W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-international@w3.org > October to December 2001

Re: RE: Defining the language of a document

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2001 04:44:18 -0500
To: www-international@w3.org
Message-Id: <20011228094439.B8CF22AC19@server5.safepages.com>
Paul Deuter wrote:

> We give the user the chance to select their preferred language. 
> is because we do not expect that all users will have their browsers
> properly configured for language.  We do [...] recognize the
> [Accept-Language] header - but we only use it for
> the initial page.

I think that your approach is wise given the defects of common 
user agents.  However, I would also care for an unobtrusive 
note linked to instructions on best modifying common user agents. 
 For example: "Selecting a language for this Web site...".

> We segregate language files in different directories, using the 
ISO 639-1
> two character language identifier as the directory name. [...]
> we can then support new languages by simply
> copying an existing folder and renaming it.

Do you mean that one could copy a directory whose contents 
are, say, Urdu, and that changing the directory name 
would magically translate Urdu to, say, Finnish? 

> Many HTML tags support the LANG attribute.  This is a good
> way to inform the browser the language of the text.

Browsers are not the only software components that can 
use language identification.  Spiders can put language 
identification to good use.

What's more, the 'lang' attributes can be used in combination 
with style sheets to include multiple languages in a document 
but render only one.

> A more important piece of information for the browser 
is character set.
> [One can] send an HTML META tag with the ContentType, 
which works most of
> the time.  I have found, however, that the META tag is not 
100% effective.

Indeed, is any grotesque kludge 100% effective?

Etan Wexler
Received on Friday, 28 December 2001 04:45:04 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 22:40:46 UTC