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RE: Question around WCAG 1.0

From: Jukka Korpela <jukka.korpela@tieke.fi>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 13:21:48 +0200
Message-ID: <621574AE86FAD3118D1D0000E22138A95BDF61@TIEKE1>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Stephen Garcia wrote:

> Once in the news section I choose to view an article that hasn't 
> been translated into Spanish yet, thus see an English article 
> in a Spanish page. Does this English article need to be 
> tagged with the "lang" attribute to specify it as English?

I'm not sure I understand the situation correctly (a URL would help). But if
an English article appears as part of an HTML document that is otherwise in
English, it should surely have markup with lang="es".

In addition to that, it might be useful to tell, in Spanish prose, that some
text in English follows, perhaps with a link for skipping over it. It would
be a warning to a person who listens to the page, and informative to anyone
who might not recognize the language. English texts are widely recognized as
being in English, but not universally. With other languages, it could be
very important to tell the language. (If the user knows the text is in, say,
Portuguese, he might, if he doesn't know Portuguese, try an automatic
translation service, or consult a friend who knows the language.
On Opera, for example, you can paint some words, right click, and
select automatic translation, but you need to select it by destination
language. Too bad the browser doesn't use the lang attribute yet.)

> In allowing editors to enter content through the CMS they can 
> enter words that don't conform to the base language (such as 
> "monsieur" or "bleu" in an English page). Is guideline 4 in 
> the WCAG 1.0 meant to deal with these types of situations? 

In principle, _any_ changes in language should be indicated in markup. In
practice, it's probably not very important at present to use language markup
for individual words.

> Does the use of non-base language words and sentences go 
> against the standard of making the language clear and simple?

More or less. Depends on the words used. For example, "monsieur" is probably
more commonly known among non-francophones than "bleu".

> To my knowledge there isn't any software on the market that 
> can interpret deviations in natural language.

IBM Home Page Reader ( http://www-3.ibm.com/able/hpr.html )
recognizes lang attributes and uses them rather well, though
it supports a relatively small number of languages.

Besides, for a browser with sufficient CSS2 support, the user
could write a simple style sheet that presents elements
differently depending on their lang attributes. 

-- 
Jukka Korpela, senior adviser 
TIEKE Finnish Information Society Development Centre
http://www.tieke.fi/
Diffuse Business Guide to Web Accessibility and Design for All:
http://www.diffuse.org/accessibility.html
Received on Thursday, 21 November 2002 06:22:23 GMT

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