W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2008

Re: Translation control in HTML5

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 14:25:55 +0100
Message-ID: <4895B1E3.1040406@cam.ac.uk>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>, Chris Wendt <Chris.Wendt@microsoft.com>

Ian Hickson wrote:
> (With my editor hat off, and my Google hat on:)
> On Thu, 31 Jul 2008, Chris Wilson wrote:
>> Problem: The translation services translate all elements, including the 
>> ones that need to be left untranslated. The document author has no 
>> option to control the behavior of the translation service.
>> We believe that the web needs control over translatability at an element 
>> level as well.  Therefore we suggest enable author to mark 
>> untranslatable elements as such. Automated translation services can then 
>> respect the tagging, either deciding not to translate the entire page 
>> (e.g. if this were set on <body>) or on individual elements.
> This is something that would be very useful for Google, too.

I'm curious to know if these automatic translation services have tried the 
obvious candidate elements for non-translation already suggested in this thread 
(<code>, <address>, <kbd>, <var>, maybe <samp>, and anything with an (xml:)lang 
attribute not matching the user-selected language to translate from)?

It seems like not translating these elements would meet 80% of the use cases 
without any additions to HTML; the most obvious category of words that do not 
require translation and are also not covered by the above list are proper nouns. 
taking this approach would give authors the right behavior for free, simply by 
virtue of using the appropriate markup. This seems more likely to provide end 
users with consistent results than a solution that requires additional bolt-on 
markup specifically aimed at autotranslation services; something that few 
authors are likely to bother with.

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Received on Sunday, 3 August 2008 13:26:33 UTC

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