The application of localized read-out labels

William_J_G Overington wjgo_10009 at
Thu Apr 17 01:14:55 CDT 2014

Christopher Fynn <chris.fynn at> wrote:

> Whether or not it is important, it is clearly beyond the defined scope
of Unicode so off-topic here.

Well, whether it is beyond the scope of Unicode is not the issue here when considering whether it was reasonable for me to have made the post.

The issue is whether it is beyond the scope of the Unicode Public Email List.

Please consider the following web page.

That page includes the following.


Discussion list for Unicode and general internationalization issues

About 700 members world-wide, discuss such subjects as: implementing the Unicode Standard, discussion of new proposals, etc.

end quote

This mailing list is not only about producing the Unicode Standard, it is also for matters considering implementing end-user projects that use Unicode characters.

Going back to the issue of whether the post is relevant to Unicode as such, the fact of the matter is, that at the time of posting, and indeed now, the document at the following webpage is implicitly due to be put before the UTC (Unicode Technical Committee) meeting in May 2014.

That page includes the following.


There is one further kind of label, called a "read-out", for text-to-speech. For accessibility when reading text, it is useful to have a semi-unique name for an emoji character. The Unicode character name can often serve as a basis for this, but its requirements for uniqueness often ends up with names that are overly long, such as black right-pointing double triangle with vertical bar for ⏯.

Note that the labels need to be in each user’s language to useful. They cannot simply be a translation of an English label, since different words, or even different categorizations, may be what is expected in different languages. The terms given in the data files here have been collected from different sources. They are only initial suggestions, not expected to be complete, and only in English.

end quote

So as the matter is raised in the Unicode Public Email List and is due to go before the UTC in May 2014, then I opine that it is both reasonable and within the rules to discuss the implications of the practical application of read-out labels in the Unicode Public Email List.

In fact, I did not know of this concept of a read-out label in relation to emoji characters before I read that text.

I feel that it is an important matter.

It remains until the meeting for it to become clear what the UTC decides is relevant to its scope.

Until recently, character colour was not in scope, everything was monochrome only. Now character colour is in scope.

So until the Chair of the meeting reaches that topic, who can say what the UTC will decide to be in scope?

I am pleased that the pdf document has been circulated around the world and I hope that it will be of practical use in relation to accessibility.

If the format is used by software manufacturers and by people producing specific localization files so that interoperability is achieved, then that will be a good result.

It would be of great help if the UTC chooses to participate and I hope that it does, yet if that is not possible the format can still be applied by end-users of the Unicode Standard.

Here is a link to another item about accessibility that I produced some years ago.

William Overington

17 April 2014

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