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Re: internationalisation?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 23:25:28 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200304242225.h3OMPS004488@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

* fear than many people who can only read Greek wouldn't have Greek fonts
* installed!). They couldn't even have used a standard langtag for the URI,

Lack of fonts is a reasonable assumption for the audience, although I suspect
this page is provided more for political correctness than because it
will get many hits.

Ex-patriate communities in the UK don't seem to install proper native
language support, even when they can - on home machines - and often
go for solutions that have been obsoleted by better browsers in their
ancestral countries.  On the other hand, I suspect that those who
do need to use their own language as the primary medium, and actually
have access to the web, will have some form of proper support for
fonts, although possibly on the basis of ignoring the page content
character set and forcing an assumed character set.  I suspect most
people with insufficient English will not be web users.

They are also unlikely to have set the language negotiation options on 
their browser, or even be aware of them.  This is probably true,
even if they are in the minority that actually use that language as
their primary browsing language.

Some of the languages, e.g. Bengali, are just not supported at all
by web fonts - the BBC World service pages have proper Hindi, but use
romanised Bengali, and even the Hindi requires a special third party font
for most users.

Note that the choice of languages is based on the languages of 
immigrant communities, so the page is not intended for visiting
businessmen or even students.

In this case, JPEG is totally the wrong format, as they can only get
a small image size at the expense of a lot of artefacts, when a bi-level
GIF should have been much more accurate and almost certainly smaller.
It's unfortunately impossible to completely undo this sort of corruption
to get a true size for the GIF.

As far as I can tell (I'm more familiar with simplified Chinese characters
than the traditional option presented here, and I've forgotten a lot of
the little Hindi I once learned), but it looks like one ends up with a cop
out page telling people to phone in and outlining the scope of the phone
service, so the equivalent service is not a web service.

Even though content negotiation would probably not have worked in a UK
context, it wouldn't surprise me if the web site designers were unaware
of the feature.

[ one line paragraph fixed ]

> This is not an i18n solution.

The basic strategy is probably the best minimal approach in a UK
domestic context, although possibly only for political correctness.
The implementation is poor, but the whole TfL site is heavily into
scripting etc., rather than basics - the best version of their Journey
planner is actually the PDA one, because it can't use scripting, images,
etc., so has to use standard form controls.
Received on Thursday, 24 April 2003 18:25:36 GMT

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