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Translating HTML versions of WCAG 2.0

To translate the HTML version, obtain a zip / tgz package of the files you wish to translate from Alternate Versions of WCAG 2.0 Materials. Only HTML files need to be translated; image, css, and script files assist presentation. You may obtain packages of WCAG 2.0, Understanding WCAG 2.0, or WCAG 2.0 Techniques separately, or you may download a single package that contains all three.

Files to translate

In WCAG 2.0, translate the file "Overview.html".

The Understanding and Techniques documents are split into multiple files. "Overview.html" is only the cover page. Instead, translate "complete.html", which contains the entire content. To translate the remaining files, it is best to use the XML translation process to allow them to be generated. You may choose to copy the translation of the complete file into them, but this will be harder to maintain.

WCAG 2.0 Techniques also contain a number of "working examples", standalone sets of files that demonstrate application of a particular technique. These files are located in subdirectories organized by each technique to which they apply. These files are static and do not need to be processed in any particular way, and therefore do not have specific translation requirements.

Format of translation

To support future reusability, the HTML translation should use the same code structure as the orginal. This should allow later porting to XML, which is necessary for further use of the translation. Use a code-safe HTML editor to perform the translation in order to ensure the code structure is not inadvertently changed.

The need to keep the structure the same as the original source applies primarily to elements, not to attributes. Nevertheless, don't change attribute values unless there is a particular need.

Language changes

Use the language attributes as needed to support the translation.

Indicate the base language of the translation with the language attributes on the <html> element.

The The Understanding and Techniques documents have examples in various languages, and the language attribute should be updated if needed. If the examples are in the language into which you are translating the document, it's probably best to find another language for the example, such as English, in order to preserve the example's "second-language" characteristic.


Generally, links should not be updated during the translation process. Especially in the guidelines, links are important parts of the content and should point to the same resource, even if an alternate language version exists.

Cross references to other WCAG documents that you may also translate would need to be updated. Use a placeholder URL on which it is possible to find / replace a final URL at the end of the process. Keep the filename part of the link the same, but substitute the rest of the cross reference with a placeholder.

Links to resources

In the Understanding WCAG 2.0, there are resources that are not as helpful to understanding the translated version as they are for the English version. In many cases, there are probably alternate resources that could replace or supplement some of the resources in the English version. The WCAG Working Group hasn't decided what the proper action for translations is in this case. Possible actions include:

Since this issue is most relevant to Understanding WCAG 2.0, which is not expected to undergo the Authorized Translation process, the Working Group will probably not set strict requirements about this.