Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force Charter

The mission of this task force is to document requirements for the layout and presentation of text in the official languages of Eritrea and Ethiopia that employ Ethiopic (Ge'ez) script when those languages are used by Web standards and technologies, such as HTML, CSS, Mobile Web, Digital Publications and Unicode.

The documents will provide requirements for the development of W3C standards affected by languages used in Eritrea and Ethiopia that utilize Ethiopic script for their written language. This document will not address requirements for languages of these regions that utilize Roman script as a basis for written language.

Ethiopic script is also used by communities outside of Eritrea and Ethiopia, and participation in this work by those communities is welcomed. This task force will gather and integrate feedback from the participating members about the need for and technical feasibility of various requirements.

The Task Force is part of the Internationalization Interest Group.

The aim of this Task Force is to follow the example of Requirements for Japanese Text Layout and collect information about specific use cases for technologies defined in various Web specifications as they relate to the aforementioned script. The Task Force will report the results of its activities as a group back to the Internationalization Working Group, as well as to other relevant groups and to the W3C membership and community.

Join the Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force.

End date 31 December 2017
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chair Daniel Yacob (TopQuadrant)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 2)
Richard Ishida
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: On an as-needed basis. Preferably, a minimum of one status meeting per month.
Face-to-face meetings: On an as-needed basis.
Video Conferences: On an as-needed basis.


The main objective of the task force is to document typographic and layout requirements for languages using the Ethiopic script, for use with Web standards such as HTML, CSS, and Digital Publication technologies.

In addition to those technologies mentioned above, the group may review (but is by no means explicitly limited to reviewing) the following:

Along with reviewing the above mentioned specifications and related specifications, it is expected that the group will also gather comments and questions about those specifications, collect information about specific use cases in Ethiopia and Eritrea for technologies defined in those specifications, and report the results of its activities as a group back to the Internationalization Working Group, as well as to other relevant groups - such as the HTML Working Group, CSS Working Group, SVG Working Group, and other Working Groups at the W3C as needed.

Initial set of languages

Ethiopic is used by two of the official languages of Ethiopia (Amharic) and Eritrea (Tigrinya). Including the populations of minority languages also using Ethiopic script, it becomes the basis of literacy for as many as 50 million. Accordingly, the requirements of Amharic and Tigrinya shall set the initial scope of the project. While the basic script is shared by a number of language communites; each will add or remove elements as per their linguistic needs and may also lead to different requirments for fonts, pronunciation and layout.

The initial scope of the project covers Ethiopic script along with western puncutation and numerals used with Ethiopic. A later phase of the project may encompass external scripts such as Roman and Arabic that are regularly formatted with Ethiopic.

At a later date the scope may be extended to cover the writing practices of minority groups employing Ethiopic script. Here is an incomplete list of the languages used in Eritrea and Ethiopia: Argobba, Awngi, Blin, Ge'ez, Harari, Khimtanga (Xamtanga), Sebatbeit, Siltie and Tigre. Additional languages will be included based on the availability of linguistic and typographic experts.


The Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force will not produce Recommendation-track deliverables but will produce documents that can be published by the Internationalization Working Group as Working Group Notes about text layout and related technologies in Ethiopia, Eritrea and elsewhere, the contents of which might include (but by no means are explicitly limited to) the following:

  • Requirements for Text Layout and presentation.
  • Requirements for Digital Publications.

The group may also choose to produce other non-normative deliverables, such as test cases and error reports – under the terms of the Policies for Contribution of Test Cases to W3C, and in coordination with any relevant working groups.

Target deliverables are documents which include but are not limited to Modern & Classical Ethiopic Layout Requirements.


Plans for the main document deliverable are as follows. All deliverables will be made available in English.

Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification FPWD WD for final review WG Note
Requirements for Ethiopic Text Layout Amharic & Tigrinya Q4 2015 Q3 2016 Q4 2016

Other deliverables may be produced on an ongoing basis throughout the life of the charter, and the specific topics to be addressed by the task force and schedule information cannot be determined far in advance, but are driven by the needs of the Web community.

Success Criteria

The success of the Task Force will be evaluated based on how productively it engages with W3C members and the relevant script communities to promote discussion of specifications that affect layout and presentation of languages on the Web, and how effectively it is able to produce additional documents for the refinement, implementation, and adoption of text layout and related technologies in Eritrea, Ethiopia and worldwide.

Relationships to External Groups

Working Drafts and Notes will be published by the i18n WG, and the i18n WG will work with the task force closely to assist with development and review of the documents.


The Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force has no formal dependencies on any W3C Working Groups other than the Internationalization Working Group. Important points of contact are:

Other Groups
The Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force is also expected to take advantage of opportunities for discussion and collaboration with existing groups and communities in Eritrea and Ethiopia as well as groups and communities elsewhere.


To be successful, the Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force is expected to have participation, for its duration, from a representative section of the typographic and digital text publishing communities for each of the main languages covered. Effective participation in the Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force is expected to consume up to one work day per week for each participant; two days per week for editors.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force discussions take place via email, and face-to-face meetings may be called at locations that are convenient to participants in the project.The group may communicate in Amharic or Tigrinya. Any publications or other reports eventually contributed by the Task Force back to the W3C will be made available in English. (Translations may be produced in addition to the English version, but the English version will remain the authoritative version.)

The task force reaches out to the wider international community with discussions and announcements in English on the public-i18n-ethiopic@w3.org list (archive). That list will be used for technical discussions, where necessary, but the group will use github issues to handle most technical or editorial comments and discussions. The public-i18n-ethiopic@w3.org list must archive or point to minutes and summaries of all teleconferences and face-to-face meetings. Meeting minutes will list all attendees at a given meeting.

An administrative list, public-i18n-alreq-admin, will also be used for internal communication about practical matters, such as meeting agenda, which should be published before each teleconference or face-to-face meeting.

The group will use the Internationalization Activity home page to provide updated public information about its activities.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Internationalization Working Group home page and from the home page of the Task Force.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. In cases where there is a need to formally produce a group resolution about a particular issue, its Chair will put a question about the issue to the group and gather responses (including any formal objections); then, after due consideration of all the responses, the Chair will record a group resolution (possibly after a formal vote and also along with responding to any formal objections).

Patent Policy

Participants in the Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force are obligated to comply with W3C patent-disclosure policy as outlined in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy document. Although the Ethiopic Text Layout Task Force is not chartered to produce Recommendation-track documents that themselves require patent disclosure, participants in the group are nevertheless obligated to comply with W3C patent-disclosure policy for any Recommendation-track specifications that they review or comment on.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Ethiopic Layout Task Force within the Internationalization Interest Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Charter Authors: Daniel Yacob, Richard Ishida.