W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-international@w3.org > April to June 2006

Re: Alternatives for the term 'primary language'

From: Andrew Cunningham <andrewc@vicnet.net.au>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 09:37:20 +1000
Message-ID: <44A06FB0.1020504@vicnet.net.au>
To: www-international@w3.org
Along similar lines, its common in Australia and certain other countries 
for a government website to be in English (including navigation, 
headers/footers, etc.) but the body of the content is in a community 
(migrant/refugee)language, what in the US I believe you refer to as 
heritage languages.

We're currently undertaking a review of online translated government 
information for our state government. When it comes to accessibility of 
multilingual content ...  even if accessibility of English documents is 
high, translated documents are rarely afforded similar levels of care or 

WCAG tends to be ambiguous in a sense. The link between intended 
audience of a document and the language textual alternatives are 
provided in needs to be explicitly spelled out, most web developers I've 
interviewed don't get the distinction, or even see the need. Providing 
text alternatives in the national language is seen as sufficient.

For instance its common to see images (of the name of a language in that 
language) as a button to link to content in that language. Obviously the 
intended audience for that button/link are an audience who can read that 
language. Interestingly enough, the text of the alt attribute (if 
present) is not in that language, rather its most often in English. Ie 
the link is intended for one audience, but the alt attribute text ends 
up being for a completely different audience.

The link between intended audience of a document and the language 
textual alternatives are provided in, don't always match, and in some 
sectors rarely match.


John Cowan wrote:

 > Jony Rosenne scripsit:
 >> After reading the references, I support document language.
 >> This is the plainest phrase. In the example, the document is in German,
 >> although it may contain Chinese phrases.
 > That doesn't well cover the case of a Hebrew Bible with footnotes and
 > explanations in English, though.  Most of the text is in Hebrew, but
 > the document as a whole is obviously intended for anglophones.
 > For another use case, a French-Italian dictionary for French-speakers
 > will look quite different from a French-Italian dictionary for Italian-
 > speakers, and the difference is precisely in the language of the
 > intended audience.

Andrew Cunningham
Research and Development Coordinator
Vicnet, Public Libraries and Communications
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne  VIC  3000


Ph. 3-8664-7430
Fax: 3-9639-2175


Received on Monday, 26 June 2006 23:37:34 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 22:40:52 UTC