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RE: meta content-language

From: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 15:48:57 +0100
To: "'Leif Halvard Silli'" <lhs@malform.no>
Cc: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'HTMLWG'" <public-html@w3.org>, <www-international@w3.org>, <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Message-ID: <001201c90141$8bdae3d0$a390ab70$@org>

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 [mailto:lhs@malform.no]
> Sent: 16 August 2008 01:49
> To: Richard Ishida
> Cc: 'Ian Hickson'; HTMLWG; www-international@w3.org; hsivonen@iki.fi
> Subject: Re: meta content-language
> Richard Ishida 2008-08-15 21.42:
> >> From: Henri Sivonen [mailto:hsivonen@iki.fi]
> >> 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

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