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James Aylett

You know this, but it’s worth pointing out that using the English version as the key to translation has a couple of problems. Firstly, it’s fairly verbose, but more importantly you can wind up with places where the same phrase should be used in English, but different phrases in another language. At that point, you have to start getting cute with the exact string you use, or fall back on tokens; it’s often easier to manage as tokens throughout (and solves the verbosity problem to an extent). Writing tools to manage the translations isn’t difficult (for one system I wrote a short python script to keep track of the hashes of the ‘primary’ translation from tokens to English — since all the developers wrote English — so you’d know when a translation was out of date or missing; it could pull out the new things to translate, and it wouldn’t be difficult to extent to bundle them off to a translate semi-automatically).

You’ll get collisions using English as the token when you run into homographs – English has a disturbing number of them. For instance, if you had a site of fun things to do with the family, you might want to label ‘Fair’, ‘Circus’ and ‘Tractor competition’. But you’d also want weather forecasts for the days they were on, and might want ‘Rain’, ‘Calm’ or ‘Fair’.