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Internationalization Working Group Charter

Mission & scope

The I18N WG (Internationalization Working Group) is a Working Group as defined by the W3C Process, within the W3C Internationalization Activity, with the goal to propose and coordinate any techniques, conventions, guidelines and activities within the W3C and together with other organizations that allow and make it easy to use W3C technology worldwide, with different languages, scripts, and cultures.


The World Wide Web is by its name and by its actual extent world-wide. Enabling people from all parts of the world to make full use of Web technologies requires support for their languages, writing systems and cultures.The W3C is firmly committed to making sure that its specifications and other outputs are adequately internationalized.

The W3C Internationalization Activity was created in October 1995. In February 1998, the I18N WG and I18N IG were created, initially with a duration of one year. Both groups were rechartered regularly. This current charter is the result of a major rechartering in mid-2002. Overall W3C work has moved on at a high pace, and is expected to continue to do so. Internationalization is a continued concern for W3C, as part of the W3C goal of Universal Access.


The lifetime of this Working Group is extended to last through August 2004. The W3C Advisory Committee will be consulted before that date if changes to the structure of the Working Group or new Recommendation-track deliverables are envisaged.


The WG is structured in three task forces, a core task force, a Web Services task force, and a Guidelines, Education, Outreach (GEO) task force, as described below.

Core Task Force

The core task force is responsible for continuing the work of the WG up to now and finish its deliverables. This includes bringing the Character Model for the World Wide Web to Proposed Recommendation status, submitting the Internet-Draft on Internationalized Resource Identifiers to the IESG (for IETF Proposed Standard), and continuing the work of reviewing specifications produced by other working groups.

Deliverable: Character Model

The first deliverable of the core task force is to bring the Character Model for the World Wide Web to Proposed Recommendation status.

Deliverable: Internationalized Resource Identifiers

A lot of the material previously in Chapter 8 of the Character Model has been moved to the Internet-Draft on Internationalized Resource Identifiers (draft-duerst-iri-01.txt) to avoid duplication and to maintain the responsibility of the IETF for URI-related specifications. The core task force will submit this Internet-Draft to the IESG for IETF Proposed Standard.

Deliverable: Reviews

The core task force will continue to review specifications of other W3C WGs as appropriate. Ideally, reviews are done as early as possible, but in many cases, Last Call is the best stage for an in-depth review. The exact schedule of these reviews depends on the progress of other WGs and the availability of resources in the core task force.


July 2002:
Editorial meeting for Character Model
new version of IRI Internet Draft (for IETF Last Call)
August 2002:
Character Model Candidate Recommendation
October 2002:
Character Model Proposed Recommendation
review of W3C specifications as appropriate

Web Services Task Force

The Web Services task force is responsible for investigating the needs and problems in the area of internationalization of Web Services, in particular the dependency of Web Services on language, culture, region, and locale-related contexts. This investigation will be conducted by the collection of use cases and the creation of a requirements document. In coordination with the Core task force, the Web Services task force will also be involved in the review of specifications in the area of Web Services. As an outcome of this investigation, the need for some REC-track work may become apparent, and this work may better be done in a separate WG. Before a separate WG is created, or when REC-track work is planned, the Advisory Committee will be consulted.

Deliverable: Use Cases

A collection of use cases (target: NOTE) to document various needs and scenarios for the exchange of internationalization-related information in an interoperable fashion. The use cases are expected to cover (but are not limited to) issues such as:

The use cases should be specific and realistic. They should document aspects such as expected frequency of the use case, desired degree of interoperability, importance and benefits of generic solutions, etc. The use cases of the Web Services Architecture WG will serve as one source of input. Architectural use cases found in the Web Services task force will be fed back to the Web Services Architecture WG.

Deliverable: Requirements

The requirements document (target: NOTE) describes requirements based on the use cases collected. It should be written so that it does not assume that all of the potentially needed technology and specifications will be created at the W3C; other organizations may be in a better position to provide/specify some of the needed parts. Architectural requirements will be submitted to the Web Services Architecture Working Group for consideration for inclusion in their requirements document.


September 2002
Open call for use cases
November 2002
First version of use cases document (Working Draft)
February 2003
Second version of use case document (Working Draft)
March 2003
First version of requirements document (Working Draft)
April 2003
Third version of use case document (NOTE)
June 2003
Second version of requirements document (Working Draft)

Guidelines, Education, Outreach Task Force

The Guidelines, Education, Outreach (GEO) task force will help to get the internationalization aspects of W3C technology better understood and more widely and consistently used. It will produce a framework and a set of guidelines and techniques on a 'best practices' level. The result(s) may be published as Notes or as ordinary web pages. If items are found that are not covered by existing Recommendations but that should be made normative, they should be identified for later move to Recommendation status. As soon as feasible (independent of whether REC-track work is planned or not), the task force may be converted to a separate WG. Before a separate WG is created, or when REC-track work is planned, the Advisory Committee will be consulted.

