W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-international@w3.org > January to March 2013

Re: Language negotiation a failure?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 12:00:23 +0100
To: Asmus Freytag <asmusf@ix.netcom.com>
Cc: John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, Gunnar Bittersmann <gunnar@bittersmann.de>, www-international@w3.org
Message-id: <20130110120023714596.c7d75326@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Asmus Freytag, Thu, 10 Jan 2013 02:13:34 -0800:
> On 1/9/2013 4:19 AM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

>> Google offers content-negotiation between Nynorsk and Bokmål - at least
>> for www.google.no. This might be a result of my requests for that back
>> in time. Thus, if you delete cookies, you will get the page in Nynorsk,
>> if you browser prefers it.
>> 
>> It is indeed true (as Henri says) that the Nynorsk version offers fewer
>> features than the Bokmål version. But there is a link to the Bokmål
>> version at www.google.no, so that is simple to "fix".
>> 
>> When it comes to Firefox, which is what Henri works on, then it comes
>> in localized builds, unlike e.g. Safari, which contains all the
>> localizations in the same build. Thus, for Firefox, there is *nothing*
>> to configure since the Nynorsk version of Firefox comes with preference
>> for Nynorsk preconfigured. SO in my view, Firefox has a very good story
>> in this regard.
>> 
>> I have no doubt that Henri is serious and probably wants to do away
>> with content language negotiation. My own perspective is that we should
>> move in the opposite direction.
>
> I find all this stuff about localized versions confusing. I'm happy 
> with US English (which happens to have the correct "localization" for 
> my purposes) but there are a few languages for which that leads me to 
> translated content when I strongly prefer "native" content in those 
> languages.

Could you exemplify the negative side effect you experience?

> At the same time, any content that is translated "into" those 
> languages (usually from an English source) is utterly of no interest 
> to me.

Then you are a) an expert on that subject, even to the degree that you 
can discern what the original source is ...

> Language negotiation, even where it works, does not even begin to 
> address that issue.

It could, if "original source" was included in the language tag (hasn't 
that now become possible - via some extension?), and in the browser’s 
language pref settings.

> And, it is riddled with side effects. Just because I am fluent in 
> some other language doesn't mean that I would like to be shuffled off 
> to the localized pages (and local subsite) of some global website by 
> default. I might want to occasionally visit such pages, but only when 
> I'm interested in some service (like media in that language) that I 
> can't access from the US site.

I tried to guess if it was Swedish of German that was your mother 
tongue - or whatever. ;-) But, sorry: have you tried to a) define what 
your preferred language is, and b) live with that preference to see how 
browsers behave - for a while? I.e. do you describe a real world 
problem? Take for instance Google.no, which I mentioned (and Google.com 
should work the same): The language negotiation effect can be 
overridden via cookies. So if you prefer the US English version of 
Google, you get that version, even if your browser prefers German, as 
long as you have made that choice in the Google settings/cookies.

> Location based defaults work equally poorly, because I'm more likely 
> to want to conduct business via my "home base" than locally, 
> especially when traveling. That's why I think the expectation of 
> being able to get automatic configuration to work for any 
> multilingual or multi-location users is a pipe dream - and sites that 
> don't supply easy overrides of their automatic choices are a pain to 
> use.

It is not clear to me what consequences you draw from this - you are 
opposed to language negotiation?

In principle, language negotiation could help you operate in your "home 
base" language. E.g. I can go to the US and still get Google in Nynorsk.

I believe language negotiation is *very* useful for providing defaults.
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:00:50 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Thursday, 10 January 2013 11:00:51 GMT