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Re: Language tag education and negotiation

From: Asmus Freytag <asmusf@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2008 20:40:45 -0700
Message-ID: <4813F5BD.4080903@ix.netcom.com>
To: Andrew Cunningham <andrewc@vicnet.net.au>
CC: www-international@w3.org

On 4/25/2008 11:45 PM, Andrew Cunningham wrote:
> basically no one size fits all, there needs ot be flexibility.
As long as we are discussing deficiencies of the language preference 
mechanism as currently implemented, here's another one:

For people who are bi- or tri- lingual (in the case of mutually 
un-intelligible languages) there's another situation that can crop up, 
which is entirely not handled by the current scheme.

What one wants to be able to do sometimes is to get not this or that 
language as a static preference, but the language in which the material 
was written in originally. That is, if a Spanish site offers an English 
translation, a bilingual person might well prefer the original (as it is 
less likely to suffer from translation errors and such nonsense), while 
conversely for a UK Site, the same person might well prefer the English 
version, even if the site offers a Spanish translation.

It's of course not the case that content is routinely tagged by its 
status as original/derivative or original/translation. A rough 
approximation could be achieved by using the domain name. I.e. serve 
English pages by preference, but for .it, serve Italian pages by 
preference. Something like that. Or, alternatively, some UI gizmo that 
sits in a corner somewhere and points out if language negotiated 
material is available in another primary language, so that a single 
button would switch (and some history mechanism to record choices).

I would casually estimate that the size of the user population, 
world-wide, for which this kind of solution could be of interest is 
larger than the population of Norway and Sweden combined. ;-)

I think Leif's issue is quite real, and my point here is that its part 
of a broader design problem of how to serve users the most useful 
contents when they aren't in the typical situation of one primary 
language and one or more quite secondary languages, but where their 
command of  different languages doesn't neatly fall into this model, 
including where the languages are only weakly differentiated (Leif's case).

So, if you are starting a campaign to educated every one, if might make 
sense to address more than one facet of the shortcomings of the current 

Received on Sunday, 27 April 2008 03:41:27 UTC

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