RE: meta content-language

Leif, I'm not sure that makes sense... The prompt for the content
negotiation should come from the user agent, since it reflects the
preferences of the user, not the language of a given page.  The user agent
sends the user's preferences (or its defaults) via the Accept-Language HTTP
field, and the server uses that information to do content negotiation (if
enabled on the server). If the server finds a match, it returns meta
information about the document it is serving in the Content-Language field
of the HTTP header. 

In this respect, the Content-Language header is saying: "Here is a document
that is appropriate for someone who states a preference for language X".
Note that it is not a foregone conclusion that the default language of the
content is language X, especially in the sense where default means the
language of the head and initial text in the body - for example, some poorly
localized pages may have navigation content in one language while the main
content is in another; other pages may be bilingual (eg. I've seen
discussion fora with comments in English, Punjabi and Hindi, mixed
together); other bilingual documents for French-speaking Canada may be
served with a Content-Language value of 'en,fr', but may start with either
language in the content.

All this contributes to my feeling that the Content-Language information is
a different kind of beast to the language attribute.  I haven't objected to
the default language being set to the value of the Content-Language in the
absence of a language attribute, but in some of the above cases to do so may
actually introduce errors.


Richard Ishida
Internationalization Lead
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Leif Halvard Silli []
> Sent: 16 August 2008 01:49
> To: Richard Ishida
> Cc: 'Ian Hickson'; HTMLWG;;
> Subject: Re: meta content-language
> Richard Ishida 2008-08-15 21.42:
> >> From: Henri Sivonen []
> >> What purpose does metadata serve if it isn't actionable?
> >
> > Metadata is actionable if some application is written to use it.  It is
> > actionable if the information is not available.
> Regarding the question of "actionable": Ideally, authors should be
> able to add content-language information via the META tag, and
> then experience that the web server - and the Web browser - use
> this information to perform language negotiation.
> Richard, you made many tests of how UAs react to language tagging:
> Perhaps it is possible to make test case for what web servers and
> browsers do with the content-langauage information with regard to
> content negotiation?
> --
> leif halvard sillli

Received on Monday, 18 August 2008 14:49:33 UTC