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RE: Examples of language changes in websites

From: Yvette P. Hoitink <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 11:20:40 +0100
To: "'Jens Meiert'" <jens.meiert@erde3.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E1ARqbM-0007o8-FR@smtp3.home.nl>

Hello Jens and list,

Thanks for your comments about my article. Judging by your remarks, I
haven't explained well enough what was my goal with the article. A few weeks
ago, guideline 3.1 was discussed in the telecon. Specifically, we were
talking about the need to identify the language, including language changes,
since not doing so could lead to serious accessibility problems. Wendy and
other people mentioned they would like some real world examples of
situations where changes in language which were not identified could lead to
accessibility problems. 

That's what I tried to do in this article. I simply meant to describe
different examples of language switches, and briefly touch the accessibility
problems that result from those. I never meant to ban English words from
Dutch (I would be left with a decimated vocabulary myself). I totally agree
with you that that has nothing to do with WAI. I also didn't mean that
authors using a lot of English words should reword their websites. I just
meant to show the accessibility problems that can occur because of this,
which _is_ a WAI issue.

I tried to describe what happens in real life, so WCAG can come up with
guidelines to help the authors of that site make their page accessible,
English phrases and all. I did not mean that people had to rewrite their
pages or ban English words. Making a page such as the LogicaCMG one
accessible would require, in my opinion, that each English phrases is
identified as such. 

Also, these examples can be used to see how much effort a certain guideline
would mean for some pages. Identifying the languages of the LogicaCMG site
would require a lot more effort than the Shell example, for instance. 

I will go into some of the points you made in more detail. 

> > http://www.heritas.nl/wcag/language.html
> first of all, I'm not sure if 'Cadeaushoppen' is an English 
> term (CMIIW), sounds either Dutch or like a made-up word to 
> me. 

Yes, you're right. That's what I tried to explain below that list of English
"Another Dutch phenomenon can be seen here, the hybrid word "cadeaushoppen"
where a Dutch word is glued to an English word, apparently to make it sound
more dynamic. " 

FYI: The Dutch language has a powerful mechanism for creating new words,
just like other languages such as German do. You can simply glue together
two words and make a new one. "Giftshopping" would be the corresponding
English word if English had the same mechanism. Such words can be
constructed on-the-fly and because of this, many can not be found in
dictionaries. With a hybrid word such as 'cadeaushoppen', the correct
pronounciation would be French for 'cadeau' and English for 'shoppen'. Tag
that in your HTML :-)

> And maybe you started a biased analysis, 
> scrutinizing only international companies.

My task as I saw it was to come up with examples where language changes
would lead to accessibility problems. I agree with you that international
companies are more likely to use English words and phrases and that this is
not a representative sample of Dutch websites. But that was not my goal. 

> PS.
> Please excuse the provocative tenor in this post, but I claim 
> there are above all several constructive assertions.

No offense taken, I appreciate any comments about my article. Your post
helps me to realize I have not succeeded in describing well enough what the
purpose of the article was. I will wait for further comments and then
rewrite parts of it.

Yvette Hoitink
CEO Heritas, Enschede, The Netherlands
E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
Received on Thursday, 4 December 2003 05:20:56 UTC

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