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RE: Internationalization Core comments on XHTML2

From: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 18:18:39 -0000
To: "'Bjoern Hoehrmann'" <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>, <public-i18n-core@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20050322181839.6FE624F0A5@homer.w3.org>

Bjoern,

It is possible that some of the things you mention may occur, but it is also
possible that we will finally see much more attention given to proper
language identification, just as we see more useful alt text on images these
days.

We have a chicken and egg situation here. People don't bother to specify
language much because that information is not used much at the moment; but
that information is not used much at the moment because people don't bother
to declare it.  The net result is a significant loss. Do you have a
constructive alternative proposal to break this cycle?

We believe that requiring the attribute may provide a way forward.

Note also that the GEO WG charter proposes the development of authoring tool
guidelines which will aim to provide useful strategies for tools developers
to enable sensible support for language declarations.

I don't see the sense in just giving up on both alt text and language
declarations just because some people do it incorrectly. Rather I would
prefer to try to educate people to use it correctly.  But without some
requirement to use it at all, that will be much more difficult.

RI


============
Richard Ishida
W3C

contact info:
http://www.w3.org/People/Ishida/ 

W3C Internationalization:
http://www.w3.org/International/ 

Publication blog:
http://people.w3.org/rishida/blog/
 
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bjoern Hoehrmann [mailto:derhoermi@gmx.net] 
> Sent: 06 March 2005 00:05
> To: Richard Ishida
> Cc: www-html@w3.org; public-i18n-core@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Internationalization Core comments on XHTML2
> 
> * Richard Ishida wrote:
> >Please find the comments of the i18n Core WG on XHTML2 at 
> >http://www.w3.org/International/2004/10/xhtml2-i18n-review.html
> 
> Part of that is "We would like you to require the xml:lang 
> attribute on the <html> tag." I hope you can elaborate on 
> this point a bit. It is clear from the request that the 
> Working Group would like all XHTML 2.0 authors to properly 
> specify language information, but it is not clear to me how 
> it would help to require the xml:lang attribute. This seems 
> similar to e.g. the alt attribute on the img element in HTML
> 4.01 which is required, too. Many authors do not use it and 
> those who do, often do not use it properly. It is even common 
> that authoring tools insert some default value that is often 
> worse than omitting it.
> 
> It thus seems reasonable to expect that many XHTML 2.0 
> documents will be invalid due to a missing xml:lang attribute 
> or that the xml:lang attribute has an improper value, e.g. 
> because the authoring tool made some assumptions that did not 
> hold true (e.g., the english version of an authoring tool 
> running on an english version of the operating sys- tem might 
> assume that all documents are written in english and thus 
> declare xml:lang="en" unless the author specifies a different 
> value.) Or authors just copy and paste the incomprehensible 
> header required for XHTML 2.0 documents without changing the 
> xml:lang attribute. That in fact happens already for XHTML 1.0.
> 
> Since authors, authoring tool developers, etc. do not 
> currently give proper language identification much thought, 
> it seems the Working Group expects quite some change in the 
> XHTML community. I do not see how this might be warranted, 
> and it seems quite inconsistent with other aspects of XHTML 
> 2.0, for example, for images are no longer re- quired to 
> explicitly specify no alternate text (or alternate text.)
> 
> But I might be missing some research the Working Group has 
> done on this in which case I appreciate a pointer to the results.
> --
> Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · 
> http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: 
> +49(0)621/4309674 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
> 68309 Mannheim · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · 
> http://www.websitedev.de/ 
> 
Received on Tuesday, 22 March 2005 18:18:40 GMT

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