Re: Language META Tag

Discussion in 'HTML' started by DU, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. DU

    DU Guest

    Samuël van Laere wrote:

    > My site is currently in the Dutch language,
    > i might also offer some English translations.
    > I assume its common practice to provide a language meta tag.
    > So my first question is:
    > Should i use 2-letter or 3-letter codes?
    > []
    > I use HTML 4.01 Strict.

    You've got an excellent question here. I've been wondering about this
    myself too since I have done multi-lingual sites and use strict DTDs. My
    guess is that 2 letter code have been around much longer than 3 letter
    code, so 2 letter code is more established than 3 letter code but since
    iso-639-1 and iso-639-2 are both confirmed valid international norms,
    then both of them could be used and should be accepted. If you glanced
    at a page like

    listing some 437 languages used around, you'll see that some languages
    need the 3 letter code. Maldives (div-MV), India (kok-IN), Syria (syr-SY).

    > And my second question:
    > Do i need to seperate each of my pages by the language used:
    > <meta http-equiv="content-language" content="NL">
    > or will a combination be fine:
    > <meta http-equiv="content-language" content="NL,EN">
    > And the last question:
    > Are those META Tags still usefull for search engines/browser, or is this
    > also possible with htaccess?

    For search engines, yes, they should eventually if they don't already
    (e.g.: advanced search can search for webpages based on
    For browsers, yes, as they will trigger a font download dialog window as
    soon as an unknown lang attribute or content-language is spotted,... and
    I'm sure there are other related possibilities.
    For some translations web-aware applications, they also should be
    useful. E.g. in Opera 7.x, highlighting/selecting a text, then
    right-clicking on it and choosing Translate could bring up a smart
    context-menu of possible language translations, a smart list of "to"
    languages when the "from" language should be recognized.

    No matter what the meta lang and lang attribute situation is on the web,
    in browsers support, in search engines, etc.., the fact that these are
    perfectly valid markup code is enough reason to use these. If eventually
    browsers and web-aware devices, applications, speech browsers, aural
    media applications, assistive technologies, css selectors, etc.. start
    honoring, understanding, supporting these, then your page will be all
    ready and in good valid working order for such features. That's why I
    recommend using content-language header and using lang attribute and
    other related attributes (charset, hreflang, :lang pseudo-class
    selector, etc.) and that's why I've been doing so myself for the last 4
    years even if, at that time, browser support was nil. In any case, no
    one can seriously argue that major browsers in their recent version have
    started to honor and support some (otherwise, many) lang-related

    > Can someone advise me on this?
    > Thanks in advance.
    > --
    > With regards,
    > Samuël van Laere
    > the Netherlands

    Javascript and Browser bugs:
    DU, Jul 9, 2003
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