W3C International Internationalization / Localization

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Multilingualism in HTML

Multilingualism (or multilinguism, as some people prefer it) is about creating and maintaining versions of a document in multiple languages. There may be a master document with (automatic or human-made) translations, or several language originals to be aligned or compared.

When a document is available in a variety of languages, and the translations are more or less aligned, it should be possible to create links (half-)automatically between the different versions, or multi-headed links that target all of the versions at the same time.

It has been argued that this is an authoring issue, and that the HTML doesn't need special constructs for this. A paper by Martin Bryan argues for HTML extensions. Other people have said, that even if this is an authoring issue, it would be good to have standards among the authoring tools.

Tomas Carrasco Benitez maintains an overview of issues related to i18n and multilingualism (local copy). See also multilingualism in HTTP below.

W3C Bert Bos, i18n coordinator
Last updated $Date: 2008/05/07 17:16:04 $