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Status: Working Draft (Req Doc)

Author: Yves Savourel

Indicator of Translatability


[R012] Methods must exist to allow to specify the parts of a document that are to be translated or not.


The content of XML documents can usually be seen as either generally translatable (e.g. an XHTML file), or generally not translatable (e.g. an SVG file). A mechanism should exist to identify the parts of the document that are exceptions to the rule.

The mechanism should also allow for the specification of exceptions within exceptions. For example, within the elements of an SVG document, which are generally not translatable, it should allow one to specify that <text> is to be translated, but also that some occurrences of the <text> element (e.g. with an attribute translate="no") are not to be translated.

The mechanism should be able to map existing elements that already carry implicitly or explicitly the translatability information. Here are some examples of this:

  • The <trademark> element in DocBook may be an indicator of non-translatable content.
  • The <text> element in SVG indicates translatable content.
  • The translate attribute in DITA is used to flag translatability.

The mechanism should provide a way to delimit a portion of the content if such a mechanism does not exist in the original vocabulary (so parts of he content could be marked as translatable or not).

  • The methods used to identify the translatable parts of a document should be useable by localization tools for both:
  • Processing the document directly.

Generating localization properties settings files that can be used on all documents of the same document type.


Part of this requirement is related to the "[1]" requirement.

Another part is related to the "[2]" requirement.

There is a relationship between indicating the parts of a content that are to be translated and the parts of a content that are to be included in "[3]".

The information about the parts of a document that are translatable is not limited to localization. Such information can be used in other contexts. For instance when implementing Accessibility features, it can be used to identify content that need to be process differently from the rest of the document.