W3C Icon, linked to the W3C Home page Policy for Authorized W3C Translations

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This document describes the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) policy for the creation and the publication of Authorized W3C Translations. From its inception, W3C has made efforts to develop technologies that reach and may serve a worldwide audience regardless of language or culture. To that end,  this policy is designed to achieve quality translations through a process that relies on transparency and community accountability, with W3C providing oversight of the process. Authorized W3C Translations can be used for official purposes in languages other than English. Examples include: a standardization authority in a country that wishes to standardize on a W3C Recommendation, but requires the usage of a local language;  or a local government plans to reference the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in their regulations, but requires a translation of the guidelines in the local language to do so. 

This policy for authorized translations extends but does not replace the volunteer translation policy described on the W3C’s public translations page. W3C continues to welcome translations created by the volunteer translation process, and these will continue to play an important role in allowing W3C technologies to reach more people around the world. However, as emphasized in the note "e" below, none of the translations created through the volunteer translation process are automatically considered to be Authorized W3C Translations, hence they do not have an official status. Of course, they may be the obvious candidates for the process described in this document. In all cases and in case of dispute, the authoritative version remains the English version (see the disclaimer boilerplate).

Steps for the Publication of Authorized W3C Translations

The publication steps are as follows. A note on terminology: the term ''W3C' refers to representatives of the W3C staff, as appointed by the W3C Management.

  1. Lead Translation Organization (LTO) Submission of Intent:
    1. An organization, interested in becoming the LTO for developing an authorized translation of a specific W3C document, notifies W3C of their intention using the general public translators' mailing list. This notification must include:
      1. identification of major and relevant stakeholder organizations with which the LTO will coordinate the review of the translation. The notification should clearly identify the nature and the address of each of those organizations, and why that group constitutes an appropriate representative of the local community. If there is a W3C Host or Chapter in that country, it must be part of that group. Note also the requirements with regard to representation (see additional note 'b' below) particularly for WAI documents, and prior translation of a lexicon (see additional note 'c' below).
      2. indication that the stakeholder organizations have already been invited to participate in the process, and have agreed to do so.
  2. W3C Evaluation of LTO Submission:
    1. W3C acknowledges the LTO's submission of intent to develop an Authorized Translation. W3C may stop the process at this point, either because it does not consider the submission to be acceptable (see, for example, additional note 'g'), or because it does not consider the required effort to be justified in terms of the general operations of W3C. In general W3C will not approve multiple authorized translations for the same document and language, although issues such as French vs. Canadian French, or Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    2. If the submission is approved by W3C, W3C notifies the LTO to proceed with the preparation of a Candidate Authorized Translation.
  3. LTO Preparation of Candidate Authorized Translation (CAT).
    1. The LTO prepares a Candidate Authorized Translation (CAT) of the document.
    2. When complete, the LTO announces the CAT and its URI on the translators' mailing list..
  4. W3C Initiation of Review Process:
    1. W3C announces a review period of at least 30 days of the CAT on the translators' mailing list, specifying a separate, publicly archived mailing list, in W3C or W3C Chapter Web space, to be used for commenting. This mailing list may be a per-language list for all CATs in that language, such as public-auth-trans-hu@w3.org for any Hungarian CAT, or a list specifically set up for that CAT. All comments on the CAT must be sent to this list. Postings to the mailing list may either be in the language of translation or in English.
  5. LTO Notification of Review, Monitoring of Comments, and Revision of CAT:
    1. The LTO notifies the stakeholder organizations of the availability of the CAT, the start of the review period, and the existence of the mailing list for comments; directs them to send comments to this mailing list; and copies this notification to the general translators' mailing list.
    2. The LTO monitors the mailing list comments; provides clarification when necessary; and summarizes consensus on specific issues (when possible) to help the ongoing discussion.
    3. After the end of the review period, the LTO issues a new version of the CAT as needed, and provides a list, in English and the language of translation, of the points raised, and a summary of the discussions during the review period, describing the problems found and solutions agreed with the other reviewers. This summary must be posted both to the publicly archived mailing list for this CAT, and to the general translators' mailing list.
    4. In the event that no comments or only very few comments are received during the review period, the LTO ensures that a majority of the reviewing organizations send email to the publicly archived mailing list for this CAT, confirming that they have in fact reviewed the document, and that they consider it to be an accurate translation.
    5. The LTO then advises W3C whether a new review round is necessary or not.
  6. W3C Response to LTO Summary:
    1. W3C considers the public comments and changes made to the CAT in response to these comments, and decides, in coordination with the LTO, whether the document can be designated an Authorized Translation.
    2. If W3C decides that the document cannot yet be promoted to Authorized Translation, it repeats the process from step 4.
    3. If W3C decides that the document can be promoted, then:
      1. The LTO delivers the document to W3C in valid (X)HTML with UTF-8 encoding, using the same presentation style as the original document (via CSS style sheets predefined by W3C) and following the guidelines of the W3C I18N Activity (for example, the proper usage of language tags, encoding declarations, handling bidirectional text, etc.) Recommended tools include in particular the W3C Validators and the Internationalization Checker.
      2. The LTO adds a disclaimer to the document (see the section on disclaimer boilerplate) and transfers the copyright of the document to W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
      3. W3C publishes the authorized translation on the W3C site (either on the W3C server or on the site of a local W3C Chapter, whenever applicable), and adds the new translation to W3C Translations’ site. Authorized W3C Translations should be clearly identifiable, eg, via a separate list on the page, and/or a distinctive visual style, etc.
  7. Errata management:
    1. The LTO has to set up and maintain a public "errata page" (linked from the document, see the section on disclaimer boilerplate). This page is a list of translation errors, and their corrections. Errata can be reported through the mailing list that served as a review, or by any other publicly archived mailing list that the LTO sets up; that mailing list must be clearly identified on the errata page. The LTO must keep the errata page up-to-date.

