[whatwg] Localized error messages

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Dec 8 20:48:21 PST 2004

On Thu, 25 Nov 2004, [ISO-8859-1] Olav Junker Kjær wrote:
> Concerning validation error messages, the spec says:
> > The default action is UA-specific, but is expected to consist of 
> > focusing the element (possibly firing focus events if appropriate), 
> > and alerting the user (ideally using a non-modal mechanism such as a 
> > help balloon) that the entered value is unacceptable in the user's 
> > native language along with explanatory text saying why the value is 
> > currently invalid.
> At first glance it seems reasonable to display errors in the users 
> default locale, the same way that date formats etc. follow the users 
> locale. However, it has some ugly consequences when combined with custom 
> validation and hints like the title hint to patterns, since these 
> messages typically will be in the same language as the page.

There is no alternative really. We can't very well require that UAs 
translate their messages into every language under the sun just in case 
the user happens to visit a page in that language.

> Therefore I think the best UI would be to display the messages in the 
> same language as the page, rather that in the users default language. 
> (We may assume that the the user understands the language of the page 
> since the user is in the process of filling out a form on that page)

Speaking as an English speaker in a Norwegian-speaking country, I can 
assure you quite emphatically that the act of filling in a form in one 
language does not in any way shape or form give any indication as to my 
understanding of the language the form is written in.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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