W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-international@w3.org > July to September 1997

Re(2): Localization and Internationalization

From: <Iain.URQUHART@LUX.DG13.cec.be>
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997 15:09:14 +0200
To: <mduerst@enoshima>
Cc: <clift@freenet.msp.mn.us>, <www-international@w3.org>
Message-ID: <WIN2363-970804130914-3602*/G=Iain/S=URQUHART/OU=LUX/O=DG13/PRMD=CEC/ADMD=RTT/C=BE/@MHS>
Martin Duerst wrote : 

> But this can't be remedied by an Accept-Locale header. If the
> server can't serve an en-US version when receiving
>         Accept-Language: en-US
> it won't be able to do so even if it gets
>         Accept-Language: en-US
>         Accept-Locale: en-US
> The only chance would be to handle this at the client, for which
> we would need markup for dates, measures, numbers,..., but which
> wouldn't need Accept-Locale because it's a client-only business.
> But I doubt that this is necessary. (I would like to hear about
> cases where this may become necessary or useful, if there are
> some.)

Hi Martin,

Here is a case where it might be useful if not necessary.

I am a Brit living in Luxembourg. The currency I habitually use is Belgian francs. Now suppose I want to buy a pair of shoes over the web from a server in Germany. What I would like is that the server shows me text in English and quotes me prices in Belgian francs. I would like it even better if I could specify my shoe size according to the UK rather than the German measurement system. (a size 43 in the UK would be the size of my desk!). 

Similarly, if the vendor knew I was in Luxembourg it could only show me models of shoe that conform to official Grand Ducal footwear norms and regulations, or it could give me the address of the local cobblers providing technical support and so on. Localisation in this sense lends competitive advantage.

All this could be achieved quite cheaply if there was some form of Accept-locale. A cgi script on the server could dynamically generate html using the appropriate conventions. The client would only have to display whatever comes down the line. The Web server per se would only have to pass the locale string on. 

What I am talking about is really a form of profiling, which is why I mentioned cookies. There is probably an infinity of information it might be useful to know, but it seems to me that a minimal subset could usefully be defined for an Accept-locale. I take your point about Accept-Language being sufficient for the majority of cases, but an implied mapping between language and currency would tend to leave out expatriates. 

Received on Monday, 4 August 1997 09:14:07 UTC

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