XML and Internationalization...

Nigel Hutchison nwoh at software-ag.de
Tue Nov 10 17:42:47 GMT 1998

 I think one of the issues in the internationalisation of SGML/XML/HTML is
as follows.

Internationalising a document means creating it so that subsequently is
very convenient to be localised.

That implies if I give my SGML product documentation to a professional
translators to be translated into German say, how do they  know which parts
to be translated and which to be left alone?

for example if one of them finds

<select name="transport">
<option value="car">Car</option>
<option value="bus">Bus<//option>
<input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Submit">
<address street ="Transport Street, 234</address>

How does he or she know to translate "Car" and "Bus" but not "transport".,
"car" ,"bus" or "Transport Street"?
Which "submit" does he or she translate?

We need some kind of annotation. This annotation could or should be have
SGML syntax so that high powered SGML authoring tools can present the text
to be translated, and protect the text which must be left alone.

In an XML scenario one possible option is that you leave the XML data as it
is and provide localised style sheets to present the data  according to the
locale. Using xsl:define-constant to define localisable strings 

like this.
<!-- Please Localise values (but not names!!)-->
  <xsl:define-constant name="Car" value="Car"/> 
  <xsl:define-constant name="Bus" value="Bus"/>
  <xsl:define-constant name="Transport" value="Transport"/>
 <xsl:define-constant name="Submit" value="Submit"/> <!-- in the sense of
sending a form off"-->
<!-- End Localise -->

Then the translator at least knows what he has to do.

Nigel W. O. Hutchison
Technical Consultant
Software AG Germany		                              
mailto:nwoh at software-ag.de
Tel +49 (0)6151 92 1207                   

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