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MultilingualWeb - Advancing the Multilingual Web

250500 - Thematic Network

multilingualweb-logo.png

At a glance

PSP -2009.5.2 - Multilingual web content
management: standards and best practice

Challenge

Given the importance of the World Wide Web to communication in all walks of life and the increasing share of websites in languages other than English, it is of paramount importance to ensure the multilingual viability of the World Wide Web. Cross-lingual access to web resources suffers from a lack of language-friendly web conventions. In order to advance the current internationalisation of the Web it is essential to raise awareness of existing best practices and standards related to managing content on the multilingual web.

Goal

The main objectives of the project are:

  • to establish a network between stakeholders for the improvement of the multilingual Web, in order to promote the adoption of appropriate standards and best practices;
  • to hold a number of workshops in order to provide an opportunity for learning about standards and best practices currently available, to explore the needs for the future, and create a basis for long-term synergies between the participants;
  • to improve content development by helping content authors better understand the standards and best practices they should be following and by making relevant tools available to them;
  • to help user agent developers to identify and correctly enable support for multilingual standards and best practices.

Result

The project aimed at raising the visibility of available standards and best practices, encouraging their use and promoting involvement in the development of new standards. At the core of the project there were 4 public workshops (Madrid 2010, Pisa 2011, Limeric 2011, Luxembourg 2012), held over a two year period. Those events gave the opportunity to learn about existing standards and best practices, get a clearer view of where we stand and discuss what gaps need to be addressed. The recommendations arising from those meetings address the creation and management of multilingual web sites and content, contain the related costs and eliminate inefficiencies associated with producing multilingual content. Finally, the workshops studied ways of capitalising on the rich multilingual and multicultural contribution of online communities.

The detailed reports of the workshop are available on the the MultilingualWeb website .

In parallel with those activities the W3C developed some practical tools that include an internationalization checker for HTML, a proposed outline for training, and results for tests related to internationalization. The W3C Internationalization Checker is a free service that provides information about internationalization features of a page, help to determine gaps in web page design and indicate ways to improve multilingual web content production.

Impact

MultilingualWeb was expected to contribute to the understanding, improved visibility and use of existing standards and best practices. It is improving transparency and usability of the World Wide Web across the European Union and the rest of the world. It can be considered as a starting point for future, potentially long-term projects in the area of multilingual web standardisation, best practices and tools development.

Co-ordinator

Contact Person:

Name: Richard Ishida
Tel: +44 7986 422 639/+33 4 92385077
Fax: +33 4 92385011
E-mail: ishida@w3.org
Organisation: GEIE ERCIM

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This page is maintained by: Susan Fraser (email removed)