RE: Multilingual DocBook documents... (The DSSSList Digest V1 #237)

Subject: RE: Multilingual DocBook documents... (The DSSSList Digest V1 #237)
From: MARK.WROTH@xxxxxxxxxxx (WROTH, MARK B)
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 06:58:50 -0800
> Norman Walsh <norm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> asked ..
> Hello,
> In some private correspondence, I was reminded that DocBook has
> a LANG attribute on most elements, so shouldn't the choice of
> language really be document based not stylesheet based?  Instead
> of selecting a language by modifying the stylesheet, shouldn't
> the stylesheet support all languages simultaneously?
> I like the idea and I was able to implement a scheme that satisfies
> me, but...there are some interesting issues regarding how generated
> text in a multilingual document should work.

> Should the stylesheet be sensitive to the language of the element
> linked to:
>    Chapter 1 ... See Kapitel 2
>    Kapitel 2 ... See Chapter 1
> or sensitive to the current language:
>    Chapter 1 ... Chapter 2
>    Kapitel 2 ... Kapitel 1
> The latter is easier, but the former might make more sense.  (If
> we imagine that the chapter xref included the title, and the
> title of the German chapter was in German, we'd want the xref to
> format in the German context, yes?)  Or should it do something
> else?
> And what about the Table of Contents? Sensitive to the language
> of the components:
>   Chapter 1 ..... 3
>   Kapitel 2 ..... 19
> or sensitive to the LANG attribute on the wrapper around the TOC?
>   Chapter 1 ..... 3   or  Kapitel 1 ..... 3 
>   Chapter 2 ..... 19	  Kapitel 2 ..... 19
> Does anyone want to weigh in with an opinion?  (And the opinion
> that both are useful and the stylesheet should have a
> configuration option to select the desired result will be
> frowned upon, even though it may turn out to be the right one ;-)
Well, since you don't want to hear "both" :-)...

My 2 cents worth is that in most or all cases the text should respond to
the language in current force.  With your examples (cross references to
e.g. German chapters in English text, or the table of contents) this
seems to me pretty clear (although I'll admit it's a stylistic
preference, not anything more concrete).  

I'm not as sure that the examples cover all of the interesting cases,
though; a reference which, say, includes a caption (as in "See Figure
2-3, 'Table of Supported Languages'") might prefer the caption to be in
the language of the target, not the current context.

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