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Re: <code translate=no>

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jukka.k.korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 21:53:05 +0300
Message-ID: <507C5B91.6000208@kolumbus.fi>
To: public-html-comments@w3.org
2012-10-15 21:23, Andreas Prilop wrote:
> http://translate.google.com never translates  <code>...</code> .
> It is therefore not necessary to write  <code translate=no>
> or  <code class=notranslate> . I think this is a good idea.

On practical grounds, it might be seen as a good idea. Computer code is 
generally meant to be language-invariant, and it is better to avoid 
translating source program code, markup, commands, or other <code> content.

Still, on logical grounds, computer code as such is not 
non-translatable. I'm thinking of comments mainly, of course.

> Could  <code translate=no>  be made the default in HTML5
> for the  code  element?
I have no strong opinion on this. Pragmatically, it might be a good 
idea, though perhaps Google and friends will keep doing whatever they 
are doing, anyway. Logically, it would be odd. The "translate" attribute 
as such is questionable. An attribute name that is an English verb 
suggests that it is a command, or at least suggestion. But attributes 
are supposed to be declarative.

Appropriate markup would say that the content of the element is to be 
treated as not being in any human language, for the purposes of 
translation, spelling checks, text concordance analysis, etc., but may 
still be treated as being in one or more human languages in speech 
synthesis. If such markup were available, <code> elements could have it 
set by default, provided that there is a way to switch it off for 
comments (and maybe for string literals).

But there's a completely different meaning for translate=no, as 
exemplified by the following code at 

   <p>The Bee Game is a text adventure game in English.</p>
   <p>When the game launches, the first thing you should do is type
   <kbd*translate=no*>eat honey</kbd>. The game will respond with:</p>
   <pre><samp*translate=no*>Yum yum! That was some good honey!</samp></pre>

Perhaps a better example would be the statement "The plural of 'ox' in English is 'oxen'",
where it would of course be absurd to translate "ox" and "oxen". This is very different
from the <code> case: here the language of the content is certainly a human language,
well identified and mentioned in the context. The content could surely be translated; it
just should normally not be translated. Though this might really seem to call for command-like
markup, the logical structure is that the words "ox" and "oxen" should be taken as
linguistic objects rather than normal words. They could well be translated in a rendering
mode where a document is displayed in its original language but translations to another
language are displayed e.g. on mouseover, as explanations. The same applies to the example
above: normally not translated, but surely translatable, much more than computer language
keywords and variable names are.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 15 October 2012 18:53:29 UTC

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