Can a single epub3 contain texts of multiple languages?

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I am in the process of translating sacred texts, for which I intend to provide the original text in language 1, then its meaning in language 2.

And reproduced reference articles that might be in language 3.

So, can a single epub3 contain texts in multiple languages? If so, how?

Thanks for the assistance.

Are you asking about intermingling different languages in one rendition, or having entire renditions of the content in different languages?

If the former, the xml:lang attribute would be used to differentiate text in the source. I'm not sure what problems you're anticipating, but HTML elements/attributes, Unicode, and CSS can all variously be used to set the rendering of the text.

If you're looking to create separate renditions, have a look at the Mutliple-Rendition Publications spec. You can use the rendition:language attribute on the rootfile elements to differentiate the texts, and a mapping document would enable the user to move from the same spot in one to the other.

The only caveat on this approach is that the specification is only a proposed recommendation, so it probably won't be until later in 2015 before support begins to materialize.

I was talking about intermingling different languages in one rendition. I didn't know that you could use HTML & CSS attributes in epub3... I guess I have to learn to do that. I hope more readers support epub3 and I hope it becomes the standard over Amazon's formats. Thanks a lot for the info, Matt.

Native HTML5 methods should be preferred, as CSS support is never guaranteed even in the browser world (although with EPUB 3 I can't think of a reading system that doesn't have any CSS support). The bdo/bdi elements together with xml:lang the dir attributes are they key ones to look at.

EPUB 3 also has support for vertical writing through the CSS 3 Writing Modes module, but see the section in the content docs spec for some caveats on use.

In terms of support for these features, have a look at the epub support grid. If you follow the link to compare features, just select the global language support set, or the features critical to what you're planning. (The results really need labels instead of test numbers, unfortunately, but you can hover to see the descriptions or expand.)

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