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Re: Internationalised HTML

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2003 17:48:06 +0000
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Message-Id: <51A9950A-360D-11D7-B559-0003939B5AD0@btinternet.com>
Thanks Jukka,

The views expressed by yourself, are the nearest to mine,

It is important to define how we might most easily enfranchise the 
powerless, the socially excluded, and the illiterate. W3C does not 
appear to have a substantial representation for the disabled, and many 
responses I get both publicly and privately indicate that the issues I 
raise are not a concern of W3 but rather something that is do-able by 
me independently, which is plainly ridiculous in view of the broad 
range of needs.

XHTML, XML, XSLT, SVG and many other w3 technologies have excellent 
theoretical possibilities, and are already used by those who have the 
knowledge and power. Unfortunately they don't currently have the tools 
which will enable, and there remains a reasonable doubt as to whether 
the intention to enable is there.

It is excellent that xhtml should have strict definitions, provided and 
only provided that better tools are available for authoring by people 
who would have problems with html. where are those tools and where is 
the evidence of effort to create them? we all know of issues 
surrounding the meaning of alt and title, how much more serious is it 
when <html> gets replaced by <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 
1.0 Transitional//EN" 
xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> for 
someone who is dyslexic.

I personally take a strong exception to having to write color, which 
appears ignorant to me in the English tradition, and at best American 
machine code has a place, and it should be kept there, not allowed out 
in the wild.

On Saturday, February 1, 2003, at 07:45 AM, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

> On Sat, 1 Feb 2003, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>> On the other hand, the names of tags isn't very important - they are
>> not meant to be read by people, but by machines (although it is meant
>> to be possible for people to read/write them) - and like C source 
>> code,
>> it isn't very much more meaningful for english speakers.
> The element (sic) names - or generic identifiers, to be exact - are 
> meant
> to convey a general idea of the meanings of markup constructs and,
> besides, they are used in the definition of a markup system, or 
> "language"
> as the misleading parlance goes. It is impossible to define what, say,
> a <blockquote> element means without referring to the element name. 
> Thus,
> element names are meant to be readable and understandable to human 
> beings,
> if only to authors. Whether they are written by humans, in the sense of
> typing some characters, is relatively immaterial here.
> They are important to anyone designing a user style sheet, too. To 
> tell my
> browser to highlight all block quotations in some way I like, I need to
> use the element name. - Similar considerations apply to attribute names
> and keyword-like attribute values.
> There are examples of actual confusion around element, attribute, and
> value names, caused by the fact that not all people speak the same 
> dialect
> of English. The <cite> element is famous: roughly half of people who 
> try
> to learn HTML seriously have mistaken it as meaning quotation. Partly
> because the descriptions in the specifications have been (and are)
> somewhat vague, but largely because of the tag name. To take another
> example, British people have often complained about misspellings like
> "color" (e.g. in <font color="...">). Using CSS instead of 
> presentational
> markup would naturally take this problem out of HTML, but not out of 
> the
> authoring world. The are some naming decisions that might look a bit
> headless: <head>, <h1>, <thead>, and <th> all reflect the word "head",
> in confusingly similar but varying meanings, and <title> elements and
> title attributes add to the confusion, and so does <caption>, since 
> they
> are heading-like too, but not _called_ headings.
> However, I would suggest taking all of this as fait accompli. 
> Something to
> be learned from for the future and in some general sense, not 
> something to
> be fixed now in HTML. It's seldom a good idea to paint a car while it 
> is
> in actual use, moving fast.
>> It is now possible, using XML Schemas, to create an xml language where
>> the elements can be named/described in multiple languages. Using RDF
>> Ontology and Web Services we can expect it to be possible to write our
>> own version of "HTML" using whatever tags we like, declaring it's
>> relationship to HTML, and have it work
> I wonder what that would mean - in the worst case, everyone inventing 
> tags
> of his own and "defining" them by providing a style sheet. There's 
> little
> need to try and guess how many authors will pay the slightest 
> attention to
> anything beyond _their_ fixed idea of how the page should look.
> If it just means the possibility of _seeing_ tag and attribute names in
> your preferred language, when viewing or editing HTML source, well, 
> _that_
> could actually be implemented without much Xfuss and *logies.
> -- 
> Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Received on Saturday, 1 February 2003 12:46:32 UTC

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