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Re: Howto provide and link to foreign language translations?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2003 13:35:53 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200309201235.h8KCZrl09512@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> is it possible (and desirable) to use client-side javascript and HTTP 
> Accept-Language header to direct the user?

Javascript, no.  I think you should respond to Accept-Language headers,
but provide a means to change the language, especially on the English
page, as most people fail to localise their browsers from American English
(not just in other English speaking countries).  Unfortunately, this
means having a language neutral as well as an English version of a page,
the language neutral one negotiating and the English one locked to English.
The real problem here is that you want people to bookmark, and deep link
the neutral version, and I cannot think of a reliable way of making them
do that.

I would not do this for unedited machine translations.

> how great is the translation?

Babelfish never produces a good translation, even though Brent council 
reference it as a way of opting out of producing community language versions
of their pages.  It is not much better than using a pocket dictionary word
by word, with all the inappropriate isolated word translations that produces.
It can be useful for someone translating into their own language, provided
they have enough of an understanding of that language and the nature of
foreign langauges to work out which are the mistranslations.

It's also useful for producing a first cut translation into a foreign
language of which you have a basic understanding.  In that case, you need
to understand your own language well enough to be aware of words with
multiple meanings and of the use of idioms and other figures of speech.
You may have to choose source words that produce safe translations,
rather than read well.  When you have a first cut, you need to review
it by eye, translate backwards anything that you have doubts about,
and adjust the translation, or even the source.

It's not suitable for producing translations for people with no foreign
language skills at all.

> please could anyone with knowledge of French, German, Italian, 

Taking the French translation, I would want to double check the
translation of "link", but the first really glaring error is that
"where you are" has been translated literally, but the French actually
say the equivalent of "where you find yourself" - "ou vous se trouvez"
(I'm not completely sure that this, non-interogative, use of "ou" is
actually allowed).  The rest looks very much like franglais, but I'm
not fluent enough in French to be sure how bad it is.
Received on Saturday, 20 September 2003 08:35:56 UTC

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