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I18N-ISSUE-217: Missing support for localizable items that are not translatable [ITS-20]

From: Internationalization Working Group Issue Tracker <sysbot+tracker@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:35:13 +0000
Message-Id: <E1TvzvN-0001kd-FX@tibor.w3.org>
To: public-multilingualweb-lt-comments@w3.org,www-international@w3.org
I18N-ISSUE-217: Missing support for localizable items that are not translatable [ITS-20]

http://www.w3.org/International/track/issues/217

Raised by: Norbert Lindenberg
On product: ITS-20

ITS 2.0 is missing support for marking up items that are localizable but not translatable. Translatable items can easily be identified with the "translate" attribute; there's no equivalent attribute "localize".


For a simple use case, look at example 2 in section 1.2.1:

<dialogue xml:lang="en-gb">
  <rsrc id="123">
    <component id="456" type="image">
      <data type="text">images/cancel.gif</data>
      <data type="coordinates">12,20,50,14</data>
    </component>
    <component id="789" type="caption">
      <data type="text">Cancel</data>
      <data type="coordinates">12,34,50,14</data>
    </component>
    <component id="792" type="string">
      <data type="text">Number of files: </data>
    </component>
  </rsrc>
</dialogue>

The strings "Cancel" and "Number of files: " are translatable. Non-translatable items that may need localization are:

- The URL "images/cancel.gif", which may need to be replaced with a culturally appropriate icon for cancellation, or possibly even an image containing a translated string.

- The coordinates for that image, if the image expands or shrinks during localization, or expansion or shrinkage in surrounding content requires it to move.

- The coordinates for the string "Cancel", if the string expands or shrinks during translation, or a larger or smaller font is used for a localized user interface, or expansion or shrinkage in surrounding content requires the string to move, or the user interface is changed to a right-to-left layout during localization.


Another small use case is the string "NavajoWhite" in Example 1 of the same section 1.2.1: This string may need to be localized to a different CSS color specification describing a culturally appropriate background color for corporate policies in the target culture. This must not be confused with translation, as translating the string, e.g. to "blanco navajo", would lead to a CSS syntax error rather than a properly localized user interface.


For a much larger use case, look at the main root resource bundle of the Common Locale Data Repository, and consider how ITS could be used to prepare it for localization:
http://unicode.org/cldr/trac/browser/trunk/common/main/root.xml

Some items here are clearly translatable, such as the names of months or of the eras of the Japanese calendar. But most items are not: They are strings following a formal grammar, such as that for date format patterns. To localize them, one has to find various kinds of cultural information about the target locale, and encode it according to conventions specified in Unicode TR 35:
http://unicode.org/reports/tr35/

Non-translatable but localizable items have to be identified, but kept separate from translatable items, as they can't be handled in the normal translation process (typically they're assigned to localization engineers rather than translators).


[The Internationalization working group has discussed this issue briefly on 2013-01-16; but has not taken a formal position.]
Received on Friday, 18 January 2013 00:35:14 GMT

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