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Re: draft of Requirement for span-like element

From: Martin Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 16:32:38 +0900
Message-Id: <>
To: Tim Foster <Tim.Foster@Sun.COM>, public-i18n-its@w3.org

Hello Tim,

Many thanks for starting this! A few comments below.

At 00:08 05/03/11, Tim Foster wrote:
 >hi All,
 >Here's a possible wording for the requirement of the span-like element:
 >I haven't got a good name for this section yet, can anyone help out ?
 >	cheers,
 >			tim
 >A span-like element is required to allow authors to mark sections text
 >that may have special properties, from a localisation and
 >internationalisation point of view. Span-like elements are required as a
 >general concept for the different requirements for the ITS.
 >[note to ITS folk : I think this is a bit vague, perhaps we could define
 >it more carefully ? I'm trying to suggest that the span element can be
 >used for several purposes, all of which we haven't defined yet (but
 >would be defined by the time we release the spec - I'm not suggesting it
 >should be a free-for-all, but that as a requirement, we do need a way to
 >mark sections of text for different purposes)]

I think this is clear enough for the moment. We can refine this
later if needed.

 >This allows localisation tools to determine their behaviour on certain
 >sections of text. This could be for sections of text that need to be
 >translated by a domain-expert (as with source code fragments) or need
 >special terminology in order to be properly translated. In particular, a
 >span-like element can be useful to help translation tools determine
 >where to apply sentence-breaks and also to assist word-counting
 >algorithms. Other uses are foreseen, within the scope of the ITS.

This omits a very important use of the <span> element, and the
main reason it was added to HTML originally: language information.
Language information is important both for internationalization
(e.g. different styling according to language) as well as localization
(text needs to go to different translator, or not translated, or
otherwise treated differently).

 >One example would be the following sentence, which contains some source
 >code that we would like to treat specially during translation :
 >'The statement in the Java programming language,
 >System.out.println("Hello World!"); prints the text "Hello World!" to
 >standard output.'
 >Here, we would like to put a spanning element around the source code
 >fragment to indicate that it is not standard text for translation and
 >should be translated by a someone familiar with the Java programming
 >language. Also, translation tools should treat the exclamation points in
 >the sample text carefully with respect to sentence-segmentation if they
 >perform that function.
 >This next section of text shows a filename that should also not be
 >translated :
 >'The file /etc/passwd is a local source of information about users'
 >In this case, the filename "/etc/passwd" should not be translated, and
 >we would like to mark that filename with an element to indicate this.
 >[ Note to ITS folks :
 >The current list of possible uses of the span element is :
 >* Text that should not be segmented
 >* Text that should not be translated
 >* Text that should not be wordcounted
 >- are there any more that people can think of that don't directly fall
 >into other sections, that is, I expect we would have particular
 >requirements for dealing with terms, phrases, etc. elsewhere in the
 >requirements document.

I think two more aspects should be mentioned shortly:

- Any element that in and by itself doesn't carry specific semantics
   is fine. If the target schema already has such an element, fine.
- Say where the element should be allowed in the target schema:
   Everywhere where natural language/translatable text can appear.

I'm using the term 'target schema' here to talk about the schema
that we are trying to internationalize/localize.

Regards,    Martin. 
Received on Friday, 11 March 2005 07:32:54 UTC

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