Programming In Non-English Languages - BabylScript
English dominates programming languages today; projects such as BabylScript are efforts to try and make programming more accessible to non-English speakers. We speak to Ming-Yee Iu, the creator of BabylScript.
InfoQ: What inspired you to work on something like this?
InfoQ: How does the translation engine work?
InfoQ: What would the development setup look like?
InfoQ: How complete is the implementation, in terms of functionality available in non-English languages?
InfoQ: You mention dates and numbers are not yet implemented in non-English variants - in fact numbers get converted to their English counterparts even when you use the non-English numbers! Could you elaborate more on the challenges faced here?
InfoQ: Do you expect significant programs to be written in Babylscript, or is the target more of entry-level programmers who may not be familiar with English (such as non-professional programmers trying a few programming tasks)?
Ming-Yee: Well, Babylscript is currently more of a proof-of-concept that demonstrates how a multilingual programming language might work and to encourage language designers to put such features into their own programming languages. I think multilingual programming languages like Babylscript would be great in educational settings or as macro languages for non-programmers. In reality though, English so completely dominates the programming landscape currently that I don't think it's really viable for professional programmers to write large programs in non-English programming languages.
InfoQ: How has the feedback been from the non-English community so far?
Ming-Yee: I haven't promoted Babylscript much, but the feedback I have received so far has been split. Some people are deeply intrigued by the idea while others feel that it would be better if everyone simply learns English.
Todd Montgomery Dec 19, 2014