ID for language-invariant strings

Peter Constable petercon at
Fri Mar 14 17:07:06 CET 2008

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-

> >An OpenType font can have strings for family name (or other various

> >data categories) in multiple languages, but for good

> >internationalization design, what should be passed in programming

> >APIs or put in markup for purposes of selecting a font resource

> >should be completely independent of the current user's UI language.


> I understand.


> >The language identifier (for which I'm spec'ing the use of BCP 47)

> >constitutes part of the key used to index all of the string

> >resources in an OpenType font, so I need to use an ID from the same

> >identifier space.


> I don't understand. "fa" is your language. What "language tag" are

> you using to access the translations?

Let me give a concrete example, which should make this clear. Consider the Microsoft YaHei font: the 'name' table has strings for various data categories, and for a given data category there may be strings in various languages. Consider the data category Family (name ID 1): there are display strings for English and for Simplified Chinese. But we also want a entry that would be the Family name that gets used when the font is referenced in text-drawing APIs or document markup; it doesn't matter at all whether that's the English or Chinese (or some other) name. But it does need a separate entry in the 'name' table, and it will need a BCP47 tag as part of its key. Thus:


Name ID

Lang ID





English display name

¡°Microsoft YaHei¡±



Chinese display name




Language-neutral reference name

¡°Microsoft YaHei¡±

I need a language tag to replace ??.

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