Additional Notes and Requirements

  1. Related to step 1: Many different types of organizations can be "lead translating organizations". For example, it can be the local W3C Chapter, a university research group, the local branch of ISO, a specific disability organization. In some, exceptional, cases it may also be an individual whose translation work is well known to W3C already.
  2. Related to step 1.1: for example, in the case of WAI documents, this should include local disability organizations and accessibility research organizations. As another example, for a Semantic Web specification, this should include representatives of the major research and/or university groups active in the area.
  3. Related to step 1.1: in some cases, usage of specific glossaries is required and the Authorized Translation of the necessary subset is a prerequisite for the Authorized Translations of other documents. This is the case, for example, for certain WAI documents where the "Basic Glossary for WAI Documents" should be used.
  4. Related to steps 2 and 6: whenever appropriate, W3C will involve the local W3C Host or Chapter staff in the assessment.
  5. None of the existing translations (listed on the W3C Translations’ site) is automatically promoted to an Authorized Translation. LTO's should follow the steps described in the Policy for Authorized Translations if they wish to have an existing translation promoted, however they may wish to propose their existing translation as a Candidate Authorized Translation.
  6. Any translation of a new version of a W3C document should go through the same process.
  7. This policy applies to full and stable W3C documents only, and not for abbreviated versions, excerpts, or W3C Working Drafts.  While the obvious documents to translate are W3C Recommendations, some W3C Activities maintain a list of additional documents whose translations are welcome. This is the case for the the WAI or the QA activities.
  8. If the document has normative references to other W3C Recommendations, the references to the original, English version should be kept in the translation. An exception to this rule is if there is already an Authorized Translation in that language. In that case, both the reference to the original English text and the Authorized Translation should be used.
  9. Whenever possible, figures in the document should also be translated (if the translator can get access to the original source files for the images). Also 'alt' attributes to HTML 'img' elements, 'title' attributes to, e.g., 'a' elements, etc, should be translated. However, the text in example code (for instance XML element names) should not be translated, as the risk of the translation leading to syntactic or semantic errors in the example code is too high.
  10. Once the authorized translation has been published, the LTO is responsible for the errata management. Over time the LTO may wish to hand this task over to another organization. For a new organization to be accepted as a (new) LTO, it has to understand and accept all responsibilities listed in step 7.

Disclaimer Boilerplate

Important: The following text should be added at the top of each translation. All text in this disclaimer, except for the original title and the reference to the LTO at the top, must be in the target language.

Title of the Original W3C Document [in English]

Lead translating organization: Address, homepage link, possibly name(s) and address(es) of the coordinator(s) of the translations

Authorized [Language] Translation (e.g., "Traduction Française Agréée")

Date of publication [of the authorized translation]

This version:
URI of this document
Most recent version:
URI of this document
Original version:
Dated URI of the original W3C document
URI of an errata page, as described in item 7 of the policy.
Lead translating organization:
Address, homepage link, possibly name(s) and address(es) of the coordinator(s) of the translations
Partners in the translation review:
URI of the notification mail that has started the translation process, as described in item 1 of the policy.
Summary of public comments on the Candidate Authorized Translation:
URI of the summary described in item 5.3 of the policy.

This is an Authorized Translation of a W3C document. The publication of this translation followed the steps described in the Policy for W3C Authorized Translations. In case of disputes, the authoritative version of the specification is the original, English document.

Judy Brewer, Ivan Herman, last updated on $Date: 2023/10/30 09:31:35 $ by $Author: xueyuan $