On 22.07.2004, at 23:19, Simon Budig wrote:

We use the gettext library to determine what language the text in our
user interface should be. In fact gettext does all the hard work for us.

Not quite but almost. :) The choice of language is expressed by setting environment variables. Those are picked up by the i18n environment which is hosted either by the libc or in a on some systems in freestanding library called libintl. What is called gettext is on one hand the library call which will do the translation[1] and on the other hand a set of userland tools[2] to extract strings from the sourcecode, convert human readable text into machine optimized binary form and do other manipulations on catalogs.

[1] iff the language is set, differs from the default English and
    a catalog in one of the choosen languages with a matching
    translation string is available
[2] also the name of one particular tool within the set


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