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RE: PDF documents in eEurope

From: Helle Bjarnø <hbj@visinfo.dk>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 14:00:46 +0100
Message-ID: <51657A7817A7D3119023009027DE00512903@VIISNY>
To: "W3c-Wai-Ig (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hello from Denmark
I think Charles rises a very important issue about the languages and the
localization/translation into "small" languages like Danish. Where for
instance JAWS is the only screenreader software that is translated and we
still await the version 3.31. This means that all software is delayed and we
can't always be sure that we get all the facilities as in the original
version, some times we have to wait for a new release to get everything
fixed and sometimes we can't use other applications because words have been
changed ( I remember once where some OCR software could not be used because
the word "files" had been translated into Danish "filer" so the two
applications didn't correspond). I'm a member of the EOWG and here we have
discussed this issue in order to make the work of WAI more internationally
relevant. I think we have to take the problems about different language
versions into the guidelines. For instance in Denmark we have few
applications to chose between when it comes to assistive technology and we
may not be able to use all the techniques mentioned in the guidelines (e.g.
tables). I think the suggestions about setting up a list where one can see
version no. and any other relevant information for software, applications,
OS etc. in different languages is very good or maybe we could add language
information to the lists with e.g. browsers and authoring tools.

Kind regards
Helle Bjarno
Visual Impairment Information Centre
mail: Rymarksvej 1, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark.
e-mail: hbj@visinfo.dk
phone: +45 39 40 31 00, fax: +45 30 61 94 14

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 1999 5:44 PM
To: Steven McCaffrey
Cc: eeurope@cec.eu.int; Rafael.Romero@uv.es; accesoweb@onelist.com;
Subject: Re: PDF documents in eEurope

It also depends what country you are in, or more particularly what languages
you understand - translating software to different languages happnes at
different rates, and can sometimes take a long time or never happen, so in
some languages people are much more restricted in available software than
english speakers. Even in dealing with an english-language document this can
be a problem - I use an english-language system (although I can sety my
browser, Amaya, to run in french, italian, german or partial czech
instead) but I often try to read documents in Spanish or French. If my
language was something else, I may be stuck.

Charles McCN

On Thu, 16 Dec 1999, Steven McCaffrey wrote:

  I applaud your eforts in raising the issue of accessibility to PDF and
actually writing a letter to the appropriate people.
  However, one of your statements is an incorrect generalization.      
  "...can not use standards graphical browsers, like blind people.
   this is true ins some cases but not all.
  I am totally blind and use a graphical browser, as do many blind people.
  Even though I can and do use a graphical browser(IE 4.01), PDF is not
generally accessible.
  The browser per se may  not be the issue, the fact that PDF is a graphical
format is the issue.  Perhaps this is what you meant?
  Without the appropriate software to "view" the PDF file, even a sighted
person cannot access it,, so the barriers PDF present fall under the broader
category of denying access to those without the appropriate software,
assistive or not.
  Even though there are freely available conversion services from Adobe, it
is my experience that the ywork well only when the PDF document is very
simple.   That is, documents without embedded pictures, charts, graphs, or
even footnotes, ( anything that might interrupt the linear flow of text).
  Steve McCaffrey
  Information Technology Services
  New York State Department of Education
  >>> Rafael Romero <Rafael.Romero@uv.es> 12/16/99 06:44AM >>>
  To the attention of eEurope site webmaster.
  Dear sir or madam,
  I would encourage you to facilitate all texts relating to this new
exciting initiative also in HTML format.
  Presently they can only be downloaded as PDF and this takes more than ten
times longer than the equivalent HTML files. Not only so. PDF files do not
allow to copy the text easily for citing in another documents and the users
need an especific plugin to render them in their computers.
  More importantly, this format is not accessible for people with
disabilities that can not use standards graphical browsers, like blind
people. This would be hence a good way to start implementing what is
intended as priority area 7, which is eParticipation of the disabled in the
information society.
  For more information about accessible web design you could visit the site
of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative at http://www.w3.org/WAI
  Yours sincerely,
                Rafael Romero.
           |        mailto:Rafael.Romero@uv.es         |
           |      Unidad de Investigación ACCESO       |
           |      Universitat de Valencia (Spain)      |
           |   C/ Artes Gráficas 13, 46010 Valencia    |
           | Tel: +34-963 864 135 Fax: +34-963 864 758 |
           |            http://acceso.uv.es/           |

Charles McCathieNevile    mailto:charles@w3.org    phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative                    http://www.w3.org/WAI
21 Mitchell Street, Footscray, VIC 3011,  Australia (I've moved!)
Received on Friday, 17 December 1999 08:03:41 UTC

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