[Python-Dev] Divorcing str and unicode (no more implicitconversions).

Oren Tirosh orent at hishome.net
Fri Oct 28 12:20:38 CEST 2005

On 10/28/05, Neil Hodgson <nyamatongwe at gmail.com> wrote:
>    I used to work on software written by Japanese and English speakers
> at Fujitsu with most developers being Japanese. The rules were that
> comments could be in Japanese but identifiers were only allowed to
> contain ASCII characters. Most variable names were poorly chosen with
> s, p, q, fla (boolean=flag) and flafla being popular. When I asked
> some Japanese coders why they didn't use Japanese words expressed in
> ASCII (Romaji), their response was that it was a really weird idea.
>    This is anecdotal but it appears to me that transliterations are
> not commonly used apart from learning languages and some minimal help
> for foreigners such as including transliterated names on railway
> station name boards.

Israeli programmers generally use English identifiers but
transliterations are common for local business terminology: types of
financial instruments, tax and insurance terminology, employee benefit
plans etc. Yes, it looks weird, but it would be rather pointless to
try to translate them. Even native English speakers would find it
difficult to recognize the translations because they are used to using
them as loan words. Only transliteration (or possibly the use of
non-ASCII identifiers) would make sense in this situation and I do not
think it is unique to Israel.

BTW, I heard about a Cobol shop that had an explicit policy of using
only transliterated identifiers. This resulted in a much smaller
chance of hitting one of Cobol's numerous reserved words. Thankfully,
this is not an issue in Python...


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