I had a hard time figuring how to disable svn localization features, so this post is just here in the hope that it can help the next person who encounters this problem. Its very simple, actually. Subversion obeys traditional Unix internationalization environment variables even when running on other operating systems, so one can just set the LC_ALL env variable to "C" (without the quotations marks) and the console tools will work just as installed on an english language system.
Why did I want to do this? One reason is that the locale handling is broken by default on Windows, but its not hard to fix this (just set the APR_ICONV_PATH environment variable to the \iconv directory on your svn installation). I did it because some build scripts found in the wild work by parsing svn output and localization obviously screws them up.