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Re: I-D file formats and internationalization

2005-11-30 12:07:56
For that matter, most Americans don't speak English

On Nov 30, 2005, at 10:43 AM, Hallam-Baker, Phillip wrote:

From: ietf-bounces(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org 
[mailto:ietf-bounces(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org] On
Behalf Of Robert Sayre

Unicode support is a different matter. I find the current
IETF policy to be incredibly bigoted. Many RFCs and I-Ds are
currently forced to misspell the names of authors and
contributors, which doesn't seem like correct attribution to
me. So, I recommend that the IETF secretariat and the RFC
Editor change their policies to allow UTF-8 text files. That
way, older RFCs and I-Ds produced using the current tools
would follow the same encoding.

I'm sure someone has already suggested this approach, but
I'll add my voice to the chorus.

It might seem odd to people whose names do fit in ASCII but there are a
lot of people who care about this type of issue.

In effect the message is sent out 'you do not really belong here', 'you
are a second class citizen', 'the IETF is an American organization and
the only people who really matter are going to be American'.

The fact that Brian is English and lives in Zurich is irrelevant. People
take their names very seriously and personally. It's a question of
outreach. Having one meeting out of three held outside North America
each year is not outreach, it is a holiday.

I am currently at the W3C AC meeting. They are also involved in the
ongoing 'internet governance' discussions but the W3C is involved a
participant in the discussions while the IETF is one of the topics of
the discussions. Needless to say it is better to be a participant than
the topic. The W3C has avoided concern by being conspicuously
international in its approach. The IETF has had the attitude 'this is
the way we do things here, nobody asked you to like it'.

So far 700 translations of W3C specifications have been made by
volunteers. I don't know what the quality of the translations are, I
would certainly be upset if one of my engineers used a translation as
the basis for writing running code. But those translations are certainly
used by academics to teach comp-sci courses in those languages and a
large number of students who would have found it difficult to understand
the material in translation have come to understand and use the

It is simply a fact of modern life that the ability to speak English
well is an essential qualification for almost all forms of knowledge
work, particularly at the research and elite levels. That does not mean that a group of mostly English speakers should also make good English an
essential qualification at the apprentice and journeyman stages of
learning the craft.


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