Monthly Archives: March 2013
The Unicode Consortium has released CLDR 23, which contains data for 215 languages and 227 territories—654 locales. This release focused primarily on improvements to the LDML structure and tools, and on consistency of data. It includes substantially improved support for non-Gregorian calendars (such as the Japanese Imperial calendar used extensively in Japan). The data and structure has also been modified to easily permit changing between 12 and 24 hour formats, and between 2 digit and 4 digit years. The new Unicode character is used for the Turkish Lira, and information is provided for currencies that round to 5 cents (or other subunits) in cash transactions. For most languages that use non-Latin scripts, characters in the language’s script now collate before those in other scripts (including A-Z). Language-specific letter-casing changes (Lower, Upper, Title) have been added for Azerbaijani, Greek, Lithuanian, and Turkish. Keyboard data has also been updated for Android. Also, as of this release, the LDML specification is split into multiple parts, each focusing on a particular area.
The MultilingualWeb-LT Working Group published a First Public Working Draft of Metadata for the Multilingual Web – Usage Scenarios and Implementations. This document introduces a variety of usage scenarios and applications for the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) 2.0, ranging from simple machine translation or human translation quality check to training for machine translation systems or automatic text analyis. Many of the underlying implemementations will be showcased in the upcoming W3C MultilingualWeb Workshop 12-13 March in Rome.
Until now, it has been very difficult for web application designers to do something as simple as sort names correctly according to the user’s language. The new standard ECMA-402 changes this. It provides:
- string comparison for sorting (such as for Swedish, where “ö” is a separate letter that sorts after “z”),
- number and currency formatting (such as “1.234,56 €” for a German language euro presentation, or the following choices for a Serbian language USD presentation: 12.345,12 US$, 12.345,12 USD or 12.345,12 америчких долара),
- date and time formatting capabilities (such as 2012年12月12日 for a Japanese language date, or for a French date: mercredi 12 décembre 2012).
ECMA-402, ECMAScript Internationalization API Specification, is available free of charge from the Ecma International website. See also An introduction to the standard.
A new FAQ page devoted to the topic of private-use characters, noncharacters, and sentinels has been posted on the Unicode web site. This FAQ aims to clear up confusion about whether noncharacters are permitted in Unicode text, and how they differ from ordinary private-use characters. The recently published Corrigendum #9: Clarification About Noncharacters makes it clear that noncharacters are permitted even in interchange, and the new FAQ page addresses some of the fine points about their usage and about differences from other types of Unicode code points. The brief mentions of noncharacters in other FAQ pages have also been updated accordingly.
Are you unclear about what Unicode “noncharacters” even are? The new FAQ page also answers basic questions about noncharacters and private-use characters, and provides a bit of history about how they came to be part of the Unicode Standard.