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Re: Getting back to the Chinese example

From: Martin Bryan <mtbryan@sgml.u-net.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 06:45:43 +0000
To: avine@dakota-76.Eng.Sun.COM (Andrea Vine [CONTRACTOR]), www-international@w3.org
Cc: avine@dakota-76.Eng.Sun.COM
Message-Id: <96Oct29.064554+0000_gmt.40545-12932+944@mail.u-net.net>
At 11:51 28/10/96 -0800, Andrea Vine [CONTRACTOR] wrote:

>OK, so this is all well and good for this particular user, but it seems
like the debate here is focussed on the other folks trying to view this
document, yes??

We need to distinguish types of users: there is the author and his readers.
They have different requirements.

>And people here are trying to determine a way where an individual user can
define a particular style, give it the user's choice for a name, and have
the rest of the world be able to view it without having to reconfigure their
machines, yes?

An author can easily define a style based on a name he creates, because he
understands what that names mean. A reader cannot create a style for that
object until he knows what the name is telling him. What the hell is a
FOOBAR - something you eat, or a Veitnamese concept for document formatting?

>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.

A style belongs to an author, whose interpretation of it depends on both
his/her language and country. If I tell you to "get the lead out" I will be
acting rudely as you are an American: as an Englishman I can use this term
without any trouble!  

>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.

The only way to ensure that styles are understandable for people who have
other cultural backgrounds is to have a method of mapping between standard
style names. This will not provide a complete answer, as it postulates prior
knowledge of all possible styles, which is not on. However, for commonly
used classes this might be advantages. Then specific user communities could
develop domain specific classes. For example, I can envisage a set of
standardized classes to deal with the interchange of positional data used in
Geographic Information systems that could be designed in an internationally
agreed manner, or in one or more language dependent variants.

>Perhaps I am misunderstanding the point of this discussion?  I am merely am
implementer and a generalist...

Now there's a contradiction - someone who implements is putting a concrete
coating on a general concept!
Martin Bryan, The SGML Centre, Churchdown, Glos. GL3 2PU, UK 
Phone/Fax: +44 1452 714029   WWW home page: http://www.u-net.com/~sgml/
Received on Tuesday, 29 October 1996 01:48:53 UTC

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