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.