Re: official languages of ISO / IEC (CIE)

From: Jim Melton (
Date: Mon Nov 08 2004 - 23:21:15 CST

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    In fact, ISO has three official languages: English, French, and
    (putatively) Russian. English is probably the most widely used language
    for IT standards in ISO and many such standards are not published in
    French. Most non-IT standards do seem to be published in both English and
    French (frequently on facing pages, or parallel columns, in the same
    document). ISO's policies say that Russia is responsible for translating
    any standards into Russian that it wishes to translate.

    I do not believe that this set of facts is evidence that French is, or is
    not, the 'second language' of the standards world. It is in ISO, but the
    French might conclude that French is first there and English is second
    ;^) I have no data available to me to suggest what is the second-most
    widely used language for international standards after English, so I could
    not argue for or against French being that language.

    ISO published (publishes?) a Vocabulary standard (try searching on in many parts, some of which are directly related to IT
    standards. I would not be surprised if that standard contained both
    English and French terms and definitions, but I've never investigated.

    Hope this helps,

    At 04:13 PM 11/8/2004 Monday, E. Keown wrote:
    > Elaine Keown
    > Seattle
    >Dear List,
    >Thanks for the answers about font designers. They
    >were all very interesting.
    >At the U.N. and in some countries, they have 'official
    >languages.' The U.N. has 5, I think. Singapore has 4,
    >several African countries have 2-3, and so forth.
    >Does either the ISO or the IEC have official
    >languages? Whether official or not, is French the
    >'second language' of the standards world?
    >And also, is there a bilingual or trilingual standards
    >A glossary is a small-ish dictionary, frquently
    >focused on a narrow topic.
    >I'm about to translate something into technical
    >French.....I still didn't purchase a technical French
    >dictionary because the ones I've seen didn't have
    >enough computer terminology.
    >Thanks Elaine
    >Do you Yahoo!?
    >Check out the new Yahoo! Front Page.

    Jim Melton --- Editor of ISO/IEC 9075-* (SQL) Phone: +1.801.942.0144
       Co-Chair, W3C XML Query WG; F&O (etc.) editor Fax : +1.801.942.3345
    Oracle Corporation Oracle Email: jim dot melton at oracle dot com
    1930 Viscounti Drive Standards email: jim dot melton at acm dot org
    Sandy, UT 84093-1063 USA Personal email: jim at melton dot name
    = Facts are facts. But any opinions expressed are the opinions =
    = only of myself and may or may not reflect the opinions of anybody =
    = else with whom I may or may not have discussed the issues at hand. =

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