This page is no longer maintained and may be inaccurate. For more up-to-date information, see the Internationalization Activity home page.
It's a good idea to label documents with the language they are written in. Some browsers don't care, but more advanced browsers, and especially editors with spelling checkers, can use the information. It is also expected that more and more other Web applications will be able to use the information, including search engines that will search for documents in a particular language.
<META HTTP-EQUIV=Content-Language CONTENT=en>
Replace `en' with the proper language: en (=english), fr (=french), de (=german), etc. (See also `Language tags and attributes' and ISO-639.)
<P>... And here is a quote from president Chirac: <BLOCKQUOTE lang=fr> <P>Rien n'est facile, mais nous devons choisir la bonne voie, celle qui concilie la justice, la solidarité et la modernité. </BLOCKQUOTE>
(It is not necessary to repeat the attribute on all the elements inside the labeled one, they will automatically be in French as well.)
For the new HTML (code name `Cougar') a simple scheme is proposed that allows you to add links to translations (or just to related documents in other languages) in the HEAD of your document. More advanced schemes are under study as well, but they will mostly be useful for people managing large collections of documents.
The simple scheme works like this. Imagine you've written an article called `Underground life' and you had it translated into French and German. You can then add this to the HEAD of your document:
<LINK REL=alternate HREF=mydoc-fr.html LANG=fr TITLE="La vie souterrainne">
<LINK REL=alternate HREF=mydoc-de.html LANG=de TITLE="Leben unter Grund">
This adds two links to your document, one to a French (LANG=fr) document and one to a German (LANG=de) one. The REL=alternate means they are equivalent documents to the current one, but in some alternative form, in this case in a different language.