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Re: Poor State of the Man Pages

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From:
Ronald J Kimball
Date:
December 2, 2003 16:14
Subject:
Re: Poor State of the Man Pages
Message ID:
20031202162235.GA49158@penkwe.pair.com
On Tue, Dec 02, 2003 at 06:58:46PM +0530, Abhijit Menon-Sen wrote:
> At 2003-12-01 17:50:32 -0600, whatever@davidnicol.com 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.

The operation *was* termed translation in the first place.  In fact, tr(1)
is still termed translation: "tr -- translate characters".

Some time ago the perl docs were changed to describe tr/// as the
transliteration operator instead of the translation operator .  This was
not a consensus decision, by the way.


Personally, I think "translate" is the better choice.  In particular, true
transliteration would sometimes require a single character to be replaced
with a sequence of characters, which is not possible with tr///.
translation more accurately describes the one-to-one relationship possible
with tr///.


Ronald

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