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Internationalization Activity Statement

Note: This Activity Statement covers the period from October 2012 to May 2013.

The goal of the Internationalization (I18n) Activity is to ensure that W3C's formats and protocols are open to all of the world's languages, writing systems, character codes and local conventions.

I18n advises W3C Working Groups, reviews W3C publications, coordinates with the Unicode Technical Committee, the IETF, ISO committees, and the localization industry. I18n increases awareness of internationalization issues via conferences, workshops, articles and Working Group Notes. I18n provides upfront input to Working Groups and reviews Last Call Working Drafts on a wide range of topics, including Unicode character normalization, international typographic requirements, script issues in text-to-speech implementations, internationalization and localization requirements for schemas, usage scenarios and requirements for the internationalization of Web services, implementation of international resource identifiers, and many more.

For the curious, "I18n" is shorthand for the first, last, and 18 middle characters in the word "Internationalization."

Highlights Since the Previous Advisory Committee Meeting

Taking the lead from work done by the W3C Internationalization Activity, the Unicode Consortium introduced new control characters to the Unicode repertoire to allow isolation from the effects of the Unicode bidirectional algorithm for inline text, and now proposes that this be the default behavior for all embedded, opposite-direction text when dealing with scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew. Having already helped enable CSS for this change, the i18n Working Group has been working on recommendations for the HTML5 Working Group about how to best introduce isolation as the default in HTML5.

The i18n Working Group is about to publish a substantially revised version of Use Cases & Exploratory Approaches for Ruby Markup. That document was used during the development of the HTML Ruby Markup Extensions, which has been published for HTML WG review.

In collaboration with the Unicode Consortium, the WG Note, "Unicode in XML and other Markup Languages" was refreshed, and there are plans to substantively update it further once the next version of The Unicode Standard has been released.

As usual, the WG continues to review and guide the work of numerous other working groups at the W3C, in addition to its significant contributions to HTML and CSS.

The WG continues to work on developing i18n tests in step with the latest developments in the W3C Test Framework, and has produced a format that shows the latest results for the tests live from the Test Framework database.

In December 2012 the MultilingualWeb-LT Working Group moved ITS 2.0 to last call. Last call issues were addressed and a Second Last Call Working Draft was published. The MultilingualWeb-LT Working Group has pushed ahead on test suite development for ITS 2.0 while moving the specification forward, and already has successful tests for nearly all features.

To demonstrate implementations using ITS 2.0, a dedicated Usage Scenarios and Implementations draft document has been published. The document will be finalized as a Working Group Note.

An Indic Layout Task Force was created to work on issues that need to be addressed by the Open Web Platform to support South Asian and related languages and scripts. A First Public Working Draft of Requirements for Hangul Text Layout and Typography was published to, like its highly successful predecessor Requirements for Japanese Layout, establish requirements for Korean support in the Open Web Platform.

The i18n Working Group also published a set of comprehensive resources for content authors that explains how to use markup for pages containing RTL content that includes information about the latest additions to HTML5. It has also revised guidance on use of the byte-order mark in UTF-8 to bring it up to date with current browser behavior, and began to engage with the Web Platform Docs resources.

Another Multilingual Web Workshop was held 12-13 March 2013 in Rome, Italy. This is the sixth workshop in the MultilingualWeb workshop series. Like the first four workshops, the workshop aimed to bring together and establish network links across a diverse audience with a broad range of interests. In addition several specific sessions were planned and announced: showcases for the upcoming Internationalization Tag Set 2.0, and predefined breakout sessions about best practices for multilingual linked open data (BP-MLOD and about Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). With more than 200 registrations and more than 150 actual attendees this workshop was so far the most successful event in the MultilingualWeb workshop series. See the workshop report.

To engage various communities around ITS 2.0, members of the working group participated in various conferences, e.g. XML Prague 2013, the GALA 2013 conference. Further outreach is planned, e.g. another FEISGILLT event as part of the Localization World conference

Upcoming Activity Highlights

There will be a workshop on ebooks and internationalization in Tokyo in June, which will feed information to the proposed eBooks Interest Group about internationalization features required in the Open Web Platform to support international use of ebooks.

Discussion about how to assure the sustainability of the MultilingualWeb brand have started in the team.

The Working Group plans to publish a First Public Draft of the Encoding specification, and a new draft of the Character Model: Normalization document. It will also produce a Working Group Note about counter styles from around the world to support the CSS3 Counter Styles specification.

Summary of Activity Structure

GroupChairTeam ContactCharter
Internationalization Working Group
Addison PhillipsRichard IshidaChartered until 31 December 2015
Internationalization (I18n) Interest GroupMartin DürstRichard IshidaChartered until 31 December 2011
Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Interest GroupYves SavourelRichard IshidaChartered until 31 December 2013

Richard Ishida, Internationalization Activity Lead

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