Deliverable: Framework

The task force should develop a framework for the guidelines. This will consist of documentation describing the objectives and the structure of the guidelines (target: NOTE), and of infrastructure (for example an XML DTD and XSLT stylesheets).

Deliverable: Guidelines

The guidelines must take into account context and audience. Context may include the technology (markup, styling), the kind of data (document or data oriented), the type of application (single language for international audience, single language with specific needs, localizability, mixed language, parallel documents/data), and so on.

Audience may include content authors, programmers, webmasters, creators of tools (web servers, authoring tools, user agents,...), creators of DTDs/Schemas, and so on. The same guideline may be addressed to more than one category of audience.

The requirements for implementations and for content in the Character Model will serve as one of the starting points.


September 2002
Open call for guidelines/techniques
November 2002
First publication of framework and some guidelines
March 2003
Second publication of framework and some guidelines. Framework should be more or less stable by this point, if not earlier
July 2003
Third publication of guidelines

Deliverables & schedule

Schedule changes are negotiated with the Hypertext Coordination Group. The place and time of face-to-face meetings and teleconferences will be decided collectively by the WG members. Task forces may hold separate teleconferences. It is expected that part of WG face-to-face meetings will be devoted to task force meetings.

Coordination with other groups

Groups in W3C related to I18N

Groups in W3C at large

The I18N WG will try to maintain contact with all W3C groups working on issues potentially related to internationalization. Some of these groups are:

The chair of the I18N WG participates in the Hypertext Coordination Group for coordination within the Document Formats Domain and with related Activities. W3C staff are responsible for coordinating with the other groups.

Contacts with external organizations

Expected contacts with external organizations include:

Membership requirements

Each participating W3C Member organization participates with one main representative. A W3C Member organization can designate one or more alternates for each task force. An alternate can serve as a fallback when their main representative is temporarily unavailable. The chair can accept additional alternates to allow a W3C Member organization to provide more resources to the Working Group.

All Working Group participants must be prepared to spend up to 20% of their working time on the WG. If a W3C Member organization designates one or more alternates, the 20% is to be understood as the total time devoted to the WG by the main representative and alternates, excluding the time needed by them for internal coordination. For more details about participation requirements, please see the Process Document.

Members of the Working Group must produce deliverables as agreed by the WG, and attend face-to-face meetings and (weekly) teleconferences. Between meetings and teleconferences, the mailing lists (www-international@w3.org for open technical discussion, w3c-i18n-ig@w3.org for member-confidential technical discussion, and w3c-i18n-wg@w3.org for procedural coordination) are the main means of communication. Separate teleconferences and mailing lists may be set up for each task force if necessary. Face-to-face meetings will include some time for task force meetings and some time for the meeting of the whole WG.

As described in the W3C Process document, experts who are not associated with member organizations may be invited by the chair, either for the duration of the Working Group, or for particular discussions. Invited experts have to agree to the W3C invited experts and collaborators agreement. In most cases, invited experts participate through the I18N IG.

Intellectual Property

W3C promotes an open working environment. Whenever possible, technical decisions should be made unencumbered by intellectual property right (IPR) claims.

This is a Royalty Free Working Group, as described in W3C's Current Patent Practice.

Working Group participants disclose patent claims by sending email to <patent-issues@w3.org>; please see Current Patent Practice for more information about disclosures.

Practical information & Confidentiality

The Web page http://www.w3.org/International/Group/ contains or links to all essential information, such as this charter, event schedules, interesting documents, and a list of WG members. This Charter and a page with information about the Working Group will be public, but may contain member-confidential links.

The work of this WG (except for public discussions carried out on www-international@w3.org) is covered by the W3C member confidentiality agreement. In particular, the WG mailing list archive is accessible by members and invited experts only. The I18N Activity statement contains a publicly accessible overview of the work of this Working Group.

The chair of this group is Misha Wolf (Reuters Limited). The W3C team contacts are Martin Dürst and Richard Ishida. It is expected that this WG will require the equivalent of 1.5 full time equivalents of Team resources (roughly 0.5 per task force).

Previous (2001) version of this charter.

Misha Wolf, WG chair
Martin Dürst, IG chair and W3C staff contact
last revised $Date: 2002/09/25 11:43:47 $ by $Author: rishida $