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A customer of ours wants two different language versions of his page, one in Spanish and one in Chinese. My questions are as follows:
1. Where do I get the fonts for these languages? I've seen some Spanish pages that use escape characters to insert their special characters, but I've seen other Spanish sites that just use a straight Spanish font.
2. I'm at a loss where to begin with the Chinese characters. Where do I get the font? Also, is there a special plug-in required to display Chinese characters?
3. Just exactly how does the meta-tag charset="xxxx" fit into this? What does it tell the browser to do? If I used a Chinese font and then used a charset claiming it is a Chinese font, what would that mean? What will happen?
I'm so unfamiliar with this foreign language stuff, I'm not even sure what to ask. I'd be happy if someone could just point me in the right direction, before I head off on too many wrong trails.
Thanks to anybody for any input they can give.
I'm pretty sure we have members who've done this kind of work, so I hope your pointers will be coming along soon. In the mean time, if you haven't already checked it out, the W3C is always a good place to turn for the straight story.
Can't help you with Spanish fonts I am afraid, but I can shed a little light on Chinese fonts, although if anyone has more experience than me please jump in and correct me.
Types of font -
Chinese writing is the same all over China regardless of the spoken dialect. Having said that, there are two main Chinese Character sets,
"Simplified", the official character set of the Chinese Government which goes with the PinYin romanisation, also the official Romanisation system.
"Traditional" or "Big5", the character set used mainly in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and goes with the older Wade Giles romanisation system put together by, surprisingly, a certain Mr Wade and Mr Giles.
Most chinese poeple would be able to read both, but I would suggest consulting with a Chinese translator about which one to use. See below.
Reading Characters -
Microsoft has Chinese Character support for the Office suite, both 97 & 2000. You will find the fonts in the extras folder for 97, and you can set them up in the install for 2000.
Writing Characters -
Ah, this is a completely different kettle of fish.
You need the character fonts installed that come with Chinese Windows. I am sure you can extract them and overinstall on English Windows but I haven't tried, yet to hard. Running English Office under Chinese Windows is interesting enough without playing around with the systems too much.
Having said that, doing a few searches for this missive, I found a good tutorial Here [geocities.com] about installing chinese fonts on Windows with instructions. New to me, you learn something everyday.
However, you then also need to have a special prgram to enter the characters via PinYin. To do this you really need to understand Chinese quite thoroughly. Really the best way would be to get a Chinese translating web designer to translate and put the page together for you.
Microsoft Search Results [search.microsoft.com]
Some Google Searches
Chinese Fonts [google.com]
simplified chinese font [google.com]
traditional chinese font [google.com]
Hope this helps
rencke, it sounds from your info that it shouldn't be too much of a problem setting up a Spanish page. We told the customer that they will have to provide us with translations, so if they use a Spanish font, I guess we can just paste it onto the page, and it should work out. Thanks.
Woz, thanks for all the advice, and the legwork as well. I'm going to start off with those links you gave me and go on from there. One question before I begin - if the customer is able to provide us with Chinese characters in a Chinese font, do I assume I can just paste those onto the page and expect them to be readable?
Thanks again everybody for all your help.
LOL....this makes me laugh, not at you but at me. For the past year I've been trying to master the Spanish keyboard. Let me tell you it's a pain in the arse. Either certain symbols are missing or they are placed somewhere else. Just when I thought I had it mastered, I'm back to the an English one.
Anyway, back to your question. FOLLOW Rencke's advice. USE a human Spanish translator and NOT an software one. It's way way too formal and will make your client's customers either laugh or confused. Like he said they should have the right keyboard to add the neccessary accents and characters.
If you are doing the translation yourself then it's find/paste/replace time. You should find all the characters/accents you need in all the popular fonts by using Character Map supplied by Windows
Thanks for the warning about Spanish keyboards. That's one direction I won't be going in.
And I have a feeling that after I get finished dealing with these different fonts and languages, I'm going to be LOL myself - insanely!