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Re: Lang attribute and "old" latin


From: Moore, Michael
Date: Apr 25, 2008 6:50AM


You can justify using correct markup on three grounds:

1. WCAG requirement.
2. Forward compatibility for screen readers, even if the characters are
not currently supported.
3. There is a sizable cottage industry of JAWS scripters who could add
support for the characters even if it is not available natively. Given
that this is an academic research project it is conceivable that a blind
researcher may wish to tap into this scripting resource, to add the
capability if documents exist that would become more accessible with the

The university could even complete the scripting, good cs class project,
and the JCF file could be made available with the document.


>>> "John Foliot - Stanford Online Accessibility Program"
>>> < <EMAIL REMOVED> > 4/24/2008 7:04 PM >>>


As far as I know, current screen reading technology only supports a
limited number of languages.

I am in the process of reviewing a number of web documents that feature,
in part, a fair bit of "old Latin" (circa 13th century - it's a cool
academic project). At any rate, W3C guidance states "Clearly identify
changes in the natural language of a document's text and any text
equivalents (e.g., captions)." *AND* the ISO code for Latin is either
"LA" (ISO 639-1) or "LAT"
(ISO 639-2) so clearly this *CAN* be done.

As well, wikipedia suggests that "Screen readers without Unicode support
will read a character outside Latin-1 as a question mark, and even in
the latest version of JAWS, the most popular screen reader, Unicode
characters are very difficult to read." (Is this true, I was not aware
of this. The document often uses &thorn; throughout this old Latin text
- is this going to be an issue?)

The question is, is there any real advantage gained by adding this
information (lang="lat") to the content? It is/would be a huge
undertaking, and if *not* done is pedantically/dogmatically wrong (fails
WCAG P1 4.1), however I am at a loss to explain any real value in doing
it to the client as at the end of the day I cannot myself find a "real
justification" that would improve the accessibility of the document.

Thoughts, arguments (either side) and other support gratefully accepted.