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Re: Q&A: Initial considerations for international web sites

From: Najib Tounsi <tounsi@emi.ac.ma>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 11:59:10 +0000
Message-Id: <a05111b01bb14a568b0cb@[]>
To: Martin Duerst <duerst@w3.org>, "Arko, Phil" <phil.arko@scr.siemens.com>, "'public-i18n-geo@w3.org'" <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>

At 18:13 -0400 16/06/03, Martin Duerst wrote:
>I think this is a very good start.
>But I think first we have to think about what "international web site"
>means. It could be:
>- Site in one language, but for an international audience
>- Multilingual site (and there are various ways a site can be
>   multilingual)
>- Site in a language other than English (?)
>- A 'secondary' site in that its content is translated/adapted from
>   another one

Hi Martin,

I think that Offices sites fall into (are close to) these two last 
cases. More over,  those sites which use other alphabets,  have non 
English-like languages  and parts of their content is 
translated/adapted from W3C site.

The last case may then be
- A site (why secondary) where contents might be translated/adapted 
from another one.

Regards Najib

>- One of multiple sites with coordinated content in different languages
>The issues and considerations, and the answers, are different
>for different cases.
>Regards,    Martin.
>At 19:47 03/06/11 -0400, Arko, Phil wrote:
>>Below is the revised Q&A
>>I have taken out references to codes and markup languages in the main
>>sections of this Q&A. Because this is meant to act somewhat like an
>>introduction to our area, I felt that it was important to include some
>>mention of these in order to provide the reader with suggested next steps
>>(those being to learn a little more about each of the standards mentioned).
>>I discussed them briefly under "Further information."
>>Questions & Answers:  Initial considerations for international web sites
>>What are some topics to consider when creating websites for an international
>>People from around the world can view your content on websites. Because much
>>of what we find on the web is written with a specific demographic in mind,
>>it is often the case that people outside of that demographic misunderstand
>>what has actually been intended. The formatting and presentation of text has
>>very specific regional and cultural requirements that need to be addressed
>>if the content is to be properly understood.
>>A typical challenge is to ensure that characters display correctly for the
>>end user. Web pages can easily accommodate English, Germanic, and Romance
>>languages, but what happens when an occasional foreign word or name is used?
>>In the past, a quick solution was to use an inline graphic to display the
>>character. Another method was to copy and paste the desired character from
>>another program into the web page. While the result might look correct for
>>one user, there is no guarantee that every user will see the same text.
>>There are many variables that might need to be considered, such as the font,
>>operating system, browser software, etc. These concerns are becoming
>>increasingly important as users move toward mobile and other non-standard
>>browsing devices.
>>As many languages read from right to left, the ability to include such
>>content becomes an even greater challenge. In addition to identifying the
>>proper characters, there also needs to be a method of properly handling this
>>Some cultures use a comma as a thousands separator and a period as a decimal
>>point, while other cultures use the period and comma, respectively. For
>>example, 1,547 in Germany and 1.547 in the United States are actually the
>>same number. While the only difference in this example is a single
>>character, the difference in meaning is significant.
>>The presentation of dates and times are a very typical example of something
>>that causes confusion for the user. When using two digits each to represent
>>year, month, and day, the actual date might not be obvious. A few examples
>>from different cultures include DD/MM/YY, MM/DD/YY, and YY/MM/DD. A single
>>date in the format "xx/xx/xx" could be interpreted as three different dates.
>>There are many other concerns that should be addressed as well when creating
>>an international-friendly site. This is only a sampling of some of these.
>>By the way...
>>In its simplest definition, "internationalization" refers to creating a site
>>framework that allows for content to be presented in a way that is
>>consistent with regional styles and cultural customs. "Localization" refers
>>to the actual implementation of each specific region's content into the
>>international framework. Internationalization is commonly referred to as
>>"i18n" because there are 18 characters between the beginning "i" and
>>concluding "n." Similarly, localization is commonly referred to as "l10n."
>>When starting to create an internationalized site, one must first give
>>consideration to the various locales that need to be considered. This will
>>help to define the requirements for the international framework. It is
>>highly recommended to work with native speaking people who are very familiar
>>with the regions and cultures that are part of your user demographic.
>>Most importantly, the end user must understand that a page has been
>>localized. It is a good practice to indicate or imply that the content has
>>been formatted for their local formats. This avoids questions and possible
>>Further information
>>This Q&A provides only a few introductory points on this topic. There are
>>many books devoted to the topics of internationalization and localization.
>>Becoming familiar with the styles and customs of other regions and properly
>>implementing these elements into a web site will ensure that content is
>>available to -- and truly understandable by -- a larger audience.
>>Some of the standards typically used to create internationalized web sites
>>include the following:
>>- XML [ www.w3.org/XML ] is the preferred markup language for defining
>>content. In addition to identifying the actual content, it can also include
>>attributes that further define aspects of the content (such as language,
>>grammar style, and current format of the content). Other web languages (such
>>as XHTML) use these attributes to deliver the localized page appropriate for
>>the current user.
>>- XHTML [ www.w3.org/MarkUp ] is the successor to HTML, and is a markup
>>language used to define web pages and  to properly format and display XML
>>content within them.
>>- Unicode [ www.unicode.org ] is a numbered collection of the characters of
>>all of the languages in the world. Using this standard ensures that the
>>correct character will be displayed, regardless of the browser or system.
>>Properly utilizing these standards in a web site can ensure that the
>>concerns mentioned above are properly handled.

Najib TOUNSI (mailto:tounsi@w3.org)
W3C Office in Morocco (http://www.w3c.org.ma)
Ecole Mohammadia d'Ingenieurs, BP 765 Agdal-RABAT Maroc (Morocco)
Phone: +212 (0) 37 68 71 74  Fax : +212 (0) 37 77 88 53
Mobile: +212 (0) 61 22 00 30
Received on Tuesday, 17 June 2003 08:21:26 UTC

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