Re: Multilingual DocBook documents...

Subject: Re: Multilingual DocBook documents...
From: Pierre Mai <dent@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 22 Feb 1998 13:24:40 +0100
>>>>> "NW" == Norman Walsh <norm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:

    NW> Hello, In some private correspondence, I was reminded that
    NW> DocBook has a LANG attribute on most elements, so shouldn't
    NW> the choice of language really be document based not stylesheet
    NW> based?  Instead of selecting a language by modifying the
    NW> stylesheet, shouldn't the stylesheet support all languages
    NW> simultaneously?

Wonderful.  This is exactly the thing I was looking for, and thought
of implementing myself.  For background:  We are using DocBook as the
target format for the automatic generation of analysis reports from
our simulation system.  The idea is, that the operator provides a
skeleton document, which contains all non-automatic text, the document
structure, etc.  Then the author selects which automatic reports he
wants to include in his report, which are then generated via perl
(usually results in <table> or <tgroup> elements), and included as
external entities in his document.

Since we usually have to work with at least german and english
versions, we would like to keep them in one document, using the lang

    NW> I like the idea and I was able to implement a scheme that
    NW> satisfies me, but...there are some interesting issues
    NW> regarding how generated text in a multilingual document should
    NW> work.

    NW> Given:

    NW> <chapter label="1" lang=usen id=foo> ...  See <xref
    NW> linkend=bar>.  </chapter>

    NW> <chapter label="2" lang=dege id=bar> ...  See <xref
    NW> linkend=foo>.  </chapter>

    NW> Should the stylesheet be sensitive to the language of the
    NW> element linked to:

    NW>    Chapter 1 ... See Kapitel 2 Kapitel 2 ... See Chapter 1

    NW> or sensitive to the current language:

    NW>    Chapter 1 ... Chapter 2 Kapitel 2 ... Kapitel 1

Well, for my purposes solution two would suffice, since I would be
keeping two "parallel" versions of each chapter.

Also I think, that solution two actually does make sense, too.  In
normal writing, I would normally also use Kapitel in german texts and
Chapter in english texts, even if the referred to chapter has a
german/english title (It seems more natural to say "For further
information, see Chapter 2: Einführung in die Grundlagen der Algebra",
rather than "For further information, see Kapitel 2: ...", since even
a german chapter is a chapter after all)...

    NW> The latter is easier, but the former might make more sense.
    NW> (If we imagine that the chapter xref included the title, and
    NW> the title of the German chapter was in German, we'd want the
    NW> xref to format in the German context, yes?)  Or should it do
    NW> something else?

    NW> And what about the Table of Contents? Sensitive to the
    NW> language of the components:

    NW>   Chapter 1 ..... 3 Kapitel 2 ..... 19

    NW> or sensitive to the LANG attribute on the wrapper around the
    NW> TOC?

Here, too, I'd prefer the second solution, ...

    NW>   Chapter 1 ..... 3 or Kapitel 1 ..... 3 Chapter 2 ..... 19
    NW> Kapitel 2 ..... 19

    NW> Does anyone want to weigh in with an opinion?  (And the
    NW> opinion that both are useful and the stylesheet should have a
    NW> configuration option to select the desired result will be
    NW> frowned upon, even though it may turn out to be the right one
    NW> ;-)

Yes, it would seem to be the only "right" solution, but at least I
would be perfectly happy with the "easier" version.

I hope my incoherent ramblings might help a little, ... ;)

    NW> --norm

BTW: Thanks again for your wonderful work in maintaining and
developing the current style-sheets, your doing great work.  I have
made some changes for our in-house version (better handling for some
elements/features which didn't work), which you might find
interesting.  I'll try to make some patches with comments, in the near

Regs, Pierre.

Pierre Mai <dent@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  "Such is life." -- Fiona in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (UK/1994)

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