Multilingual blogs and sites
The boundaries on the web are linguistic. An increasing number of people have multilingual websites and blogs. However, existing blog software, although localizable, is designed with the monolingual author/reader in mind. HTML specs are designed mainly for monolingual web pages.
- How should similar content in different languages (whether translated, re-phrased, abstracted) be organised and related?
- How should blogging software make this possible?
- Three levels of difficulty (or subproblems):
- Interface for the reader
- Authoring process
- (And a fourth: integration in specific blogging tools)
The microformat approach to markup can clarify the problem space and lead to simpler work in the interface, authoring and integration stages.
We can start with a multilingual blog safari: multilingual-examples
Let's gather links to posts which have already reflected on this question or tried to find a solution (separate page for these?):
- http://web.archive.org/web/20041015024202/www.eibar.org/blogak/luistxo/en/68 (original site down?)
Trying to state the problem again
Many web authors have a multilingual readership. This means a readership composed of people who are monolingual in language A, monolingual in language B, people who are perfectly bilingual and the whole range of language proficiency in-between. Often, the solution found for "multilingual" content is to create "mirror" versions of a site in different languages. This functions for sites which are static or are maintained by a huge team of people. It is not viable for a blog or forms of publication which encourage people to express themselves online by making it easy to publish.
A multilingual site will be a site containing more than one language. How can it be made friendly for all types of readers -- from monolingual to perfectly bilingual, including monolingual people who have enough working knowledge of other languages to make the effort of trudging through an article in a foreign language if it sounds interesting enough? How can we semantically mark up pages containing more than one language, and create logical links between content expressed in other languages with varying degrees of closeness to the original?
Defining sound markup is a good foundation for then working "inwards" and moving towards tools to manage such sites.