RE: Braille, CJK and unicode

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Jan 31 2009 - 23:40:26 CST

> [] De la part de Samuel Thibault
> And more generally, for all of unicode, are there translated
> versions of the character descriptions? I know that this
> exists at least for french, but does it exist more generally?

It seems that the correct answer is to look into the Chinese dictionaries
that are already referenced in UniHan: get an encoded version of these
dictionaries (in Unicode of course, but may be GB18030 as well), and provide
in your Braille interface a way to insert this reference, allowing users to
point to the definition, that can be converted to Braille as well with the
same system.

But there may also exist multiple dictionaries, each one getting their own
definitions and use samples... I think then that your conversion system
should just provide the way to insert a link and look for the referenced
Braille character (so yes, your converter may still represent the ideograph
exactly using Hex notation like in Unicode, and signal this hex number as an
activable link that allows the user to search for this character in the
dictionary of his choice (such search could be automated by the Braille
converter and output device: it could have a selection button allowing the
user to activate this link and display the definition on a second line below
the current Braille line, acting like a footnote and giving the definition
of the currently selected ideographic character converted to Braille.

I don't think that dictionary definitions are in the scope of Unicode or
even UniHan: this is the role of dictionaries, lexiques, linguistic
guides... IT canot be a single standard (for the same reason that a
trditional English-to-English dictionary is not unique but is written by
different authors inventing their own definitions, or reviewing them
independantly. Then it's up to the readers to judge about the quality of a
dictionnary or if it matches its audience (children at schools, students,
linguists, general use, simplified use by foreigners without native
knowledge but just seeking for a basic mean of communication...)

You can select the dictionary you want, see for example for a free online version (which is also
downloadable and installable), or use the traditional or modern dictionaries
you know for Chinese to Chinese definitions, if you have a licence for these
numerized books !

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