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Re: For review: 1 new and 3 updated articles about language declarations in HTML

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2011 23:10:34 +0200
To: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>, www International <www-international@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20110902231034558497.342ad78b@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Leif Halvard Silli, Fri, 2 Sep 2011 22:08:15 +0200:

Some further clarifications:

>>> [ Review comment 5: ] #metadata section
>>> I miss a perspective here: A document might be intended for an audience
>>> which actually do not consider themselves to use the language of the
>>> article. [ snip ]
>> I'm not sure i understand your point, but we're talking about 
>> metadata here, so if you know that your audience is targeted at 
>> specific language communities you can list them all in the HTTP 
>> header.  (The lang attribute has no relevance here, of course.)
> You make a good point, of course: if it is targeted at both an audience 
> of Bokmål and the Nynorsk users only,

Clearer: "I meant 'targeted at an audience consisting of Bokmål and 
Nynorsk users - only,"

> then the solution would be to say 
> Content-Language:nn,nb.  However, my reaction was triggered by the 
> section's first sentence:
> ]] Metadata that describes _the_language_ of the intended audience is 
> about the document as a whole.  [[
> May I suggest that - instead of 'the language', you say 'the languages' 
> or eventuially 'the languages - or language' ? Like so:
> """ Metadata that describes the languages - or language, of the 
> intended audience is about the document as a whole. """
> Perhaps even 'audiences' should be plural? Or perhaps the audience is 
> always singular: One audience, which  can be enlarged or shrinked 
> through a) omitting Content-Language completel versus b) adding one or 
> more language tags to Content-Language.

My reaction was also colored by the further discussion in that section: 

You talk about the German page with some Chinese inside, that 
nevertheless should be tagged Content-Language:de. OK. Understandable. 
(But debatable: what if it also targets German speaking users from the 
German minority of Russia? What if the page is not translated so that 
anyone accessing it should actually get it, regardless of their 
langauge? But - OK.) 

But then you switch to the Canadian example of French/English: you 
point out that the page *contains* two languages, and you use *this* - 
the two languages of the page -  as your justificaiton for using 

What if people from Quebec visit a English only Web page of their 
central Government - should they then be told "sorry, we don't have 
anything for you". Or should that page be tagged with 
Content-Language:en,fr then - too? Or should it perhaps not be tagged 
at all - like I discussed below ? (Since no COntent-Language: means 
that it is targeted for all.)

Most countries of this world do not have a monolingual "audience". A 
consequence of this is that perhaps most pages on the world-wide Web, 
are not meant for users that are native speakers - or whatever - of the 
language used in a particular Web page. Rather, the typical thing is 
that the audience is broader than the language of the article.

Further more: the section claims that most web pages are not 
multilingual since, on the Web, it is so cheap to rather publish a 
separate page in that particular language that is needed compared to 
making it multilingual. OK. That might be. But your further implication 
is that because most pages on the web are monolinguagal, it is not 
necessary to tag these monolingual pages with more than a single 
Content-Language: tag.

That you imply this, is bad because most pages are not translated/do 
not exist in parallel language versions - see above.. 

> And btw: What if the page is aimed at the entire world - or just the 
> entire country, regardless of user's language? As far as I remember, 
> there are one or more tags which indicate 'any language'. However, I 
> think it is more compatible to leave out Content-Language in such 
> situations. Could you add a note about that too - that there are 
> occations when it is better to not use Content-Language?
> PS: An example you perhaps would like to consider somewhere in the 
> article: http://www.icab.de contains both English and German text - you 
> will see this if you disable JavaScript in your browser.
Leif H Silli
Received on Friday, 2 September 2011 21:11:04 UTC

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