One of the Worldwide Web Consortium's (news, site) main responsibilities is ensuring that standards in web markup are followed. In the wake of stakeholder discussions, such as the recently concluded working group discussions on multilingual web content practices, the organization has released its updated Internationalization Checker.
The W3C's Internationalization Checker is a web application that performs tests on a webpage to determine how internationalization-friendly it is. Dubbed the i18n checker -- named after the W3C's Internationalization I18n Activity -- the application tests the website's markup, character set and other aspects for compatibility with language sets throughout the world.
Web authors enter their site's URL and the service will validate the site for consistency with the W3C's ideals on internationalization. Users also have the option of uploading files for testing web content that is not yet online. The W3C has updated the checker to include a new user interface, revamped source code, HTML 5 support and various other features.
Why Go International?
While most authors would be satisfied with developing websites in their own language, consider your potential audience from outside your own language set and culture. I18n makes sure that web technologies work across languages, scripts and cultures, taking into consideration the various nuances that each will entail.
For example, one of the newest topics that the Internationalization Activity is tackling is the issue on personal names around the world. Names, naming conventions and cultures differ around the world, and this has an effect on how web interfaces should display forms, ontologies and other aspects of the web. And then let's not forget about text direction, in which the majority of the western world reads left-to-right, but other regions read content from right to left.
The W3C's Internationalization Checker validates your website for consistency with International markup
Is It Just International Markets We're Concerned With?
Content management is about the medium of delivery as it is the back-end software that produces the content. As such, we will need to consider how popular mobile devices are becoming. It's the golden age of the tablet and smartphone, such as the iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone and Android. In this regard, being compliant with web markup standards will ensure that your content is accessible not only to desktop browsers, but also to other devices. In the same light, internationalization will expand your potential audience to include other regions, territories, cultures and, of course, devices.
The WWW is "world wide," after all. With Internationalization, you can make it easier for the rest of the world to understand and use your content.