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[Bug 12417] HTML5 is missing attribute for specifying translatability of content

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2011 11:27:15 +0000
To: public-i18n-core@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1QlJJb-0004PC-Tv@jessica.w3.org>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=12417

Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org> changed:

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--- Comment #8 from Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org> 2011-07-25 11:27:13 UTC ---
> This seems like a feature that would get only narrow use. Is it really worth
> adding to the language?

If Jirka is too modest to say it, let me say it for him.  He is raising this
issue on behalf of a number of key people involved in localisation technology
who have been wanting this for some time. As an additional note, I have been
running workshops for the past year looking for gaps in the standards for the
multilingual web and this is a topic that has consistently created significant
interest. The use of machine translation is increasing rapidly of late, and
making significant inroads into the localisation industry, and such a facility
is a no-brainer for industrial use of MT.  Google has long since seen the need
to implement this feature for their MT apparatus, as has Microsoft (and MS has
requested this feature in the past of HTML5 too). 

So I do not see this getting narrow use, and I definitely see it worth adding
to the language.

One reason for that is to standardise the approach.

Whereas Google and MS currently both use the class=notranslate approach, we
should feel fortunate that they decided to use an identical approach.  On the
other hand, there are other parts of this that are definitely not standardised. 

MS apparently also supports style="notranslate"; it certainly supports the
custom attribute translate="no".

Microsoft doesn't translate content within <code> elements, but there don't
seem to be instructions about how to override this if you do want (perhaps even
just certain parts of) your <code> element content to be translated.

It's also not made clear, btw, how to make subelements translatable inside an
element that has been set to notranslate -  which may sometimes be appropriate.

With Google, if you have an entire page that should not be translated, you can
add:

    <meta name="google" value="notranslate">

to the <head> of your page and they won't translate any of the content on that
page.

However they also support:

    <meta name="google" content="notranslate">

This shouldn't be Google specific, and a translate=no attribute on the html tag
would be far cleaner.

Microsoft doesn't seem to offer the same markup here, but on the other hand
using <meta name="microsoft" content="notranslateclasses myclass1 myclass2" />
anywhere on the page (or as part of a widget snippet) ensures that any of the
CSS classes listed following “notranslateclasses” should behave the same as
the “notranslate” class. 

This is a mess and HTML5 is just what is needed to standardise this.


Overloading language tags is not the solution. For example, a language tag can
indicate which text is to be spellchecked against a particular dictionary. 
This has nothing to do with whether that text is to be translated or not.  They
are different concepts.  In a document that has lang=en in the html header, if
you set lang=nottranslate lower down the page, that text will now not be
spellchecked, since the language is no longer english. (Nor for the matter will
styling work, voice browsers pronounce correctly, etc.)


Some links:

http://www.microsoft.com/Web/solutions/mstranslator.aspx

http://translate.google.com/support/

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Received on Monday, 25 July 2011 11:27:21 GMT

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