Recommendations from the JTC 1 Cultural Adaptability Workshop (CAW)

1998-01-20/22, Ottawa, Canada


Recommendation 1: Technical Direction

CAW recommends that JTC 1 formulate the following new Technical Direction:

Title: Cultural Adaptability and User Interfaces in Information Technology


Generic cultural adaptability including multi-lingualism

Coded character sets and their characteristics

Interfaces and interaction between users and systems

Method: B+ or C+

Note: "+" stands for an expanded role as lead organization for JTC 1 cultural adaptability considerations and external links related to them.

Recommendation 2: Policies and processes to ensure cultural adaptability.

In order to ensure appropriate implementation of cultural adaptability in JTC 1 standards, CAW advocates that:

1) JTC 1 directives address the requirement for cultural adaptability.

2) Form 3, Proposal for a New Work Item, be modified to address the requirements for cultural adaptability. The following is possible wording under "Purpose and Justification":

" b) The requirements and objectives of the standardization activity with respect to cultural adaptability. If there are none, this should be indicated. "

3) NP Acceptance Criteria be modified. The following is possible wording under "Business Relevance, A.1" as a second paragraph:

"Specific attention shall be given to the requirements of cultural adaptability and the interoperability of cultural adaptability features with other relevant JTC 1 standards."

4) Each JTC 1 subcommittee assume responsibility for ensuring appropriate assessment of cultural adaptability requirements for project subdivisions by addressing this annually in project business plans.

Recommendation 3: Elaborations:

The CAW did not have time to address the request of JTC 1 to "elaborate or amend the definition of cultural adaptability as contained in the document JTC 1 N4627." This work remains to be done. In this context CAW recommends the following elaborations:

Cultural adaptability should be extended beyond adaptation of a standard or technology to specific cultures, but also provides for interoperability among different cultures.

Interfaces and interaction between users and systems encompasses input and output devices in information technology environments, including multimedia, in the following domains:

Physical and logical interfaces between users and systems such as keyboards, mice, pointers, pens, and visual and audio output displays.

Rules for system control by voice, vision, movement, gestures, etc.

Software ergonomics, presentation techniques, graphical symbols, and icons, etc.

Dialogue control in interactions between humans and systems.

Intelligent-system assistance and tutoring.

Interfaces for people with special needs.

Recommendation 4: Placement of SC2, JTC1/WG5 and SC22/WG20.

CAW recommends that SC2 and JTC1/WG5 be placed under this new technical direction. For the placement of SC22/WG20, see the following note:

NOTE: The scope of the proposed new TD Cultural Adaptability and User Interfaces should include responsibility for JTC 1 wide cultural adaptability. However, two existing projects that are already assigned to SC22 should be completed by SC22 (Programming Languages & Software Interface TD). These are ISO/IEC 14651 (International string ordering), and ISO/IEC 14652 (Specification method of Cultural Conventions). After the completion of each project, maintenance work of the resulting standards should be transferred to the new TD. Project 22.15435 ISO/IEC 15435 (Internationalization API) should be the subject of further discussion by SC 22 and JTC 1.

Recombination 5: Response to the CALS community concerning multi-byte character sets and internationalization

CAW reviewed the contribution from HLSG on CALS in document CAW N 07. CAW feels that there is a misunderstanding regarding the content of ISO/IEC 10646 and the relationship between SC2/WG2 and the Unicode Consortium. The following is a much more detailed explanation in response to the specific question regarding character sets.

ISO/IEC 10646 does support a full range of character sets used by all nations. Most national body character set requirements have been included as part of various amendments to ISO/IEC 10646. In addition, there are several proposals under review, which address repertoire additions from several national bodies, liaison organizations and experts via a well-defined process.

SC2/WG2 has a good working relationship with the Unicode Consortium. Both organizations continue to work on the same common architecture and extension mechanisms. The Unicode Standard 2.0 publication is in sync with ISO/IEC 10646 through amendment 7. Future publication of Unicode Standard 3.0 and the next edition of ISO/IEC 10646 are being coordinated to ensure synchronization of the content as well. The latest amendment of ISO/IEC 10646, # 22, is in progress.

CAW recommends to JTC1 to relay the above explanation to CALS community and to extend an invitation to them to participate in future SC2/WG2 meetings to help clarify and avoid any misunderstandings.

Recommendation 6 : Responsibility and Visibility

In the area of cultural adaptability, valuable work is being done outside of JTC1. Some of this work is being done within regional organizations where JTC1 National Bodies are participating, and some is done in other organizations developing standards and specifications.

CAW recommends to JTC1 that this work be recognized, employed, and, where necessary, referenced in JTC1 standards.



The CAW expresses its appreciation to:

a. The drafting committee for its timely preparation of the recommendations.

b. JTC 1/SC 2 and CAW Planning Committee for planning and executing this workshop

c. the National Body of Canada for hosting this workshop and providing the meeting facilities and administrative support. In particular, special thanks to the following individuals:

Mr. Carman Mondello

Mr. Joe Côte

Mr. Doug Langlotz

Ms. Nancy Coll-Brault

d. SCC and its Sponsors - IBM, IATC, Northern Telecom, Digital Equipment, Industry Canada Treasury Board Secretariat , Canaglobe International Inc.