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For some languages, babel would automatically interpret the inverted commas and convert it to the proper form of the selected language. For example, with Hungarian, when one begins a quotation and writes ``, babel would automatically convert it to ,, (which is the proper opening of a quotation in Hungarian). However, when I set the language option to British, babel won't do the same kind of conversion (AFAIK British typesetting uses single inverted commas for quotations, so I would expect babel to convert automatically the `` to ` when starting a quotation). Is there a reason why this automatic conversion doesn't work? Or is there a package option that would enable this conversion?

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  • csquotes may come close to what you want, by giving you commands that are, amongst other things, language-sensitive, but I don't think they'll trigger on the customary double-backtick. – Ulrich Schwarz Jul 6 '13 at 17:45
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The way that babel pulls off this 'trick' in Hungarian is by making ` an 'active' character, which converts the input into the appropriate macro. In principal one could do this in UK English, but it's not quite as clear-cut (the use of single versus double quote marks is a common but not universal difference between US and UK typography). Moreover, a more robust and clearer approach is offered by csquotes, which avoids the use of active characters (which can be tricky to handle correctly) and makes the fact that a quote is exactly that much clearer

\enquote{text} % Language-sensitive appearance

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