char * gettext (const char * msgid);
char * dgettext (const char * domainname, const char * msgid);
char * dcgettext (const char * domainname, const char * msgid,
The gettext, dgettext and dcgettext functions attempt to translate a
text string into the user's native language, by looking up the transla-
tion in a message catalog.
The msgid argument identifies the message to be translated. By conven-
tion, it is the English version of the message, with non-ASCII charac-
ters replaced by ASCII approximations. This choice allows the transla-
tors to work with message catalogs, called PO files, that contain both
the English and the translated versions of each message, and can be
installed using the msgfmt utility.
A message domain is a set of translatable msgid messages. Usually,
every software package has its own message domain. The domain name is
used to determine the message catalog where the translation is looked
up; it must be a non-empty string. For the gettext function, it is
specified through a preceding textdomain call. For the dgettext and
dcgettext functions, it is passed as the domainname argument; if this
argument is NULL, the domain name specified through a preceding textdo-
main call is used instead.
Translation lookup operates in the context of the current locale. For
the gettext and dgettext functions, the LC_MESSAGES locale facet is
used. It is determined by a preceding call to the setlocale function.
setlocale(LC_ALL,"") initializes the LC_MESSAGES locale based on the
first nonempty value of the three environment variables LC_ALL, LC_MES-
SAGES, LANG; see setlocale(3). For the dcgettext function, the locale
facet is determined by the category argument, which should be one of
the LC_xxx constants defined in the <locale.h> header, excluding
LC_ALL. In both cases, the functions also use the LC_CTYPE locale facet
in order to convert the translated message from the translator's code-
set to the current locale's codeset, unless overridden by a prior call
to the bind_textdomain_codeset function.
The message catalog used by the functions is at the pathname
dirname/locale/category/domainname.mo. Here dirname is the directory
specified through bindtextdomain. Its default is system and configura-
tion dependent; typically it is prefix/share/locale, where prefix is
the installation prefix of the package. locale is the name of the cur-
rent locale facet; the GNU implementation also tries generalizations,
such as the language name without the territory name. category is
LC_MESSAGES for the gettext and dgettext functions, or the argument
passed to the dcgettext function.
If the LANGUAGE environment variable is set to a nonempty value, and
statically allocated and must not be modified or freed. Otherwise msgid
errno is not modified.
The return type ought to be const char *, but is char * to avoid warn-
ings in C code predating ANSI C.
When an empty string is used for msgid, the functions may return a
ngettext(3), dngettext(3), dcngettext(3), setlocale(3), textdomain(3),
bindtextdomain(3), bind_textdomain_codeset(3), msgfmt(1)
GNU gettext 0.18.1 May 2001 GETTEXT(3)
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