The Arabian Oasis

Multilingualism on the WWW



There is no doubt that the World Wide Web has mostly excluded the majority of the world, by developing mostly applications that use the the Latin and West Eurpean character sets mostly. This is rapidly changing now. Standards were developed. However, it remains to be adhered to by both software manufacturers and web developers.

Well-translated material is a valuable resource that should be shared, if appropraite as is the case of international organizations, with the whole world, not only in hard copies.

This page discusses the issues of standards. Examples of good and bad practices are also given. The aim is to give those organizations and/or web developers interested in designing multilingual WWW pages a quick and accurate start.

Some of the links in the reference section are technical. Those for general rading are placed first.

References and Reviews:

 Internationalization of the WWW
 The Multilingual World Wide Web: an introduction.Complete reading of the document is a must for professionals.
 Why are you advocating Accentsoft?
 Choosing a multilingual PC product. A book review
 Creating your own multilingual Web Site. Available in both English and French from the Bable Project.
 The Standard ISO 8859
 UNICODE support by the major software developers
 What the future holds? An example.
 Internationalization of HTML

Seeing is believing:

The following sites offer you the option of choosing the language. A multilingual browser is needed.

 UN-Demo. Accentsoft International Inc. USA
 Alis Technologies Inc. Canada.
 Video On Line (VOL). Italy.

The best personal and business multilingual pages

 The ten Best Global Site award winners

Multilingual Software Resources:

 For Windows 95
 For the Mac

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This is the Line Around the World. It's an effort to get people all around this beautiful planet of ours to be nice to each other. And while we're at it, we might as well meet other great people on the World Wide Web. The way it works is this: A list is being kept, in exact order, of people who've registered to be part of this line. Each person connects to the people in front and in back of her/him on that list, forming one long line around the internet But the great part is that all the people who include themselves in this line are honor-bound to go out of their way to perform an act of goodness. This could be anything from giving 5 dollars or more to the charity of your choice to making lunch for the homeless man out on the corner to complimenting everyone you meet for a month. It's different for different people, but all these people want to do something to make life happier and better. If you might like to join, simply click on the line for more information.

Top ten considerations in creating multilingual WWW pages:

 Use this meta tag <META http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO 8859/x">
 Remeber "Content is king".
 Use the standard ISO 8859/x.
 Keep in mind Lynx users. Do not use imagemaps or other unnecessary graphics.
 If you have to use graphics, always fill in the alt="appropraite text here"
 If you have to use graphics use interlaced GIF. State height and width of the graphic.
 Do not use electronic translators. If you do not know a language, do not write in it.
 Always validate your HTML, especially for Lynx.
 Always start with an English page state what the site is about and any special browsers needed.
 Keep in mind the economic and communication infrastructure of your target audience.

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