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Created: January 11, 2005.
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W3C Forms Internationalization Tag Set Working Group with Rechartered I18N Activity.

W3C has announced a rechartered Internationalization Activity through October 2006, together with the creation of a new Internationalization Tag Set (ITS) Working Group. Two other I18N Working Groups formerly constituted as W3C task forces have also been formed: the W3C Internationalization Core Working Group, and Internationalization Guidelines, Education and Outreach (GEO) Working Group.

W3C's Internationalization Activity has the goal of "proposing and coordinating any techniques, conventions, guidelines and activities within the W3C and together with other organizations that allow and make it easy to use W3C technology worldwide, with different languages, scripts, and cultures."

The new W3C ITS Working Group will develop a set of markup elements and attributes "that can be used with new DTDs/Schemas to support the internationalization and localization of documents." The ITS WG will also create best practice techniques documents for developers of DTDs/Schemas, showing how to enable internationalization of their documents.

Prior to authoring a W3C Recommendation for an internationalization/localizability tag set, the ITS WG will publish a set of requirements for development of the internationalization tag set. This document will "incorporate requirements arising from any work on localization formats developed by localization groups (e.g. translatability flags, notes to translators), but will also address requirements for supporting content in the many scripts and languages around the world (e.g. support of bidirectional text, ruby annotations, language/localization information, switch for language alternatives, and indication of glyph variants)."

The Internationalization Tag Set WG will liaise with the LISA (Language Industry Standards Association) OSCAR group "to understand Localization Industry requirements for the tag set and techniques. OSCAR is expected to work on defining related standards for the Localization Industry (the 'Localization XML Properties'). It will also liaise with the OASIS XLIFF TC to understand Localization Industry requirements for the tag set and techniques."

The Internationalization (I18N) Core Working Group reviews specifications produced by other W3C Working Groups, liaising with external bodies and developing specifications. WG members are developing a Character Model for the World Wide Web to provide guidelines to specification developers. They are also preparing a specification on Internationalized Resource Identifiers (IRIs), allowing the use of non-ASCII characters in Web addresses. The I18N Core WG goal is "to enable universal access to the World Wide Web by proposing and coordinating the adoption by the W3C of techniques, conventions, technologies, and designs that enable and enhance the use of W3C technology and the Web worldwide, with and between the various different languages, scripts, regions, and cultures."

The newly formed W3C Internationalization Guidelines, Education & Outreach Working Group (GEO WG) is designed "to help to make the internationalization aspects of W3C technology better understood and more widely and consistently used. The GEO WG will try to ensure that specification writers, web masters, content authors, and others involved in developing and implementing the Web understand the issues involved and the techniques available with regard to supporting international use of Web technology. Its scope will focus on use of W3C technologies, but may also include more general Web internationalization and localization topics. The GEO WG will also provide assistance to other WGs in the Internationalization Activity for publication of educational and outreach materials."

W3C encourages participation in the I18N Activity through involvement in the working groups or participation in the Internationalization Interest Group. The purpose of the Internationalization Interest Group is "to help the Working Groups within the Internationalization Activity with advice and opinions from a larger group of people with knowledge in different languages and cultures as well as different parts of the Web architecture. The three I18N Working Groups report on the progress of their work to the IG, and solicit feedback. The I18N IG also provides a forum to discuss issues related to the internationalization of the Web. Anyone can participate in the Interest Group by joining the mailing list."

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