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Re: [xml-dev] Non-English languages in XSLT, XML Schema grammars

From: Rick Jelliffe <rjelliffe@-------.---.-->
To: xml-dev@-----.---.---
Date: 4/23/2008 7:38:00 AM
Ramkumar Menon wrote:
> Gurus,
>  
> I had a question. Why is it that languages like XML Schema, XSLT etc 
> allow only English in the element and attribute names ?  I am not 
> referring to the content, but the actual elements and attributes 
> defined by the grammar.
> i.e.  <schema>, <template>, <call-template>, <for-each>, <element>, 
> <attribute> etc....
> Does it make any sense at all to allow these grammars itself to 
> support writing schemas/xslts etc in local languages. 
ISO standards are in English (and/or French) only. Where a standard 
needs technical words that are not found in English (and/or French) then 
the term from the originating language might be romanized and adopted.  

However, national standards can be in the national language(s).  So when 
translating or transposing a standard to Japanese, for example, the 
National Body could decide to use Japanese names and characters. This 
would have the minor inconvenience that the XSLT or Schema would not run 
on any standard software.

But sometimes it is indeed important and appropriate. China's UOF began 
AFIK as a fork of early ODF with sinified names, then Chinese-particular 
features added. 

ISO/IEC SC34 JTC1 has been working on a schema language Document 
Structures Renaming Language (DSRL) which allows you to do simple 
mappings from one language to another. It is exactly right for using as 
a localizing pre-processor. It wouldn't surprise me if in the future 
more standards build DSRL into their processing model. I would only 
expect NBs to use if 1) they did not have universally strong 
English-speaking technical population, 2) they didn't have an alphabetic 
script (e.g. Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew, etc), and 3) their 
language was from a different family than English (e.g. non 
Indo-European.)   Which is primarily the PRC, but it would be great if 
other NBs took up the challenge: it is quite an infrastructure change.

Another view of this is to see it as a user-interface problem. XSLT 
editors need to provide localized views of stylesheets even if though 
they emit the standards English-ish element and attribute names.

The W3C standards are in English. If you wanted to make one in another 
language, you would have to join W3C and argue the case.

Cheers
Rick Jelliffe

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