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I'm currently using MiKTeX 2.9 on Windows 7 and can't get to compile a French document correctly. Here is a very minimal example:


Voir \autoref{test}.

pdflatex compiles this without any errors or warnings. htlatex will only produce the correct results if I specify another language, like ngerman. For francais, however, I get the following warning:

l.7 --- TeX4ht warning --- \Link{x1-21}? ---
! Missing \endcsname inserted.
<to be read again>
l.7 Voir \autoref{test}

and this output in HTML if I ignore the warning:

Voir <a
href="#x1-21"><span class="frenchb-nbsp">&nbsp;</span>:autoreffigure1</a>.

It seems that the activation of the colon character by babel conflicts with the internal command names used by TeX4ht. So I tried to use \shorthandoff{:} immediately after loading babel, as is suggested here, to no effect.
I also installed the newest version of frenchb.ldf from (mentioned in babel documentation) and used the documentation there to alleviate some other problems. But the command \noextrasfrench, again issued right after loading babel, did not help either.
Then I resorted to directly editing frenchb.ldf -- I commented out any occurence of \initiate@active@char and \declare@shorthand containing colons. This produces the correct results, but throws warnings like this one:

! Missing control sequence inserted.
<inserted text>
l.6 \begin{document}

Besides, it's hardly a permanent solution. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

PS. Just specifying a language without babel apparently translates expressions like "figure" in the above example -- does anyone now how that works and to what extent it is capable of internationalization/localization?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

When I was searching for the babel source code (in order to find the definitions of the commands used in frenchb.ldf), I stumbled upon the package babeltools, which seems to be made for my specific problem (and more). Adding \usepackage[shorthands=;!?]{babeltools} before loading babel successfully avoids activating the colon character (the others are also standard with francais and still work). htlatex returns a cryptic error message, which doesn't show up in batchmode and can apparently be ignored. On a side note, when searching for "babel deactivate colon", the second link that shows up points to babeltools -- for whatever reason I didn't come up with that exact combination of keywords before...

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