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Translatable access keys in HTML Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010011D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Oct-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Oct-09
Document File: 3 page(s) / 43K

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This disclosure describes a method of making the HTML both accessible and easily translatable.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 50% of the total text.

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Translatable access keys in HTML

The requirements for translation and accessibility of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) pages are apparently incompatible.

     For the purposes of accessibility of HTML pages, it is highly desirable to provide access keys that take the user directly to particular links on the page. The commonest use of such keys are in Windows* applications where, for example, the keys Alt-F (pressing the F-key while holding the Alt key down) selects the File drop-down menu. In order to alert the user to the presence of such access keys, it is standard practice to choose as the access key one of the leading characters of the title that appears on the link and to underscore that character in the link. In order to achieve this in HTML it is necessary to surround the character with tags that start and stop underscoring, namely <u> and </u>.

     For the purposes of translation, it is preferred that only complete sentences are translated and, where this is impossible, for example where words or short phrases are required to save space on buttons and menus, it is highly desirable that complete words be translated. When words contain tagging, such as the underscore tags described above, they cannot be looked up in a dictionary or matched with translation memories and expensive manual translation is required.

     Thus the character string "<u>F</u>ile" that is required for accessibility in the HTML is not fully acceptable for translation.

     One solution implemented in Microsoft systems involves coding the character string directly and an ampersand (&) is placed before the character that is to be underlined. This, too, causes the same difficulty for translation.

     This disclosure describes a method of making the HTML both accessible and easily translatable.

     Preferably, instead of coding the link in HTML, some JavaScript** is used. Firstly, the character string that is to appear in the link, and the access key that is to be used are coded in JavaScript variables:

var linkText = "Next";
var accesskey = "X";

These are now translatable and might appear in the French version thus:

var linkText = "Prochain";
var accessKey = "P";

Human choice has been involved in the selection of the access key, but the text of the link could have been generated by machine. Note that the access key in HTML is not case sensitive and need not be the first character in the text used for the link. To simplify the JavaScript below it is alwa...