I18N and Unicode [was Re: Cult-like behaviour]

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Mon Jul 16 12:45:10 EDT 2018

On Sun, 15 Jul 2018 17:28:15 -0700, Jim Lee wrote:

> Unicode is an attempt to solve at least one I18N issue

If you're going to insist on digging your heels in and using definitions 
which nobody else does, this discussion is going to go nowhere fast.

Unicode is (ideally) a universal character set; in practice it is an 
industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and 
handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. 

I18N is recognised as the abbreviation for internationalization and 


There is no overlap between the two: Unicode doesn't help with 
internationalization (except in the non-trivial but purely mechanical 
sense that it removes the need for metadata specifying the current code 
page), and internationalization doesn't require Unicode:

(1) Unicode provides no support for internationalization or localization. 
Just because I have the Unicode string "street" in my application, 
doesn't mean it magically transforms to "Straße" when used by German 

(2) Internationalization can occur even between groups of users who share 
a single character set, even ASCII. My application might display "Rubbish 
Bin" in the UK and Australia and "Trash Can" in the USA.

If you think that Unicode is about internationalization, you are 
labouring under serious misapprehensions about the nature of both Unicode 
and internationalization.

Steven D'Aprano
"Ever since I learned about confirmation bias, I've been seeing
it everywhere." -- Jon Ronson

More information about the Python-list mailing list