English words in different language documents

New Here ,
Apr 02, 2021 Apr 02, 2021

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Hello all, I have an accessibility related question. I am hoping to find some guidance with respect to English terms in documents generated for other languages. I'm not finding much out there, and hope someone here may have some guidance.


To be more specific, we are working with a few documents that are written and published in multiple versions, each in different languages. There are some proper terms that do not translate cleanly (Medicaid being the most frequent), as well as some acronyms.


Some colleagues are concerned that screen readers will skip over words and phrases in a different language, creating disadvantages to the foreign language population. I am finding this to be the case with NVDA, at least. In several instances this text is being put into metadata fields (Title, author, keywords) and/or alt text fields, where span tags could not be implemented. This seems to be particularly troublesome for languages such as Russian, or those using non-Western characters (Traditional and Simplified Chinese).


One approach that might work with text is typing out the terms in a transliteration manner, meaning we would type them in a manner that would make them pronounceable in that language. This can be plugged into the Alt Text field for any tag and seems like it would work, but that doesn't help for elements such as image alt text, and metadata. 


My research so far is not yielding a clear answer, so I would love to hear how anyone else is handling this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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