Creating Accessibility Documents – Episode 7 – Languages
November 15, 2019
Dean Halstead: Hi. My name is Dean Halstead. I’m the Federal Accessibility Lead here at Microsoft. In this episode, I’m going to focus on how to properly identify different languages that are used within a document. By setting the correct language for sections or areas of a document that are written in different languages, you’ll remove all those annoying, squiggly misspelled warnings and help those with assistive technologies to be able to read the document. Screen readers cannot infer meaning or syntax, or auto-detect languages reliably without proper formatting. This accessibility of topic does not mean that you need to set the language for all uses of different languages. If the different language is simply a proper name or technical term or even a foreign word that has become commonly used. You can skip the setting of that language. Let’s look at a couple of examples. In the accessible example, notice that your eyes will strain from all the misspelled words or at least what Word thinks is misspelled words. This is due to the fact that the automatic proofing in Word is not correctly set to Spanish, we can verify that by selecting the paragraph and choosing review tag in the ribbon. Then, selecting “language” and set “proofing language”. Notice that it is set to English. In the second accessible example, we do the same validation and see that it is correctly set to Spanish, the lack of spelling errors also point to the fact that we have set the language correctly. Notice the next paragraph below that it has words like foyer, Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro, and croissant. All these are exempt from setting the language since they are proper name, technical term, or foreign words that have become common use in the language. By setting the language of a large section of the document or an entire document that contains other or mixed languages, screen readers can better read the document in the appropriate language. This rule has the following exceptions; Number one, Proper names. Number two: Technical terms. Number three: Foreign words that are common. To create accessible documents, verify when text is in a different language that the correct language is identified.