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RE: This week's article: Content Language


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jan 23, 2006 1:15PM

On Mon, 23 Jan 2006, John Foliot - WATS.ca wrote:

> Standard 7.5 (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/clf-nsi/inter/inter-07-05_e.asp)

I have difficulties in finding out what the "standard" is. Is it something
defined by the national standards body, or a rule issued by some
government body, or part of the law? But probably government officials are
more or less forced to comply with it.

> All Web pages on all GoC Web sites must incorporate navigational buttons

Good grief - they really require buttons that contain the names of the
languages, rather than semantics links. It seems to be a rather direct
consequence of the ideological principle about equal emphasis on the
languages. I wonder why they still allow the English button to appear
_first_ (i.e., on the left), instead of requiring a randomized order. :-)

> (a) Language buttons on Welcome pages must be displayed in the manner
> indicated to ensure visual equality and continuity.

So they _require_ splash pages, i.e. intentional obstacles.

> (b) Language navigation buttons on all Content Pages of bilingual Web
> sites must be incorporated in the common menu bar. The language button
> must hyperlink directly to the identical content in the alternate
> official language.

This sounds reasonable, except for the buttonism. If I stumble across a
page in English e.g. by following a link somewhere, perhaps after a
Google search, then I have _no_ idea of where I am except through my
understanding of English. (Well, the government logo is bilingual, so I
know I'm on Canada pages.) My point is that this is poor bilingualism,
since there is no hint in the other language about the content of the

On the positive side, the policy seems to be against bilingual pages, in
favor of bilingual sites consisting of interlinked monolingual pages.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/