i18n in PHP is largely a mess today, to the point where Joel Spolsky singled it out last year with;
When I discovered that the popular web development tool PHP has almost complete ignorance of character encoding issues, blithely using 8 bits for characters, making it darn near impossible to develop good international web applications, I thought, enough is enough.
Note this response from Scott Reynen, looking at solutions implemented in PHP.
Anyway, looks like there’s a chance things may be about to get better. Check out this interesting message on Zend…
It looks very much like the developer in question, who uses the handle L0t3k, (and seems to be having trouble finding a permanent home on the web) was serious – work seems to be in progress at http://cvs.voltex.jp/php-i18n/. If anyone can help him out with some web space seems like the place to send mail is cshmoove hotmail dot com.
Current PHP supports i18n feature via mbstring. However, ZendEngine and many PHP functions do not support i18n feature natively. This project aims at provide i18n feature natively. The outcomes are supposed to be merged to PHP project later.
More CVS to be browsed here.
Would be interesting to here what status the php-i18n project is at, if any of the developers happen to see this.