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Status: Initial Draft ie. please focus on technical content, rather than wordsmithing at this stage.

Author: Richard Ishida

Annotation Markup


There must be a way to support markup up of text annotations of the 'ruby' type.

[MI What exists in a source document regarding this tag set? For example, ruby text only exists in a target Japanese text. Something like <annotation ruby="required">Bullet Trains</annotation> may be possible, but still the source text won't be able to provide any information about the ruby annotation. I'm simply wondering what impact could be given to the writer's side.]

[[RI Japanese people may be authors and want to use ruby. In addition, Japanese translators may want to add ruby to their translation. Unless a schema intended for multinational use (eg. docbook, html, etc.) defines a document structure that allows for ruby markup, they will be unable to do so. English authors using the same schema for authoring English may not use this - although note that ruby annotation is not limited to furigana, and can be used for interlinear annotations in any language. Hope that answers the question. ]]


XHTML 1.1 contains a [Ruby Annotation] module that provides markup for phonetic or semantic annotation of text such as is common in Far Eastern scripts for Japanese and Chinese. (Ruby is known as furiganain Japan.) As standard mechanism should be proposed to support such annotations.

This annotation mechanism should not be limited to use for Japanese and Chinese.

To support Far Eastern text usage a single annotation text for a given base text is most common. Occasionally, however, two annotations per base text are appropriate.

The Ruby Annotation specification also divides its markup into simple and complex forms, allowing a choice for implementation support. We should probably also allow for this, although we should investigate whether the division is drawn appropriately by the Ruby Annotation specification. For example, we could envisage a simple ruby model, a model that allows two annotations, and another than allows for table like groupings of elements in a single or double annotation approach.

As per the Ruby Annotation spec, we should also specify a fallback mechanism (ie. the equivalent of <ruby-parenthesis>).


We should probably start a proposal by looking closely at the Ruby Annotation spec, however, criticism has been levelled at this spec from some quarters because it is very presentation oriented. We may therefore need to address this.

The Ruby module of CSS3 will provide styling to indicate the expected behaviour of the base and annotation text.

When we come to investigating solutions, the following article by Masayasu Ishikawa will be worth consulting: [Implementing the Ruby Module]