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RE: meta content-language

From: Andrew Cunningham <andrewc@vicnet.net.au>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 10:07:44 +1000 (EST)
Message-ID: <910eaac094f67455a1a0ade3189253c8.squirrel@newmail.vicnet.net.au>
To: "Richard Ishida" <ishida@w3.org>
Cc: "'Leif Halvard Silli'" <lhs@malform.no>, "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'HTMLWG'" <public-html@w3.org>, www-international@w3.org, hsivonen@iki.fi

Some additional thoughts

On Tue, August 19, 2008 12:48 am, Richard Ishida wrote:
> 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
> 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;

I don't think this is necessarily a case of poor localisation. Take a look
at West Africa. You might have content in languages for Nigeria, Niger,
Togo and Benin. But it may not be practical to have the user interface
translated into all these languages, just the sheer number of languages
would create a practical limit.

The UI would most likely be in French and English and maybe a couple of
other key languages.

The reality is that a web service or web app that is Unicode based might
be used for any language independent of the UI language. Even for
companies the size of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, there are limits to the
amount of localisation undertaken. A drop i the ocean compared with the
range of languages that could be used.

Andrew Cunningham
Research and Development Coordinator
State Library of Victoria

Received on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 00:21:27 UTC

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