I had this grandiose plan to unite two longstanding interests – Web standards and minority languages, as you will not be surprised to hear, having likely read this posting’s headline – under the assumption that with minority languages under continuous threat, online media are a cheap and usable way to add to the base of reading and writing. (And, I suppose, listening, via audio files.) With more literature, much of it online, languages seem less minoritarian and become less threatened.

If you use standard code, your documents stand a better chance of lasting many years into the future, including through transformations to formats as yet undevised. Whereas tag soup is hard to preserve, interpret, and convert. (You could also say that correct character encoding is a necessity here, at least for languages that use diacritics or non-Latin scripts.)

I asked the Mozilla localization developers the following:

  • Do you think Web standards really have that much of an effect on the creation and preservation of minority-language Web content? Essentially, should people even care?
  • Have Web standards come up at all in your Moz L10N practices?
  • Am I even asking the right questions here?

And the answers were pretty much “Yeah, of course,” with no elaboration whatsoever. (I’ve got a question in with the respondent who did have something to say.)

So much for that.

However, of the 60-odd project pages listed at the Mozilla localization page, only 13 had valid code on their homepages when I checked:

  1. Simplified Chinese
  2. Traditional Chinese
  3. Danish
  4. Esperanto
  5. Estonian
  6. German
  7. Hungarian
  8. Hebrew
  9. Italian
  10. Nynorsk
  11. Portuguese
  12. Spanish
  13. Urdu

Someone later wrote in to point out they’d corrected errors on a 14th, Czech, and that a 15th, Slovenian, was already valid.

So… I dunno if this proves anything or what.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.08.22 14:04. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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