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Sunday, October 10, 2004

Content Language Negotiation

Content language negotiation is a mechanism to allow visitors to see a website in their preferred language all from the same URL. This mechanism has been present in the HTTP protocol for years, but is fairly seldom used.

A list of references of content language negotiation.

Dan's Web Tips: Languages
Since "World Wide" is part of the name of the Web, it was never intended to be an English-only medium. You can use any language in your Web sites, and various facilities have been added to the standards of the Web to allow you to indicate which languages you are using for the benefit of indexers and translators, and even to intelligently serve different language versions of your pages to suit user preferences. This page describes some of these techniques.

Language Negotiation Notes
Some notes about the negotiation of natural language on the WWW. This page makes no attempt to be a complete tutorial on the topic. It only discusses a selection of issues that seem to keep coming up in discussions.

Apache HTTP Server Content Negotiation
Apache's support for content negotiation has been updated to meet the HTTP/1.1 specification. It can choose the best representation of a resource based on the browser-supplied preferences for media type, languages, character set and encoding. It is also implements a couple of features to give more intelligent handling of requests from browsers which send incomplete negotiation information.

Techniques for multilingual Web
Special techniques are needed when creating a Web site so that information is available in different languages according to user selection. This document especially discusses the language negotiation mechanism developed for such purposes and, as a necessary complement to it, linking to versions in different languages.

Flags as a symbol of language -- stupidity or insult?
Very often flags are used as symbols of languages, on the Web and elsewhere. For instance, a Web page might contain an "English flag" which acts as a link to an English version of a document (which itself is in another language). It is usually bad practice to use images as anchors of links, but this document concentrates on the theme why flags are particularly unsuitable anchors.

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