14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 28, 2008 11:46 AM by PeterBreis0807
alw2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question, but I want to type in languages other then English, preferably without buying new keyboards. I feel like there should be a way to download a widget or something that will integrate with my text program and allow me to see what the foreign keyboard looks like on the bottom of my screen while I type on my US keyboard - and the text will appear in the other language. Specifically, languages like Hebrew or Arabic which have different characters. Any ideas?

thanks

imac, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Peggy Level 8 Level 8 (38,585 points)
    This is probably not the best forum, one for your model of Mac or version of OS X is probably best for this kind of question. But, since it relates to typing & this forum is for Pages, a word processing/page layout program, it certainly fits here.

    Open the International Preference Pane, click on the Input Menu tab & click the box next to Keyboard Viewer. In the section below this checkbox, click the boxes for the various languages you want. This will make this available in your menu bar by clicking the flag icon. Select "Show Keyboard Viewer" from the flag menu & you will see a layout of the keyboard. Keyboard Viewer places the typing directly into the top, open document.

  • PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (33,560 points)
    Pages can do right to left scripts, in fact it will automatically compose them once you chose the appropriate Arabic or Hebrew font, right down to positional contextual substitution of characters which Arabic requires. Quite amazing to watch.

    However Tom Gewick who is the true authority on this reports problems with the fine implementation. Exactly what those problems are you should ask him. Usually the problems arise when you mix languages and part of the text (the English) runs left to right whilst the body of text runs the other way. I found when I did this years ago in OSX 10.2, that line breaks would get weird. Possibly Apple has resolved all this by OSX 10.5

    May I recommend you use one of the TextEdit clones instead, in particular *iTextExpress 3.1* (free):

    [http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/21977/itext-express]

    Which handles virtually all languages in all directions, including vertically.

    Character mapping is handled by Keyboard settings in your System preferences. To help with individual characters (in Unicode fonts) go to OSX's Characters pallette which is available in *iText Express* or Pages via +Menu > Edit > Special Characters…+

    Pages is by far the better DTP program however, so if you need text wrap around, etc. you will need to use Pages.

    If you are fluent in Arabic and/or Hebrew try both applications above and please report back on your experience.
  • PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (33,560 points)
    I forgot about Mellel [http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/8712/mellel] which whilst a regular, and quite good, Word Processor has been specifically tailored to Arabic and Hebrew.

    *MsWord for Windows* is an excellent multilingual word processor. It has been a while since I used *Microsoft Word for Mac* and back then it wasn't a good match for the Windows version for foreign scripts, that may have changed now. One thing I would bet on is that Microsoft will not have used Apple's excellent cocoa and ATSUI methods in its software.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,485 points)
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,485 points)
    MS Word for Mac is still not able to do Arabic, Hebrew, or Indic scripts.
  • PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (33,560 points)
    Thank you Tom.

    An excellent reference which has obviously taken you a lot of work, we all owe you a great debt of gratitude.

    Could you please add iText Express to your list of multi-lingual word processors. It really is an amazingly good program, so versatile and free! Brilliant!

    Also I haven't fully checked out Bean, also free, for its multilingual abilities which I suspect are competent being based on cocoa's libraries, but it also is an excellent simple word processor under active development.

    Reading the in depth summation of the state of all things multi-lingual Mac, I do confess I am disappointed that after 8 years OSX still doesn't offer a complete solution. I no longer work in that area of multi-lingual DTP but I remember going through Hades (Apple doesn't allow the use of "****" in these forums) trying to make it work in previous versions of OSX.

    In fact Apple cost me several clients and ruined my business in that area. Several of my translators totally gave up on Apple and are still using Windows to this day because of it.
  • alw2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you so much - this is exactly what I was looking for. I really appreciate the dedication of apple users who a) learn how to utilize all the fabulous features included in the new operating systems - and b) take the time to share with the rest of us.

    so thanks!
  • Henrik Holmegaard Level 3 Level 3 (575 points)
    In fact Apple cost me several clients and ruined my business in that area.


    "Apple has had awful ColorSync separation support that cost Apple customers." True.
    "Apple has awful TrueType composition support that costs Apple customers." True - for Latin.
    The business with composition support for Arabic is complex as it involves as well forward rendering issues from characters to glyphs as backward rendering issues from glyphs to characters. There are also several shaping systems in use, for instance, Tasmeem by Thomas Milo is a very, very, very highend solution for Naskh style only and for Adobe InDesign ME only.

