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Re: identifying language changes

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 18:54:33 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

At 17:29 17/07/2008, Armand Turpel wrote:
>Interesting! It is difficult to handle the lang attribute for some 
>one like me who live in a multicultural environment, where a mix of 
>languages is omnipresent. I even set the lang attribute for single words. (...)

I have always been very strict with regard to marking up language 
changes, but I have also seen websites by persons or organizations 
who promote accessibility where languages changes are not marked up.

>No idea how screen readers handle this.

Screen readers that support the languages used in a document (and 
that support language switching within a document) can switch to a 
speech synthesizer appropriate for a span of text when the language 
is correctly marked up. However, this switch causes a slight pause, 
and users find this annoying.

>But my question is; should text writers, who are attentive to web 
>standards, care on how accessible technologies (jaws version 
>5,6,7,9,...) handle texts?

As far as I know, users of text-to-speech software and braille 
conversion software have always been presented as the main 
beneficiaries of correct language markup, so yes, authors should care 
about how these types of software handle language changes.

>Is it not the job of such technologies to make it readable for its 
>users in a proper way?

My understanding is that this is what they try to do.

Best regards,



Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
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Received on Thursday, 17 July 2008 16:55:19 UTC

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