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Re: Seamless Accessibility (was Re: your mail)

From: inx <inx@ryoma.i-kochi.or.jp>
Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 15:12:16 +0000
Message-ID: <3566E6ED.7D5E985F@ryoma.i-kochi.or.jp>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Davey Leslie here,

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> Right now I am using a text-only connection to read my mail and browse.
> When I come to a page designed as Liam describes, I will have no ideas
> what that page will be like if I swap to a full PPP connection and a
> graphical browser. Let alone knowing what the objects I cannot see are.
> This is discrimination on a massive scale. It is also the antithesis of
> portability/interoperabiliity - it is creating various classes of user,
> allowing each to imagine they are the only class of user, and not letting
> them know if ther is something they are missing - an intensely
> authoritarian approach to information dissemination.

Charles, forgive me, but I think you misrepresent Liam's point. Information
design, by its nature, is pre-emptive. (As is all design.) This may be seen as
authoritarian and discriminatory, but the opposite is true. 

It strikes me that we are wrestling with an issue that is, essentially, one of
translation. For many years I was an interpretor for the deaf community. I am
now a designer and a translator (English and Japanese). When I translate
something-- whether into English, Japanese, or American Sign Language-- I must
make selections from a myriad of options. Is it discriminatory? In the most
literal sense of the word, yes. I make selections based upon my notion of what
is most useful and appropriate. If I didn't, I wouldn't be in business.
Consider the options available to a translator. 

Roughly speaking there are three:  linguistic, cultural, and intentional. Of
the three, linguistic (literal) translations have the least value. Why?
Because they focus on surface detail at the expense of the deeper meanings and
intents. Because they are not interprative. Shocking as it may seem, you
cannot create a translation that is both literal and meaningful.

A poor translation obfuscates; a good translation clarifies.  

Describing a graph instead of describing the information it represents is very
much literal translation. It obfuscates meaning and subsitutes detail for
discernment. No one (except, of course, an authoritarian) would pay for it.

inx: english by design 
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Received on Saturday, 23 May 1998 02:10:17 UTC

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