To go back to the starting point of this international documents discussion:
The `Duden' book (see below for a description) mentioned before by in
relation to math typography has an appendix `Richtlinien fuer den
fremdsprachigen Satz' (guidelines for the typesetting of foreign languages),
giving rules in 10 categories for 20 languages, namely (keeping
the numbering)


(1. name of the language)
2.  abbreviations
3.  capitalization (usage of uppercase)
4.  quotation marks
5.  numbers
6.  date format
7.  measures and weights
8.  price labels (?, price statements, price formats? `Preisangaben')
9.  postal code
10. punctuation

Languages (as in alphabetical order in German):
Danish, English, Finnish, French, Italian, Croatian, Latin,
Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Spanish,
Czech, Turkish, Hungarian, Greek, Russian, Serbian.

May be that list could provide a good working base to discuss the
implentation of related features in LaTeX

Some comments on the categories:
2. could be partly handled by TeX, or TeX could at least help
   the user here: in some languages, an abbreviation is always followed
   by `.', in others only sometimes (in English depending on whether
   in ends with the last letter of the abbreviated word). In German,
   the parts of `multi-part abbreviations' (things like u.A.w.g.)
   should be seperated by a thin space (\thinspace does this, but this
   could be offered to the user via a macro)
3. seems to be burdened on the user
4. could be handled via macros (logical markup of quoation marks instead
   of using ligatures)
5. may be partly, may be by a macro with to arguments stating the input
   format and the desired output format (e.g. as language names)
6. could well be handled, but Tex would need to know of the desired
   format (German? or Austrian? or Swiss?), and that's a matter of style
   or taste.
7.,8.,9. I can't see a way for TeX of knowing about these. May be by
   supplying language-sensitive control sequences which would complain
   about a wrong format, but there seem too much possible cases.

The `Duden' referred to here is

`Satz- und Korrekturanweisungen'
Duden-Taschenbuch Band 6, Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim: 1986 (5th ed.)

I think it is out of print unfortunately, but I hope there will be a
new revised edition soon.

It is mainly based on assuming an author-printer relationship which
is quite oldfashioned now, but it is still very useful. I hope that
a new edition will fully acknowledge the computer, but may be DTP is just
the reason why there isn't an up-to-date edition. Anyway, the book contains
rules and symbols for markup of a manuscript or typoscript to be understood
by the printer, also for corrections in the galley proofs and so on.
More interesting are parts as the list above, a list of symbols given
with reference numbers (quite useful for the communication with the
printer in the old days, still useful as a source of many symbols not
yet covered by TeX and as a reference for their main usage), rules for
typesetting mathematics, physics and chemistry etc etc.
I think this particular Duden book is less descriptive as the Duden related
to German language, but of course it doensn't have the sense of
typographical beauty and the instructiveness of e.g. Tschichold's writings,
rather in collects rules and covers many areas of typography.

And as for another matter which occured in the discussion a few weeks ago:

  In the Duden book are lists of transliterations and transcriptions
for various languages, something which could be very interesting for
TeX: at least transliteration could be well covered by TeX (ArabTeX
has such a feature), I doubt this for transcription, here TeX could
possibly only give a basic transcript to be treated by the user.

To explain the terms here: transliteration gives a bijective map,
a one-to-one relationship between glyphs, so this map is reversible.
Transliteration is language-dependent: Russian transliterated to German
isn't the same as transliterated to English, as the glyphs are chosen
to give an idea of the pronunciation, and there could be different
standards alongside for the same pair of languages (e.g. there are
two or three for the transliteration of Chinese to German). But this
could all very well be done by TeX, if the appropriate mappings are provided.

Transcription is another thing: Here's no such bijection, sometimes one
glyph is transcribed by a letter group, sometimes a lettergroup by
a single letter (e.g. Russian `ks' as in Aleksandr is rendered `x' in
German transcription), so this is not reversible neither easy for TeX,
as sometimes the map is relating on context.

Johannes Kuester

Johannes Kuester                    [log in to unmask]
Mathematisches Institut der
Technischen Universitaet Muenchen