Re: Emphasis in East Asian scripts

On Wed, 21 Sep 2011 23:17:37 +0900, Arle Lommel <>  

> Although everybody italicizes CJK text, technically that is an error, at  
> least as far as native conventions go. It's a clear marker of *naive*  
> localization/translation: you’d never (at least as far as I know) see  
> italics in typographically sound texts composed in Chinese, Japanese, or  
> Korean. (Also, in most cases italic CJK text is simply *oblique* by the  
> rendering agent and most CJK fonts do not have true italic variants at  
> all.) From a localization viewpoint, it would be ideal if the selection  
> of the appropriate emphasis style was handled using the lang selector.

That's my understanding as well.

> On the other hand, there would be a clear need to educate the  
> user/authoring community to avoid some strange side effects. For  
> example, if you have code like this in English:
> <p>I read <em>War and Peace</em> last week.</p>
> (I know that this isn’t how you *should* handle book titles in HTML, but  
> you see code like this all the time because it's the easiest way to get  
> things to look right.)
> The correctly formatted Japanese should be something like this with  
> Japanese title markers (apologies if the Japanese content from a  
> well-known online translation engine is bad):
> <p>私は先週『戦争と平和』をお読みください。</p>
> Rather than something that has italics or that looks like:
> <p>私は先週<span style="text-emphasis-style:filled  
> sesame;">戦争と平和</span>をお読みください。</p>
> Which would be wrong.
> So using 'text-emphasis-style' in CJK would result in errors in some  
> translation environments. I don't know that there is a good way to  
> address this sort of thing since it arises from common usage. Just worth  
> keeping in mind that this shows why we need better education for users  
> about how and why to do things the right (i.e., internationalized) way.

Regardless of whether you pick italics or 'text-emphasis-style', the
Japanese text will come out wrong in this example. The markup is
deficient, and can't be styled correctly unambiguously.

Because of that, I don't think this should stop us from doing the right
thing (using 'text-emphasis-style'), which will at least let the authors
who write semantically correct markup get appropriate styling.

  - Florian

Received on Thursday, 22 September 2011 03:58:41 UTC