Message translations and argument reordering

From: Swedish GNU/LI List (
Date: 1996-10-28 15:09:38

     List:     Swedish GNU/LI List
     Sender:   Göran Uddeborg <>
     Subject:  Message translations and argument reordering
     Date:     Mon, 28 Oct 1996 15:09:38 +0100 (MET)

During the translation of tar, one member of our list suggested to replace

	msgid "Read error at byte %ld, reading %d bytes, in file %s"


	"Läsfel vid byte %ld i filen %s, när %d byte lästes."

Note that the order of number of bytes and the file name has been
reversed.  Doing it this way is not possible; the semantics of printf
is to take the arguments in order and translate according to the
conversion specifications.

But this is probably not the only case it would be natural to
reorder the printf arguments.  And a Posix compliant printf could
output the desired message with the format string

	"Läsfel vid byte %1$ld i filen %3$s, när %2$d byte lästes."

So my question is: what is the position of the GNU translation
community on using these features of printf?  I assume it would reduce
portability to assume them.  But the quality of the translation could
be improved, in some cases considerably.  And Posix is getting quite
commonly supported in recent versions of most systems I know about.

Do we need some extension of the configuration mechanism for this?

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