Re: Unicode or specific language charset

From: Addison Phillips (
Date: Mon Dec 18 2006 - 23:24:17 CST

  • Next message: Robert Kidd: "Re: Unicode or specific language charset"

    Robert Kidd wrote:
    > First of all, thank you Ken, Addison, and Doug for the helpful push
    > toward Unicode. I have a question for you Ken (and others if you wish).
    > You said:
    >> Note that not having appropriate
    >> fonts to display unusual languages with strange scripts is
    >> a problem *whether or not* you encode the translated material
    >> in Unicode.
    > I assume you mean that this is a user/translator/browser issue which we
    > can do nothing about and which I don't think will be a serious problem
    > since the translators will presumably have the ability to read, write
    > and view pages in their source language and target language and the
    > users (potential clients browsing for a translator) will 1) be able to
    > read the pages in their own language and 2) if their computer is not set
    > up to display the language then they most likely cannot read the
    > language and therefore it makes not difference.

    Basically, that's correct: if you can read it and/or work with that
    language already, you probably have support for the language installed.
    This is not always a good assumption, though: some translators may edit
    on one machine and do Internet stuff at the local cafe :-).

    However, I think (not having seen Ken's response for some reason) that
    he meant: you will have this problem regardless of the encoding you
    choose. If you have a Chinese document, it matters very little which
    encoding you choose for it: if you don't have Chinese glyphs (fonts),
    you won't see the characters. If you do have the fonts, then the
    encoding doesn't much matter (on the viewing end).

    > I also assume that if the user's machine does not have the correct fonts
    > they will receive a notification of this and be asked to install the
    > font from the CD?

    Maybe... but maybe not. They may just see question marks, hollow boxes,
    or other garbage. It depends on the browser and operating system in
    question. And it is more than fonts that are necessary in many cases.
    Note that there are "cheat sheets" for folks who need to install support
    for displaying/editing various languages, regardless of their ability to
    read the language (such as you, the site maintainer). I have one, for
    example, at:

    There is also very good material in the Unicode FAQ at:

    And of course, the display problems page:

    > I know this is overlapping into Web site development but I have yet to
    > find a good forum for this discussion, until now of course. ;o) Thank
    > you once again for all your help.

    Other fora you might try include:


    Addison Phillips
    Globalization Architect -- Yahoo! Inc.
    Internationalization is an architecture.
    It is not a feature.

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