General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

Does everyone have to write software based on English?

Asked by LostInParadise (28384points) June 8th, 2012

I have never seen a computer language with commands based on anything other than English. Do Chinese programmers in Java or C have to use English words like “string,” “integer,” “for and ” if”, or are the words translated for them? Are they required to name things using our alphabet? Can they at least insert comments based on Chinese characters?

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7 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I hate to “pull-up” a Wiki answer but knock yourself out. Programing in non-English

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks. I wonder how hard it would be to make a language multilingual, with the user having the option of choosing which language to use. The number of commands is fairly limited, so I don’t think that compiling would be much of a problem if there are no errors. The biggest nuisance might be translating all of the possible error messages.

gorillapaws's avatar

Translating the language is the easy part. Translating the millions of existing API calls, framework calls, and libraries out there would be an insane amount of work.

jerv's avatar

Look at it this way; most of the places that have a need for computer programmers are places where English is either predominant or a fairly ubiquitous second language.

However, there are languages like Brainfuck that are not based on English… or sanity.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, for the same reason relevant scientific discoveries are published in English. You need to keep the whole software life cycle in mind. One never knows who will read a program five years later and potentially change it. In the 90ies many companies still made the mistake to allow programmers write comments in their native language, or worse create identifiers in their native language, like private static void Zinsberechnung(int[] Ueberziehungskreditkonditionen) which created all sorts of problems later on. Now what is this function supposed to be doing? You tell me.

LostInParadise's avatar

Matt, Although a bit unwieldy, I am assuming those are proper German words. Is English so prevalent that it should be used as a common language?

mattbrowne's avatar

@LostInParadise – Yes, they are. They’re about calculating interest rates. In the IT world, like in science, English is prevalent. Many students participate in open source programming projects and almost all of them consist of international teams. When they graduate and join companies, they find IT departments tied to international software vendors and offshore developers.

When biologists communicate on a global level they use Latin, not English, to uniquely identify species. It’s an agreement. But when you talk to your neighbor, you won’t say: my canis lupus just peed in my living room. Likewise when two German programmers talk about their programs they would still use terms like Zinsberechnung and Ueberziehungskreditkonditionen.

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