A Checklist for Internationalizing XML

Is software available in your language or script?

If it is not, then the reason is probably that developers do not have enough information. Think about it: if you were an American developer and you want to add Chinese support (or Malaysian or Ukranian), where can you find it?

It is the responsibility of Government, academia, national standards bodies and people of goodwill to ensure that there is enough information available.

This article gives a checklist for the information that is required in the particular case of XML. But Governments would do well to start projects to collect and publish all the information needed for internationalization ("i18n") of software for their nation.

Before you get to XML...


  1. Standardize character repertoire and representative glyphs
  2. Standardize character names
  3. Standardize character collation sequence
  4. Standardize other character properties (spacing, punctuation)
  5. Standardize character encoding
  6. Standardize names for the script which use these characters
  7. Standardize names for the languages which use these scripts
  8. Standardize names for all variant scripts and dialects
  9. Submit the characters, properties and names to ISO, for inclusion into ISO 10646, ISO 639, and ISO 3166, to the Unicode Consortium, to IANA, and to the Java people.


  1. Create reference character set translation utilities between your character set and UTF-8
  2. Create a standard keyboard layout, and sample input method specification
  3. Create a reference implementation of the input method software for the major operating systems

There is an ISO technical report which lists these kinds of information.


  1. Create reference font
  2. Study and list all typesetting customs and traditions in your locale, language or script. Make this list available to ISO SC 34 (DSSSL) and W3C style-sheet Working Group.
  3. Create standard element types for any unique typesetting customs.


  1. Create a list of translations of standard XML or SGML terminology
  2. Create a FAQ relating XML issues to your language and script in particular
  3. Create test files featuring your language and character encodings
  4. Create reference ports for leading back-end text processing software: SP, PERL
  5. Put all this on the WWW at a central location: put it all in your language and in English. Register your site with Robin Cover's SGML & XML Website.
  6. Provide a forum for feedback and discussion
  7. Contact leading (Western) developers to discuss what information they require
  8. Create standard web pages for error messages in your language, which products can link to for instant localization