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Re: Poor State of the Man Pages

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Abhijit Menon-Sen
December 2, 2003 05:29
Re: Poor State of the Man Pages
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At 2003-12-01 17:50:32 -0600, wrote:
> This operation was termed "translation" by some whimsical software
> engineer deep in the mists of long-ago, due to the functional
> similarity between the operation of tr(1) and the activity of
> translating language by looking up words in a bilinugal dictionary.

Er, did you mean to say transliterate instead of translate? If so, then
the rest of your message makes no sense, because there is no similarity
between the operation of tr(1) and looking up words in a dictionary. If
not, then your message still makes no sense, because the operation was
never termed translation in the first place.

I don't understand the argument anyway. My copy of the OED defines the
word transliterate as «To replace letters or characters of one language
by those of another used to represent the same sounds; to write (a word,
etc.) in the characters of another alphabet.»

That's precisely what tr(1) does: takes a string written in one language
(whose symbols are characters in some charset), and replaces the letters
with the language described by the arguments (which consists of the same
symbols, except that the ones in SEARCHLIST are replaced by the ones in

Or are people just forgetting that "language" is also a term stolen from
linguistics and given a specific meaning by computer science? :-)

-- ams

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