Universal attributes is a parameter entity declaration in the topic DTD, which defines a set of common attributes available on many DITA elements..

The univ-atts entity includes:


Name Description Data Type Default Value Required?
%select-atts; A set of related attributes, described at select-atts: platform, product, audience, otherprops, importance, rev, status.      
%id-atts; A set of related attributes, described at id-atts: id, conref.      
translate Indicates whether the content of the element should be translated or not. yes | no #IMPLIED No
xml:lang Specifies the language of the element content. When no xml:lang value is supplied, the default value of English is assumed. For example, if there is a note element with the attribute xml:lang set to the value "es-es," then the label on the note, which is normally output as "Note" is now output in Spanish as "Nota." The allowed xml:lang values are based on ISO-3166 Country Codes and RFC 3066 Language Codes (see W3C: Language tagging in HTML and XML). NMTOKEN #IMPLIED No
See examples for the select-atts and id-atts parameter entries. The translate and xml:lang attributes identify language-specific words or phrases for specific processing (or non-processing, in the case of translate="no").
<p>The cordial response to the question is 
<q translate="no" xml:lang="de-de">nein.</q></p>

OASIS DITA Language Specification v1.0 -- 09 May 2005
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