    Paradoxically, all of this is being discussed in English and in HTML that does not support either Apple MORX or Microsoft GSUB/GPOS shaping. It reminds me of the discussions in 1991 about Unicode shaping for the Latin script. The Anglo-Americans were saying they thought the Unicode shaping solution was the bees knees, and they were saying this in ASCII email. How many of them managed anything other than monolingual English is unclear. What this discussion needs is someone like Thomas Milo who supplies the default Naskh for Mac OS X and Windows or Khalid Mansour who developed Monotype Nastaliq for Microsoft GSUB/GPOS shaping logic, or the Iraquis who develop Diwan Mishafi for Apple MORX shaping logic. What do people who understand Arabic shaping at advanced level have to say, and why are they saying this? I am an anthropologist and I am significantly less interested in what is said in a monolingual medium on a server based in the monolingual United States than in the wider world. Also, I can get by in a smattering of Kiunguja in Latin script, but not in the Arabic of the southern borders of South Arabia which is where thirty percent of the vocabulary of a Zanzibari hails from. I know my limitations, in other words. And I need to know what people who do know what they are talking about have to say.

    hh
  • PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (33,560 points)
    Arabic does make it hard, because of its calligraphic origins and contextual changes of characters.

    Even worse is the Pashtu scripting style commonly used in Pakistan which effectively so intertwines the characters that Newspaper headlines are still handlettered today and stripped into the typeset copy.

    Aesthetics can play such a large part of what is found acceptable that mere mechanical methods of laying out text fails.

    As in some attempts to take advantage of the basic alphabetic construct of Hangul characters to assemble them out of the relatively simple components. Since this ignored the layout of traditional handformed characters that were made to look like rationalised Hanja (Chinese) characters by placing the parts where they looked good, the results were visually abismal.

    And if it looks ugly it is hard to read.
  • Henrik Holmegaard Level 3 Level 3 (575 points)
    Even worse is the Pashtu scripting style commonly used in Pakistan which effectively so intertwines the characters that Newspaper headlines are still handlettered today and stripped into the typeset copy.


    See the thread on Apple Advanced Typography. The thread cites the Monotype Recorder for 1981. This was the year Monotype Nastaliq was introduced for the Farsi and Urdu markets.

    The implementation was developed, as the thread says, in co-operation with the Pakistan association of lithographic printers.

    Before a team of Cambridge phycists headed by Prof Dr John Billingsley in 1976 finished developing a laser imaging system with funding from the Monotype Corporation, and before that system was applied to the most complex Arabic calligraphy, Nastaliq was calligraphed, the calligraphy photographed, and the reproductions photographically copied onto the printing surface. The first metal composition of Monotype Naskh for the western Arabic market was in 1976 and IBM did not introduce a daisywheel Selectric for Naskh until the mid-nineteen seventies. Dr Joseph Becker's article on Arabic composition in the Xerox Star operating system appeared in Scientific American in 1984 (the table-based transform approach had by then been sold by Monotype for four years, which US writers tend to 'forget' as Monotype was not perceived as a US supplier).

    The rub with the Arabic script and with Indic scripts is indeed that, "Aesthetics can play such a large part of what is found acceptable that mere mechanical methods of laying out text fails." Where does the border lie between incorrect orthography, correct orthography with lowend typography, and correct orthography with highend typography. The Unicode/TrueType idea was to leave this to the type maker who in the obligatory simple CMAP shaping would support correct orthography with lowend typography and in the optional smart MORX shaping would support such level of sophistication as suited the design and the market. If people expect to get highend Arabic TrueType with endless ligation and intonations for recitals and much else for free, then this is not going to happen.

    Incidentally, Adobe's Arabic contains PostScript. It was developed by John Hudson who had to hop through hoops backwards since Microsoft VOLT does not support PostScript, so the shaping logic had to be copied and pasted. If memory serves Apple's tools do not support PostScript either. Anyway, what this discussion needs is a few folks with advanced knowledge of Arabic calligraphy. And I'm absolutely not one such.

    hh
  • Henrik Holmegaard Level 3 Level 3 (575 points)
    The first metal composition of Monotype Naskh for the western Arabic market was in 1976


    Errata: for 1976 (the year the Lasercomp was introduced) read 1936 (the year the first Monotype composition to support Arabic was introduced).

    hh
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,485 points)
    Could you please add iText Express to your list of multi-lingual word processors. It really is an amazingly good program, so versatile and free! Brilliant!


    Yes, I'll do that, although it looks to me like Express cannot do ruby/furigana annotations, like the Pro version or LightwayText can.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,485 points)
    I need to know what people who do know what they are talking about have to say.


    To see what Thomas Milo and others like him have to say, you might want to consider reading and joining this thread in another forum:

    http://typophile.com/node/16838
  • PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (33,560 points)
    I have just updated to *iText Pro '08* (US$15) and besides some other nice features like templates, yes it does have the ruby annotations.

    There are a few other small things that could improve this application but it is 95% of what I need and want from a word processor. I'll see if he wants help with the manual which is still in Japanese with most of the English misspelt. Maybe he will be amenable to add the little extras that would make iText perfect in my book.