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Re: Techniques for 2.2.3

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 21:21:23 -0500
Message-Id: <4.1.19991124205741.00ab2c90@pop3.concentric.net>
To: thatch@us.ibm.com
Cc: User Agent Guidelines Emailing List <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
aloha, jim!

while i agree that there aren't many (any?) assistive technologies that _do_
switch languages when the language attribute is defined inline, it is true

a) assistive technologies that support multiple languages could change which
language rule base is being used when the lang attribute is encountered --
whether in the HTML element (which, is what HPR currently does) or in an inline
declaration (i.e. <SPAN lang="la">Vita mutator, non tollitor</SPAN>)

b) assistive technologies that are DOM aware and which support multiple
languages could easily switch languages when an inline language declaration is

with the current state-of-the-art in screen-readers, it is not unreasonable to
ask that any screen reader (or self-voicing browser) that supports multiple
languages switch in response to inline natural language declarations, 

that it is not currently being done doesn't mean that it can't be done, nor
that it isn't something that is greatly needed...  

and, it should be pointed out, this isn't just a web-based issue -- the Digital
Talking Book will have to be capable of responding to changes in language if it
is to be of any real use in an academic setting -- or even if one wants to read
a Hercule Poirot mystery or anything by Umberto Ecco without either cringing in
horror at the mispronunciations or having to have the reader spell out every
non-english word so that the non-english words can be fully comprehended...


At 12:12 PM 11/24/99 -0600, you wrote: 
> > Many assistive technologies understand different languages and can render
> > them according to the language attribute defined for a certain part of
> the
> > document.
> I don't know of any such assistive technologies.
> Jim Thatcher
> IBM Special Needs Systems
> www.ibm.com/sns
> HPR Documentation page: http://www.austin.ibm.com/sns/hprdoc.html
> thatch@us.ibm.com
> (512)838-0432
> Marja-Riitta Koivunen <marja@w3.org> on 11/24/99 11:58:52 AM
> To:   w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
> cc:
> Subject:  Techniques for 2.2.3
> I hope this is OK as starting point. Gregory promised to make another
> iteration.
> Marja
> 2.3 Render content according to natural language identification
> Let user select the default natural language or languages in priority order
> that she normally prefers to receive content.  As content in the preferred
> language might not always be available, the user needs to be able to see
> what languages are available in the current presentation and select from
> these.
> Many assistive technologies understand different languages and can render
> them according to the language attribute defined for a certain part of the
> document. For  instance, a screen reader might change the pronunciation of
> the text according to the language definition. This is usually desired and
> done according to the capabilities of the tool. Some specialized tools
> might give some finer user control for the pronunciation as well.
> Sometimes the user might also want to know when the text contains parts in
> other languages. How to render the change of language should be made user
> controllable by the user agent. For instance, the user might choose to hear
> "language:new language e.g. German" when the language changes to German and
> "language: default language" when it changes back. Alternatively or in
> addition, the language change could also be rendered visually as text
> withing the document. User should be able to turn this on or off as it
> might be disturbing to users understanding the languages. (Maybe the UA
> could use stylesheets for implementing the change when available.) In
> addition, if possible the UA might have interpretations available behind a
> link or provide a separate function for that.

He that lives on Hope, dies farting
     -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
   WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
Received on Wednesday, 24 November 1999 21:14:23 UTC

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