Saturday, November 4, 2017

iOS 11 Arabic Font Problem

I have seen a number of complaints by Arabic users that the font used in iOS 11 has changed to the nastaliq calligraphy style often found in Urdu text, which they find very hard to read.  A possible fix is to go to Settings > General > Language and make sure that Arabic is higher than Urdu in the list of Preferred Languages.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Useful Resources for Data on Characters, Languages, and Keyboards

The Character Usage Lookup Page will let you find info regarding the characaters used by any particular langauge, or the languages which use any particular character.

The Unicode CLDR Keyboards Database will let you find which keyboard layouts produce which characters for a variety of computer platforms.

Monday, October 2, 2017

MacOS 10.13 High Sierra: New Language Features

So far I have found the following:

+One new system localization -- Hindi

+A nastaliq Arabic font for those who want to use this in Urdu or elsewhere

+New bilingual English dictionaries for Russian and Portuguese

+Caps Lock language switching now works for Greek, Cyrillic, and Armenian (not the case in Sierra)

I don't see any new spellcheckers or new language coverage via keyboards -- Lao and Amharic are still missing, even though Apple does provide fonts for these.

A language setting in the Format preferences, removed in Sierra, is still missing.

If readers find others, please comment.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Displaying Old Korean

Korean text produced before the orthography reforms of early 20th century can contain various archaic Hangul forms.  Archaic_and_obsolete_letters  Not all fonts will support correct display of these.  Three which do are

+NotoCJKkr
+SourceHanSansK
+HCRDotum

A test page which includes these forms and their various combinations can be found here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

iOS 11: New Language Features

+Siri translation from English into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish (beta)

+Hindi and Shanghainese dictation

+New keyboards for Armenian, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Georgian, Irish, Kannada, Malayalam, Maori, Odia, Swahili, and Welsh

+English input on the 10-key Pinyin keyboard

+English input on the Japanese Romaji keyboard

+Russian-English bilingual dictionary

+Portuguese-English bilingual dictionary

+Arabic system font support

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

MacOS: Reading and Writing Linear B Script

Linear B was used for writing the earliest forms of Greek used by the Mycenaean civilization.

For a Unicode Font, download Aegean from this page.

For a Unicode keyboard, go to this page.

Another input option is a character picker:

https://tomer.github.io/characterPicker/#?load=0x10080-linear_b_ideograms.json

https://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/fui.html8

For online resources for studying Linear B, see e-ni-jo-te.

(I recommend you not use the old non-Unicode Clark fonts which map Linear B to Latin, as everyone should be using Unicode for text exchange these days) 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Apple File System: Possible Language Issues

Apple's new APFS file system (replacing HFS+) has been implemented in iOS 10.3 and will also become standard in MacOS 10.13 when it is released this fall.   It changes the way Unicode Normalization is handled for file names, which could have implications for various languages where the same filename can have different forms depending on the normalization applied.

Whether that will matter in practice I don't know, but readers interested in this complex topic may want to have a look at these two articles and their comments:

https://eclecticlight.co/2017/04/06/apfs-is-currently-unusable-with-most-non-english-languages/

https://mjtsai.com/blog/2017/03/24/apfss-bag-of-bytes-filenames/

See this page for updated info from Apple about problems that can arise with file names in iOS during the period before certain normalization issues are fixed via the updating process.

Here is a report of such a problem.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Apple TV To Support Arabic/Hebrew With tvOS 11

According to this article, tvOS 11 will include support for RTL languages like Arabic and Hebrew.  This will be welcomed by many users who have been waiting for it for 10 years now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Better Arabic/Hebrew Support In iWork Apps

The info provided with the iWork app updates released June 13 by Apple says that "improved support for Hebrew and Arabic" is included in Pages and Keynote for MacOS and Keynote for iOS.

I don't know yet what that entails, but it apparently does not include the availability of RTL spreadsheets in Numbers, which many users of these languages have been waiting for.

Hands-On Neural Network Translation

I was intrigued by Apple's announcement last week of its new Core ML system for incorporating trained machine learning models into apps for iOS and MacOS.  Anyone interested in how such models for neural network language translation can be produced may want to check out this Google tutorial.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MacOS: Better Khmer Fonts

If you find that the Khmer fonts supplied by Apple (Khmer, Khmer Sangam) have bugs, try these other ones from SIL.  I think they should also work OK in Word for Mac 2016.

Monday, June 5, 2017

iOS 11: New Language Features

During the WWDC Keynote June 5, Apple announced some new language features that will be available in iOS 11 and the new iPad Pro:

+Siri will include voice translation, starting with English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

+The Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro will be produced in 30 language variations, including Chinese and Japanese.

