Re: Exemplifying apostrophes

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu May 22 2008 - 18:15:34 CDT

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    Philippe Verdy wrote:

    >> Philippe raised an issue specifically about the French UDHR
    >> documents as provided at <>. Now
    >> I would say that all these documents, whether plain text,
    >> XML, HTML or PDF are typographically unformatted or, to put
    >> it another way, they are awaiting typography.

    > It would be true for the XML or TXT files, but HTML and PDF documents are
    > supposed to be prepared typographically, because a good typography really
    > improves the readability.

    Well, good typography is currently not possible via HTML and is, in any
    case, dependent on the reader's browser, not on the document creator.
    And a PDF has whatever level of typographic sophistication the document
    creator either decides upon or is capable of producing with his or her
    tools. Of the document formats available for the UDHR on the Unicode
    site, PDF certainly provides the best possibility of typographic
    sophistication, but this is in no way a requirement of the format.

    > It is as much important for French users as English users that are being
    > told to press the space bar twice after full dots between two sentences in
    > the same paragraph.

    Which was a Victorian fad, not seen before or since in quality English
    typography. It was erroneously taught in many typing schools long after
    it ceased to feature in English publishing, and still sometimes crops up
    in business and institutional documents, but it is neither desirable nor
    traditional, and certainly not important.

    > (If you look at the original documents scanned on the UN
    > site, the French and English typographic conventions ARE used in both the
    > English and French columns of the same page of the official session reports,
    > even if they were forgotten on the OHCR site).

    Right, and those were formatted documents.

    I agree with you that nicely formatted PDFs of the UDHR in Unicode would
    be nice to have, but I suspect that goes beyond the intentions of the
    current project, which seems to be simply to provide Unicode encoded
    versions of the document in different languages in a number of different
    formats. As currently presented, I think the PDFs are the least useful
    of the formats provided. [Of course, my uses involve typographically
    formatting selections of multilingual text to review new typeface
    designs and test spacing, etc., so for me the plain text versions are
    the most useful precisely because they are clear of formatting.]

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    Nobody can possibly know the reach of language, whether
    liturgical or otherwise, so one should just keep going
    until one is too exhausted to go any further.
                       - Catherine Pickstock

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