Re: Re[2]: FW: acronym in title...

At 04:29 AM 2003-03-14, Roberto Scano - IWA/HWG wrote:

>So, at least, for the "previous" version all we can do is to "hope" to
>have - for example - intelligent text readers that read the words in the
>natural language...

Not at all.

The approach that John Foliot laid out

will produce graceful and communicative results in the vast majority of cases.

You just realize that you can't indicate more than one natural language for
the attributes of one element.  You edit the hypertext so as not to mix
natural languages within the attributes of one element and you go outside
the element to indicate the natural language for as small a context as
necessary, but not less than that one element.

Further, you don't use foreign terms or phrases abruptly.  Assuming that you
want to use 'Piazza San Marco' as the ALT for an image, but the bulk
language of the text is not Italian, introduce the foreign phrase
conversationally in the text before it is used in an epigrammatic way in the

If you can't find it in your heart to take the text space to introduce the
foreign phrase in the text, don't use it in the attribute.  Very rarely will
these guidelines leave you with nothing good to do.

On the other hand, hoping for the smarter tools is all we can do in any case.
For the old version of the language or the new improved version of the
language.  There is a reasonable chance that switching language models on
the fly will come to be the norm for TTS systems in the next few years, but
it is certainly not the norm now.  So content has to be prepared to survive
as communication with the screen reader which reads the whole page in one
language anyway.

Yes, we want to clean this up in XHTML 2.0.

But our change proposals have to be very well thought out (by the time they
hit the HTML user community) and our follow-up promotion during "life after
Rec" for the reformed version of the language will have to be sensitive to
the problems faced by our customers, the content developers, in managing the
transition across incompatible versions.

The whole value of the Web is its universal interoperability.  And we are
threatening to mess with that in one dimension to improve it in another.
This has to be done carefully, and diplomatically.



On a personal level, all that I said above is really going to cramp *my*
style.  My personal version of English contains a lot of latin, French, and
Chinese idioms.  Maybe a little Yiddish.  I use these as if they were
English without thinking.  But I eventually learned from sad experience in
working in the WAI that foreign phrases are not second-language-safe
vocabulary.  My French colleagues who are so good in English that I forget
it is not their natural language do not know the same Yiddish phrases that I
do, and, I was shocked to realize, not the Latin borrowings either such as
"i.e., e.g." and so forth.

So for an international readership in *any* natural language, there are
reasons to avoid sprinkling in borrowed terms from other languages.  Because
there is a large audience for whom the dominant language of the current text
is usable as a second language, but where the third-language vocabulary will
be opaque, the sense inaccessible.

We (PF) would like to migrate Web media to a language-use and
language-usage-explanation platform that improves on this situation for
foreign language borrowings, for Terms of Art in technical literature, etc.
WCAG 4.3 where it says "explain at first use" is a very print-oriented rule.
It is not the most implementable form of an effective guideline, from the
AT perspective.  We should probably come up with something better which
combines new markup language design, processing patterns, and authoring
guidance.  If we try to change in these three areas piecemeal, the changes
are likely simply never to take hold in general practice.

We will have more on "how this could work" shortly.  Sorry about the
promises.  But bear with us, please.


>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Al Gilman" <>
>To: "Roberto Scano - IWA/HWG" <>; <>;
><>; <>
>Cc: <>
>Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 12:10 AM
>Subject: Re: Re[2]: FW: acronym in title...
> >I would approach the assistive technology developers and ask what
> >kind of an indirect relationship they could most readily see
> >implementing.  Will they come to the W3C DOM for this information?
> >Do we need to get it into MSAA?
>I think that IBM and other W3C member that create these applications could
>reply to this.
> >It would not be hard to write a tool that reads a glossary and
> >adds things like the language information to HTML attributes where
> >they appear in the DOM.  Then the assistive technology could know that
> >'Piazza San Marco' was Italian.
>Hum... i think it would be difficoult to have a full dictionary for all the
>possible words.
>But - at now - i have no proposal for solution in my mind :-/
> >The problem is that if the HTML Working Group were to introduce an
> >incompatible change in a minor release like that, who would implement
> >it?  The conventional wisdom is "nobody."  And I am not inclined to
> >second-guess the experts on that point.
> >
> >Incompatible changes in HTML are generally not going to be considered
> >outside the XHTML 2.0 activity, as it is risky to think with the heavy use
> >of HTML all the time that any incompatible changes will be taken up in
> >practice, even with the best efforts of the HTML WG.
> >
> >XHTML 2.0 is the version that HTML WG is working on.  We would have to have
> >a flaming disaster going on to get an incompatible change released as some
> >sort of an interim patch, and it is not clear who would implement it.
> >
> >Besides, there are too many, too good, ways to do this in ways that
> >interoperate with HTML 2.0.
> >There is also a plugin option for the browser extension.  Also an
> >independent screen scraper like Atomica.
>So, at least, for the "previous" version all we can do is to "hope" to
>have - for example - intelligent text readers that read the words in the
>natural language...
>Roberto Scano
>IWA/HWG EMEA Coordinator
>W3C Advisory Committee Representative for IWA/HWG
>International Webmasters Association / HTML Writers Guild
> -
>E-Mail: -

Received on Friday, 14 March 2003 08:36:52 UTC