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Localization without translation? (was: Re: Business Case for i18n?)

From: Martin Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 18:43:17 +0900
Message-Id: <>
To: Andrea Vine <avine@eng.sun.com>, www-international@w3.org
Hello Andrea,

At 11:43 01/06/13 -0700, Andrea Vine wrote:
>Along that line, I'm wondering what folks are doing about their English
>products.  I'm trying to convince folks that even though the product is in
>English, it should not be designed only for the USA.  That is, locale-related
>formats should be dynamically selected, or user selectable, rather than in a
>localizable resource file.  So for example someone using the English 
>product in,
>say, Germany won't see their dates in MM/DD/YY format.

Thanks for bringing up this point. It's something that I have
tried to think about for quite a while, but I still wonder
what's the right thing to do.

If I see a MM/DD/YY date format in an English text, I may get
confused (given my Swiss-German origin).

But if I saw DD. MM. YY (the German format) in an English text,
I would definitely also get confused. And even more somebody
in a locale that has DD/MM/YY. And in addition, confusion
would increase if different applications or documents use
different conventions.

And this is only for the short date formats. For the longer
format versions, the confusion is somewhat reduced because
they make it more explicit what is day, what is month, and
what is year. But localizing then gives you German (or
whatever) text in the middle of an English document,
which also doesn't look that good.

Is it possible to have some general guidelines? What are the
factors that affect a good solution?

Regards,   Martin.
Received on Thursday, 14 June 2001 06:02:01 UTC

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