Re: Unicode 6.2 to Support the Turkish Lira Sign

From: William_J_G Overington <>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2012 15:05:30 +0100 (BST)

Recently, Jukka K. Korpela <> wrote:

> It takes ten years or more, optimistically speaking, before a character added to UTC is generally available and in use. But admittedly, UTC status makes it possible to use the symbol in encoded plain text. I wonder how many databases or systems will actually be updated to reflect the adoption of a currency symbol in UTC, within a decade or two.

For me, an important issue is how someone wishing to make a font with a new currency symbol is to proceed when the matter of mapping the glyph into the font arises.

From the result of that mapping of a glyph into a font follows the encoding of the data produced by people who use the font in application programs.

In cases where the Unicode Technical Committee has agreed and published and authorized a particular code point in regular Unicode, then the person making a font that includes the new glyph has clear, unambiguous guidance.

In cases where, for whatever reason - perhaps because no application has been made, where a particular code point in regular Unicode has not been agreed and published and authorized, yet a font is needed so that people wanting to use the new currency symbol can proceed, then a Private Use Area encoding could arise, or even, perhaps, unfortunately, some overloading of an existing regular Unicode code point that is properly used for some other purpose. This could well lead to an accumulation of data that is at best Private Use Area and can fairly straightforwardly, even if laboriously, be converted at some later time, once it is located and identified as needing conversion.

So prompt action by the Unicode Technical Committee to encode a new currency in regular Unicode is desirable, on a technological basis, so as to respond to a technological need.

I was, and indeed still am, greatly impressed by the way that The Unicode Technical Committee and the ISO Committee acted together to get the Indian Rupee Sign into regular Unicode within the period before the symbol was to come into use.

> My point is: Get real, adoption into UTC *is* a political decision, with no direct technological implications, in matters like this. It can, however, be a fairly neutral decision: any reasonably wide national consensus is enough.

Well, if a new currency symbol is needed quickly, wherever, and printed price labels with the new symbol printed upon them and bank account statements with the new symbol printed upon them are needed, how exactly is that to be done? I suggest that it is either by prompt action by the Unicode Technical Committee and the ISO Committee, or else some other encoding will become used, simply because there will be printed results that are needed. I can imagine that the fontmakers who make the fonts will want to use an official code point if they can, yet if one is not available, then they will need to make fonts anyway and a Private Use Area solution would be the then least inconvenience-causing for the future.

Would it be reasonable to have an update to the Currency Symbols block in an almost-ready-to-go state in case a situation arises where a new currency symbol is produced and urgent need arises for fonts so that as smooth a transition as possible can take place?

For example, if a situation arose where a fast timetable is set for introducing one or more new currencies, each with a new currency symbol, is there a contingency plan in place such that what is preently set to be called Unicode 6.2 becomes called Unicode 6.3 and a document labelled Unicode 6.2 with just the one or more new currency symbols within it is published within a time period such that fonts can be made and put into use before the "fast timetable" needs them to be available?

William Overington

23 May 2012
Received on Wed May 23 2012 - 09:05:30 CDT

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