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Re: International business communications and Unicode

From: Thierry Sourbier <webmaster@i18ngurus.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 21:46:36 +0200
Message-ID: <005201c12cd5$7c4a8800$865efea9@dell400>
To: <www-international@w3.org>
> >> Quoting John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org> and Andrew Cunningham.
> >as somebody trying to run a site in 15 languages (and growing)...it
> >is my fervent hope that whatever evolves will stick to a single
> >globally applied standard...I don't care who provides it...I would
> >like to be able to know that a single form of character encoding
> >will work for any language AND will be able to be read by all users
> >with their standard set up
> >
> >it seems to be a long way off
> >
> unfortunately

Your frustrations are quite understandable, and I may have simplified things
a bit too much in my first email, sounding like all the problems were solved
:) To come back to the Emma's question "Is Unicode the great salvation?" We
should be clear that John's issues are actually linked to the fact that
Unicode is not yet widelly supported by all browsers and that some extra
work is necessary to accomodate each language (note that Unicode is already
of great help on the server side).

Unicode is a part of the solution not the problem. By standardizing the
encoding of minorities scripts, Unicode actually forces their support (at
least to a certain level) by commercial software (e.g. Khmer support may not
have been on the agenda of any database vendor, yet thanks to Unicode you
can now store Khmer text).  I'm fully aware that it will only be a *part* of
the solution as many scripts are fairly complex: they may require, for
example, sophisticated rendering engines and input methods that may not be
widelly available today but without Unicode things would just be much more

As a developper I'm actually quite impressed by the progress made the past
years with regard to language support. I certainly wish all issues were
resolved and for example, that I could safely send emails in any language
(not that I would :). But the issues are far from being simple, it just
takes time to create standards and to have them adopted by the masses.
Don't you think the computing community is heading in the right direction to
support all languages? If not, what do you think should be done?


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Received on Friday, 24 August 2001 15:41:04 UTC

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