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Re: Getting back to the Chinese example

From: Andrea Vine [CONTRACTOR] <avine@dakota-76.Eng.Sun.COM>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 12:38:15 -0800
Message-Id: <199610282038.MAA00911@gongolo.eng.sun.com>
To: mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch
Cc: www-international@w3.org, avine@dakota-76.Eng.Sun.COM

> From mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch Mon Oct 28 12:21:36 1996
> Subject: Re: Getting back to the Chinese example
> (Andrea - Could you (or your email program) adhere to the convention
> to restrict lines to 80 characters (around 70 is even better). Thanks.)

Blame OpenWindows mailtool.  I'll try to hit return after every 70
chars or so.
> >In this case, I think discussion of the translation of FOOBAR
> >(in this example) from English to Chinese is irrelevant.  A style
> >belongs to a user, not a language nor a country.
> It's not irrelevant, but it is a different problem.

Note that I said IN THIS CASE.  In this case, English-Chinese literal 
translation (if there even is such a thing, but that's another debate)
is irrelevant.

> One can immagine a Chinese style designer designing a style
> for Chinese constitutions, which might differ in structure and
> presentation for English ones. On the other hand, one can
> immagine that somebody in China wants to make an English
> style for constitutions available to Chinese users, and
> wants them to use Chinese CLASS names for the classes
> in the English style for convenience.

OK, this is where I'm confused, imagination notwithstanding.  
What is a Chinese style?  What is an
English style?  Are there really equivalents?  What difference does it
make what locale/language any style is used in - a style is a style.
Perhaps I want English to be written right to left in columnar format
for a particular document.  One could say that would be "Chinese-style"
but that is a question of semantics, not actual standards.

The names (I prefer *labels* for clarity) for styles are a problem for
interpretation.  That seems to be one point of discussion.  How to make
the styles available for others to use is another.

> >On the other hand, are we trying to develop standard STYLES for
> >each locale/language?  And it would be these standard styles whose
> >names would have translations in every language?  I think this is
> >asking for more trouble than it's worth.  Better for each HTML
> >editor to provide a library of styles.
> Exactly. Maybe the problem of equivalents could be solved by some
> kind of CLASS equivalence definition? I.e. somebody that wanted
> to make available an English style to Chinese users would just
> define some equivalences/replacements? I don't know whether
> this is possible in SGML, or what SGML mechanism would be most
> appropriate, but in C preprocessor syntaxt, it could look
> like this:
> File constitution.zh.style:
> #define preamble Chinese-equivalent-of-preamble
> #define amendment Chinese-equivalent-of-amendment
> #include constitution.en.style
> This is just to show you the idea, of course it would not
> work when written exactly like this.

See, this is where I have some trouble.  I think trying to come up with
language-oriented, or even locale-oriented style equivalents would be an
exercise in futility and frustration.

Just working out the name/label interpretation of
user-defined styles is a monumental task, apparently. 

Andrea Vine
Software internationalization and localization consultant
Received on Monday, 28 October 1996 15:31:33 UTC

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