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Fwd: I-D ACTION:draft-palme-e-mail-translation-03.txt

From: Jacob Palme <jpalme@dsv.su.se>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 11:20:59 +0100
Message-Id: <p0510036db865af72fd01@[]>
To: discuss@apps.ietf.org
Cc: langtrans@salut.nu
Last year, I made a study of how present mailers handled
the combination of "Content-Type: multipart/alternative"
with different "Content-Language" on each part.

My conclusion was that this combination cannot in practice
be used, since the recipient will be shown either only the
first part, or only the last part, with both major mailer,
irrespecitive of which language version the recipient
actually preferred or was able to read.

I then suggested to use "Content-Type: multipart/alternative"
only when the parts differ in their Content-Type, and
instead to use a new "Content-Type: multipart/choices" when
the parts differ in other ways. I also suggested that
"Content-Type: multipart/choices" should have the
'differences' parameter, as proposed in RFC 1766,
mandatory, to avoid the same problem repeating itself in
the future if new kinds of differences are used.

In discussion of this in this mailing list mainly between
February and June 2001, several people objected to the
introduction of a new variant "Content-Type: choices" when
the standards already had "Content-Type: alternative".

Because of this, I have been thinking about alternatives to
a new Content-Type, and which would still work acceptably
with the installed base of mailers.

Just saying that "Multipart/Alternative" should be used
combined with "Content-Language" is *not* a viable
solution, because it works so very badly with the installed
base of mailers.

Because of this, I have submitted a new version of
draft-palme-e-mail-translation-03.txt which proposes a new
solution to this problem.

My new idea is to use "Multipart/alternative" but to have
the following set of alternative content parts:

(1)           Plain text, all language versions concatenated within
               the text of one body part.

(2) .. (n-1) The different language versions, one part
              for each language.

(n)          HTML, all language versions concatenated within the
              text of the body part, adding a "table of contents" at the
              top with a list of the languages and internal links to the
              part of the HTML with each language.

I am sure people will not like this solution either. But
those who do not like either of my solutions, should then
propose a third solution which works also with the
installed base of mailers. Proposing to use
"Multipart/alternative" combined with one body part for
each language will *never* work. No mailer will want to
send a message in a format which will be misunderstood
disastrously by most of the installed base of mailers.

My new solutions has two disadvantages: It is not neat, and
the text is copied three times. It has, however, a major
advantage: It will work acceptably well with the installed
base, and it will work best, of course, with mailers
supporting the new standard.

That the text is repeated three times is not a major
problem since users will only see one of the parts,
and bandwith is not expensive. That the solution is
not neat is not a major advantage, it is a long
tradition in IETF to prefer solutions which works to
solutions which are neat. No one has said that encoding
binary or 8-bit text as 7-bit text in MIME is neat.
But it was chosen in order to work acceptably with
the installed base of MTAs and MUAs.

>To: IETF-Announce: ;
>From: Internet-Drafts@ietf.org
>Reply-to: Internet-Drafts@ietf.org
>Subject: I-D ACTION:draft-palme-e-mail-translation-03.txt
>Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 16:05:40 -0500
>Sender: scoya@cnri.reston.va.us
>A New Internet-Draft is available from the on-line 
>Internet-Drafts directories.
>	Title		: Support for Language Translation 
>in E-Mail and Netnews
>	Author(s)	: J. Palme
>	Filename	: draft-palme-e-mail-translation-03.txt
>	Pages		: 7
>	Date		: 08-Jan-02
>This memo specifies extensions to e-mail and netnews
>standards, to allow for the submission of translations of
>messages, not only at initial submission time, but also at
>later time, and made by other translators than the original
>author of the message. Three new e-mail/netnews header
>fields are proposed, 'Content-Translation-Of', 'Content-
>Translator' and 'Translation-Request'.
>A URL for this Internet-Draft is:
>To remove yourself from the IETF Announcement list, send a message to
>ietf-announce-request with the word unsubscribe in the body of the message.
>Internet-Drafts are also available by anonymous FTP. Login with the username
>"anonymous" and a password of your e-mail address. After logging in,
>type "cd internet-drafts" and then
>	"get draft-palme-e-mail-translation-03.txt".
>A list of Internet-Drafts directories can be found in
>or ftp://ftp.ietf.org/ietf/1shadow-sites.txt
>Internet-Drafts can also be obtained by e-mail.
>Send a message to:
>	mailserv@ietf.org.
>In the body type:
>	"FILE /internet-drafts/draft-palme-e-mail-translation-03.txt".
>NOTE:	The mail server at ietf.org can return the document in
>	MIME-encoded form by using the "mpack" utility.  To use this
>	feature, insert the command "ENCODING mime" before the "FILE"
>	command.  To decode the response(s), you will need "munpack" or
>	a MIME-compliant mail reader.  Different MIME-compliant mail readers
>	exhibit different behavior, especially when dealing with
>	"multipart" MIME messages (i.e. documents which have been split
>	up into multiple messages), so check your local documentation on
>	how to manipulate these messages.
>Below is the data which will enable a MIME compliant mail reader
>implementation to automatically retrieve the ASCII version of the
>[The following attachment must be fetched by mail. 
>Command-click the URL below and send the resulting message 
>to get the attachment.]
>[The following attachment must be fetched by ftp. 
>Command-click the URL below to ask your ftp client to 
>fetch it.]

Jacob Palme <jpalme@dsv.su.se> (Stockholm University and KTH)
for more info see URL: http://www.dsv.su.se/jpalme/
Received on Saturday, 12 January 2002 07:22:23 UTC

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