Multiple Language Content Type
IETF N. Tomkinson
Internet-Draft N. Borenstein
Intended status: Standards Track Mimecast Ltd
Expires: November 5, 2017 May 4, 2017
Multiple Language Content Type
This document defines an addition to the Multipurpose Internet Mail
Extensions (MIME) standard to make it possible to send one message
that contains multiple language versions of the same information.
The translations would be identified by a language tag and selected
by the email client based on a user's language settings.
Status of This Memo
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Tomkinson & Borenstein Expires November 5, 2017 [Page 1]
Internet-Draft Multiple Language Content Type May 2017
Since the invention of email and the rapid spread of the Internet,
more and more people have been able to communicate in more and more
countries and in more and more languages. But during this time of
technological evolution, email has remained a single-language
communication tool, whether it is English to English, Spanish to
Spanish or Japanese to Japanese.
Also during this time, many corporations have established their
offices in multi-cultural cities and formed departments and teams
that span continents, cultures and languages, so the need to
communicate efficiently with little margin for miscommunication has
The objective of this document is to define an addition to the
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) standard, to make it
possible to send a single message to a group of people in such a way
that all of the recipients can read the email in their preferred
language. The methods of translation of the message content are
beyond the scope of this document, but the structure of the email
itself is defined herein.
Whilst this document depends on identification of language in message
parts for non-real-time communication, there is a companion document
that is concerned with a similar problem for real-time communication:
1.1. Requirements Language
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
"SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].
2. The Content-Type Header Field
The "multipart/multilingual" MIME subtype allows the sending of a
message in a number of different languages with the translations
embedded in the same message. This MIME subtype helps the receiving
email client make sense of the message structure.
The multipart subtype "multipart/multilingual" has similar semantics
to "multipart/alternative" (as discussed in RFC 2046 [RFC2046]) in
that each of the message parts is an alternative version of the same
information. The primary difference between "multipart/multilingual"
and "multipart/alternative" is that when using "multipart/
multilingual", the message part to select for rendering is chosen
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