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RE: Bi-lingual alt-text


From: John Foliot - WATS.ca
Date: Jun 30, 2005 8:34AM

Marc Tierney wrote:
> HI Just a query.
> I'm involved in producing a bi-lingual website for a
> community group, in
> English and Welsh.
> When it comes to the Welsh part of the site, in which
> language should I
> put write the alt text for pictures.
> Obviously to keep it PC I should put them in Welsh in line
> with the rest
> of the language on that page, however what is the point if a screen
> reader can only work in English?
> Has anyone got any experience of producing bi lingual
> websites with alt
> tags.
> Let me know!
> Marc


Bilingualism is a real issue here in Canada, and so I suspect I can help.

Within the federal government, they are mandated (legislated!) to provide
all content in the language of "source"... In other words the alt text must
be in French if the page content is in French. This also extends to
MetaData as well (keywords, description, etc.), and any other language
sensitive content. So I would suggest that you provide the alt text in
Welsh for the pages authored in Welsh.

Remember, ALT text is there for more than just screen readers. Text only
browsers, hand helds, etc. do not support images, and so the ALT text in
those instances is important to the end user. Some users may also
deliberately disable images in their browsers due to slow connection speeds,

I will also suggest that none of your visually impaired users will be
accessing the Welsh content anyway, as I am unaware of any screen reader
that supports the Welsh language - thus they will be accessing the English
version (no?). Most Western screen readers support about 7 - 10 languages
(JAWS 6.0 currently supports US English, UK English, French, Canadian
French, Castilian Spanish, Latin America Spanish, German, Italian, Finnish,
Brazilian Portuguese).

[O.T. - if anyone is aware of screen reading software that supports other
languages, such as Welsh, could you kindly share that info?]

Hope this helps.