– Mark E. Smith

Much to my surprise, the French have translated “To Hell with WCAG 2.” Also to my surprise, A List Apart’s copyright policy permits this sort of thing if a certain statement is provided (“Translated with the permission of A List Apart Magazine and the author”). It wasn’t, and I didn’t give permission. Also, there were a few inaccuracies in the translation, which I will ask to be corrected.

Moreover, the French didn’t just translate the article, they duplicated that translation and interspersed various fiskings from three commentators, Aurélien Levy, Jean-pierre Villain, and Monique Brunel. The problem here is that they are reproducing my entire article to fisk only certain portions of it. This would be impermissible under Canadian fair dealing. I am aware that these people aren’t Canadian residents.

I presume that A List Apart, and the French commentators, and everyone but me and my lawyer will think I am just being a spoilsport here, but I didn’t approve of the translation, let alone approve it, nor did I approve the creation of a derivative work (my entire article plus fiskings). All of you save for me and my lawyer will presumably advise that I simply go with the flow and work in the spirit of Internet openness and collaboration. I’m open enough already. I provide sufficient copyright permissions as it is; not only have I never turned down a request for translation, I’ve always assisted the translators and have proofed translators’ French-language copy. I don’t have a degree in linguistics for nothing.

I never agreed to any of this – at all – and I object to it.

Nevertheless, let me fisk the fiskers. And let me just state up front that I resent being labelled – four times – as tendancieux (tendentious “expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one”). I was also described as spécieux (specious “superficially plausible, but actually wrong”).

  1. Vous pourrez continuer à utiliser des tables de mise en page.

    • L’interprétation est tendancieuse. Le point… ne concerne pas l’usage des tables mais celui d’une mauvaise utilisation de balisage pour créer une relation de structure entre des éléments de contenu.

    • […] Interdit bien par exemple l’utilisation de tableau de mise en forme mal imbriqués qui ne se linéariseraient pas correctement. Donc il y a interdiction de mal utiliser les tables de mise en pages mais pas de les utiliser tout court ce qui pourrait être le cas sur un niveau de directive supérieur.

    Tables for layout are permitted and repeatedly discussed. Even if you are prohibited from using them in a way that does not linearize properly (an outdated 1999-era construct), you can still use them.

  2. Si les vidéos ne sont pas pré-enregistrées (webcam par exemple), je ne vois pas comment on pourrait sous-titrer.

    Webcams aren’t “video” under WCAG 2.

  3. Apropos of podcasts and captioning:

    Effectivement Joe Clark a tort sur cette critique, il est clairement indiqué dans comment satisfaire la directive «Fournir une alternative textuel au contenu non textuel»:

    For non-text content that presents information, such as charts, diagrams, audio recordings, pictures, and animations, text alternatives can make the same information available in a form that can be rendered through any modality (for example, visual, auditory or tactile). Short and long text alternatives can be used as needed to convey the information in the non-text content. Note that pre-recorded audio-only and pre-recorded video-only files are covered here.

    L’alternative texte est donc bien obligatoire dans le cas d’un podcast. Quant au diaporama, il sera effectivement nécessaire de les soutitrer ou de s’assurer que les aides techniques ont bien accès successivement aux différentes alternatives textuelles.

    By Jove, I think he’s got it. And it only took three weeks and hundreds of pairs of eyes to find it. This not, however, a smoking gun.

    Apparently, according to the suggestions in the purely informative and optional Understanding WCAG 2.0 document, you can use short and long text equivalents for your podcast. Due to poor writing, that really means short or long. In other words, you can label it with the word “podcast.” You still don’t have to transcribe it. You may do so. Nothing has changed in that regard: Under WCAG 1 or 2 or Section 508 or BITV or under no accessibility rules whatsoever, you may transcribe your podcast. But you do not have to.

  4. Skipping repetitive links:

    Le libellé des liens, compréhensible hors contexte, me semble aussi plus important que leur nombre.

    And here we have this Jaws-derived nonsense of ensuring that your links make sense out of context. They don’t have to. Links are not provided out of context; they are inline elements. You cannot create a document that reads linearly and has a programmatically-determinable parsing yet can also be remixed after the fact by some screen reader that happens along.

    When I hear the phrase “links out of context,” I take out my revolver.

  5. Effectivement Joe Clark se laisse emporter et tire des conclusions hâtives ou encore ces fameuses erreurs d’interpréation. A noter que dans tous les cas la directive est de niveau 1 et non de niveau maximum comme le dit Joe Clark.

    Apparently my errors of interpretation are now famous (“notorious”?).

    The source to which this complaint refers includes all of the following: The actual WCAG 2 document, both of the “informative” documents, and all priority levels. I explained that up front: “Based on the three documents I read, taking into account both required and suggested practices, let me explain what WCAG really says.” I did not claim that only the “maximum” level was involved.

  6. One of the French has decided that WCAG Samurai should concentrate on producing learning materials for WCAG 2, including corrections of errors and omissions. We may eventually do that last bit, but we aren’t doing so right out of the gate.

    I reject any proposition that we should appease WAI or act as though WCAG 2 were really any good to begin with. I’m not going to sit here and write learners’ guides to a standard that’s broken in the first place. If the French want this sort of thing to happen, they can put their money where their mouths are and do it themselves. And on that, we seem to agree: C’est à l’ensemble des acteurs spécialisés de s’approprier WCAG 2.0 de produire le fond pédagogique nécessaire, les cadres techniques d’application et les cadres réglementaires. Il est de notre responsabilité de commencer ce travail.

    They aren’t done yet:

    Le sujet du WCAG Samurai est clairement d’établir une scission avec WAI et WCAG, à l’image de ce qu’est le WHATWG pour HTML 5.

    We aren’t breaking away from anything. Our first course of action is to write errata and explanations for WCAG 1.0. We use WCAG 1 as a base.

    I am also accused of une guerre ouverte avec WAI menée par une «figure» de l’accessibilité. Open war with WAI? If so, who fired the first shot? There ain’t no “war,” honey. War is hell; to hell with war against WCAG 2. We shall be working from WAI’s published guidelines.

    WCAG Samurai is also accused of hypocrisy for criticizing WAI’s lack of openness when we are no more open. WCAG Working Group pretends to be open and isn’t. We state up front that we’re a closed shop. For the umpteenth time: WAI’s industry- and academic-dominated process masquerading as an open forum has failed to deliver adequate accessibility guidelines. We’re trying something else. It may work; it may not. But we know WAI’s method doesn’t.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.06.08 13:21. 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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