RE: Multilingual Documents [was: HTML forms and UTF-8]

From: Chris Pratley (
Date: Wed Nov 24 1999 - 16:20:00 EST

There are several other benefits to Unicode other than multilingual
documents. A big one is that once you write you software to use it, you
spend a lot less time maintaining it for language support issues. New code
"automatically" supports the languages your software has supported, much
more so than when you use legacy encodings, because someone will write code
incorrectly for other languages. In fact, whole classes of bugs disappear
with Unicode enabling and are not replaced with equivalent sets of new bugs
(e.g. DBCS -enabling)

Chris Pratley
Lead Program Manager
Microsoft Office

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: November 24, 1999 10:37 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: RE: Multilingual Documents [was: HTML forms and UTF-8]

John, il limerick francese ("Une jolie epousette...") non era necessario: la
citazione di Coleridge contenuta nella "signature" della tua e-mail
("Schlingt dreifach...") costituiva gi un esempio sufficiente di documento
multilingue... (Ah! This is the good thing of multilingual systems: that
you can use your own language and anybody else can read it:-)

The fact is that "multilingual documents" have never been a problem, as far
as all the involved languages share the same character set. The real problem
is with *multi-script documents*, and I guess that this shrinks the ratio
even more.

Yet, I always understood that one of the key reasons that caused Unicode to
be settles was to make this kind of documents possible. And indeed, for some
particular applications, multilingual documents are the rule:

- grammar books;

- search facilities for international content (like the search engines on
Internet, or the electronic catalogue of a large library);

- language selection menus;

- public signs, notices, and electronic terminals in multilingual contexts
(Switzerland, India, the EU, an airport).


> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Cowan []
> Sent: 1999 November 24, Wednesday 17.28
> To: Unicode List
> Subject: Re: Multilingual Documents [was: HTML forms and UTF-8]
> Otto Stolz wrote:
> > If only documents containing the very same content in several languages
> > are deemed "multilingual", then the ratio between those documents and
> the
> > other ones will indeed be exceedingly small (as that notorious limerick
> > says: "it requres good light and a very strong sight in order to see it,
> > at all").
> Thank you! You have just given me an excuse to make this a
> multilingual document by posting the following *thing* which I have
> just discovered:
> Une jolie epousette Tours
> voulait de jig-jig tous le jours.
> Mais le mari disait, "Non!
> De trop n'est pas bon!
> Mon derriere exig du secours!"
> I would have sworn that limericks were confined to English (and Lojban).
> --
> John Cowan
> Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! / Schliess eurer Aug vor heiliger
> Schau
> Den er genoss vom Honig-Tau / Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.
> -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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