From: Andrew Dalke (
Date: Tue Mar 04 2008 - 14:44:16 CST

> On Tue, 4 Mar 2008, Alba Colet Subirachs wrote:
> ACS> I'm an university student and I'm working in 3D viewing of VMD
> as a
> ACS> teacher assistant. Also, I'm doing a research to translate the
> ACS> package from english to spanish or catalan, and I'm interested to

On Mar 4, 2008, at 6:57 PM, Axel Kohlmeyer wrote:
> please note, that the following is my very personal opinion
> and that this does not necessarily reflect the view of the
> VMD developers and support people in the Schulten group.

> VMD does not use any native language support tools,
> hence a translation would be a herculean task.

To bring in some history, I was the primary developer on VMD in the
mid-1990s. My, that was a while ago. I added prototype support for
one GUI window in Turkish, with help from Attila Gürsoy, who was
working on NAMD.

As Axel pointed out, it would have been hard to handle
internationalization correctly. The GUI library we used had fixed
sizes for the fields, so if one language used a very large word for
something where English uses a small word then the long word would
get truncated.

More modern libraries handle this better, but it requires careful
planning to make it work correctly. I might have done that but
Attila advised me that effectively everyone who was doing something
where VMD would be useful would know English well enough to be able
to use it.

As far as I can tell, that was the right solution. Over the last 14
years of VMD development, there has been very little call for this
feature. Though there could be, say, a big Spanish demand that I
don't know about because the demand is expressed in Spanish.

There are other things to worry about with i18n. Who does the
translations? Who maintains them? Terms like "copy" and "edit"
should be consistent with other software and getting those right is
also hard. There's problems with word order, and plurals, and
declension, and for the general case problems about the direction of

The Ubuntu/KDE/Gnome people have done a good job on making this
simpler, but simpler != easy.

> finally, if people write scripts (and e-mails) in 7-bit ASCII
> and english, a much larger number of people can help in case
> of problems.

As someone who lives in Göteborg, Sweden, I would like to spell the
city's name correctly (though the English name is Gothenburg.)

I would also like to talk about things being 10Å apart.

The naïve débutante from Doña Ana County, New Mexico won £5,000
eating jalapeño crêpes.
Mötley Crüe drank Jägermeister, Piña Coladas, and Gewürztraminer on
the Champs-Élysées.