Document Localisation

Document localisation (known as 'HTML Inernationalisation' in the RFC documents) is a separate extension to standard HTML, to provide methods for creating HTML documents in other languages other than English. In most Western languages for example, the text flows from right to left and from the top to the bottom of the page. In other languages (Hebrew, Arabic, some Chinese dialects), this isn't the case. HTML Internationalisation is effectively a pair of specifications to address such issues.

A full discussion of HTML Internationalisation is outside the scope of this reference and so users are encouraged to obtain the following documents:

RFC1766 (Tags for the Identification of Languages)
This rfc discusses (in detail) the standardised use of the LANG attribute, for specifying the language content of elements. Basically, the LANG attribute takes any ISO-standard language code, which basically specifies, in two parts the language, followed by a sub-definition which specifies information such as dialect descriptors etc. For example, 'fr' for French, 'de' for German, 'en-valleys' for English language, with a South Wales 'valley' regional accent/dialect.

RFC2070 (Internationalization of the Hypertext Markup Language)
RFC2070 builds on RFC1766 and introduces attributes such as CHARSET, DIR and elements such as <BDO>. These attributes are intended to be supported by all elements that contain, or display some textual information that may be language dependant.

For further details about document internationalisation, readers are encouraged to seek out the two above-mentioned RFC documents.

Note that with recent advances in font-embedding technology with the version 4.0x browsers, it's possible to dynamically embed fonts in documents. These can include localised fonts (Japanese character sets for example). For example, for Netscape 4.0 and above, an author can create a font-definition file which can be included into a style sheet by using:

<STYLE TYPE="text/css">
@fontdef url(;



with elements then using the font as they normally would for style sheets. Internet Explorer 4.0 supports the @font-face style sheet property for embedding fonts. For more details about font embedding, visit either the Netscape, or Microsoft web sites.