 2007

Le 23 avr. 07 à 19:31, Will Robertson a écrit :

> On 4/23/07, Bruno Voisin <bvoisin at mac.com> wrote:
>> Personally I would see, by decreasing order of importance (which I
>> think would correspond to the user's view of what's important):
>> (1) Translation of LaTeX's strings ("section", "chapter", "table of
>> contents", "list of figures", that sort of things).
>> (2) Selection of hyphenation pattern, of directionality (left-to-
>> right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top).
> I'm surprised that you think that someone writing in French wouldn't
> care that their hyphenation is all messed up. On the other hand, if
> French isn't the main document language then the strings don't need to
> be translated. So I would definitely put these the other way around.

 From the people I interacted with professionally, and generally from  
the people I've spoken with, the first things that strikes the reader  
when reading a French document prepared with default LaTeX is the  
English strings everywhere, such as:

"December 31, 2003" instead of "31 décembre 2003" (from \today)
"part" for "partie"
"chapter" for "chapitre"
"table of contents" for "table des matières" or "sommaire"

In particular, if you're a student handing a thesis in French with  
these English words here and there, you're only bound to give a so-so  
impression to the person evaluating the report (who might think  
you're not meticulous enough at best, or not competent at worst).

On the other hand, many people I know don't really care about  
hyphenation, or even aren't aware there are rules dictating where  
hyphenation should take place; when using English hyphenation  
patterns with French text, they don't even notice something's wrong.  
When you've grown with word processors, you tend to think hyphenation  
occurs within a word at whichever place a line ends, not at specific  
places within a word. I know, that sounds silly, but given the  
attitude more and more people have, to consider that spelling is  
optional and that you're a bore if you make remarks about it, I'm not  
really surprised by the above attitude about hyphenation.

In any case, for all these reasons I tend to think the translation of  
LaTeX strings is in practice more important than hyphenation.


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