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Re: i18n-ISSUE-484: Use BCP47 instead of ISO 639-1 for identifying languages

From: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:50:07 +0900
To: Steven Atkin <atkin@us.ibm.com>, <www-international@w3.org>, <public-automotive@w3.org>
Message-ID: <55FF9A8F.10905@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
On 2015/09/18 02:47, Steven Atkin wrote:
> 8.2 Language Configuration Interface
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-vehicle-data-20150616/#attributes-49
> BCP47 should be used to identify languages instead of ISO 639-1.
> See https://tools.ietf.org/html/bcp47

This is indeed very important.

> One of the problems with using ISO 639-1 2 letter codes is that it does not
> adequately address the handling of Chinese. For example, in ISO 639-1
> Chinese is represented as zh. This code cannot indicate whether the writing
> system is Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese. The BCP47 standard
> clearly indicates which writing system is in use. In this case if
> Simplified Chinese was being used the code would be zh-Hans and for
> Traditional Chinese it would be zh-Hant.

Chinese is only one example. For those who may not know, mainland China 
and Singapore use simplified, Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional. This 
distinction is therefore very important when addressing these markets.

There are many other examples. The easiest to understand may be en-US 
vs. en-GB. It is well known (see e.g. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hood_%28vehicle%29) that automotive 
terminology can vary between the US and Great Britain.

Regards,   Martin.
Received on Monday, 21 September 2015 05:50:55 UTC

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