From a separate source, it appears that iOS finally will have a Persian keyboard (according to this.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

MacOS: Alternative Input Methods for Asian Languages

Some users find Apple's input methods for Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, or Indic Scripts are not to their liking.  Here are some links to alternatives which may be useful:

Chinese:

http://rime.im

http://qq.pinyin.cn

http://pinyin.sogou.com/mac/

http://www.funinput.com/mac

http://www.macqim.com/wordpress/


Japanese:

http://www.google.co.jp/intl/ja/ime/


Vietnamese:

http://zepvn.com/NAKL/index_en.html


Indic Scripts:

https://github.com/ratreya/Lipika_IME/wiki


Suggestions from Readers for others are welcome.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

iOS: Alternative Keyboard for Indic Scripts

Users needing an iOS keyboard for typing the scripts used in the languages of India, or transliterations of them, should have a look at Lipikaboard.

Monday, March 27, 2017

MacOS: Language Improvements in 10.12.4

Update 10.12.4, released March 27, 2017, includes the following language related improvements:
  • Adds Dictation support for Shanghainese.
  • Improves right-to-left language support for the Touch Bar, toolbar, and visual tab picker in Safari.

Friday, March 24, 2017

MacOS: AZERTY - Qwerty Command Keyboard

If you use an AZERTY layout to type French, but are more confortable with the QWERTY layout for the Command shortcuts for menu items, you can find a keyboard which implements that here.


Monday, March 20, 2017

MacOS: New Mongolian Script Keyboard

A new keyboard for typing the Todo (Clear)version of Mongolian used in Oirat and traditional Kalmyk is available on this page.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MacOS: Romanian Pro Keyboard Layout

Users needing a Romanian Programmers keyboard layout can find a good one on this page.

Monday, February 27, 2017

MacOS 10.12 Sierra: Customizing Character Picker

Users trying to customize the Character Picker/Accent Menu via the methods that have worked since OS X 10.7 (reported here) will find things have changed in Sierra.  For updated instructions see this page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Apple Support Communities Now In French and German

The Apple forums (Apple Support Communities - ASC) now have French and German versions, in addition to those for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese established earlier:

French

German

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Word Mac 2016 Support for Indic Scripts

Word Mac 2011 had essentially no support for Indic scripts, and we always recommended people use a different app for working in them.  But the 2016 version (at least the latest update 15.30) seems much improved:

+The Tools/Language menu lets you mark text as Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Thai for spellcheck purposes.

+The standard MS fonts are provided for Devanagari, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Tibetan, and Thai.

+Apple fonts are recognized for Sinhala, Bangla, Oriya, Gurmukhi, Myanmar, Khmer, and Lao.

I don't know whether input and display of all these scripts, which often require reordering and complex ligatures,  works correctly -- that will need a lot of testing.

Here is a Test Page with a PDF version of a .docx file containing a paragraph in each of the Indic scripts.  I do not know them well enough to tell if there are position, ligature, or other errors.  Readers who do know them are invited to comment on whether Word is displaying them correctly.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Main Multilingual Mac Page Updated for Sierra

The main Unleash Your Multilingual Mac page has finally been updated for MacOS 10.12 Sierra.  Comments from readers about errors and omissions are welcome.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Emoji Notes

Emoji symbols were first added to Unicode in its version 6.0 of October 2010, and Apple incorporated font support in iOS and OS X 10.7 shortly thereafter.  Since then the number of emojis approved by Unicode has grown regularly:  In versión 9.0 there are well over 1000.   To ask for a new emoji to be encoded, the place to go is here.

Useful references for the range of encoded characters include emojipedia and the Unicode Full Emoji List.

When using these characters, it's helpful to be aware that :

A) Apple's Color Emoji Font embodies special technology and may not work in all apps.   Alternative black/white fonts which should work everywhere include Symbola.

B) The details of how emoji's look depend on the special fonts used to display them on each device.  So Windows, Android, and Linux users may not see exactly the same picture that you do when you put them in your emails, messages, or web pages.

C) Unicode has devised some fairly complex coding mechanisms to implement emojis for flags, skin tones, and other variables.  For further info about these see Unicode TR #51.  A Unicode test page for some of these mechanisms is here.

D) Instructions for Emoji input in MacOS are here.  For iOS they are here.  For a way to input emoji directly via the Unicode Hex  keyboard, see this page.

VoiceOver Language Support

For info on the languages supported by Apple's VoiceOver feature in MacOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, see this page.

Friday, January 27, 2017

MacOS: New Albanian Keyboard

A poster in the Apple Support Communities (ASC) has recently offered a new keyboard layout for Albanian, which can be found at this page.

Language and Country Availability of Apple Features

For those wanting to check whether specific features of MacOS or iOS are available in a certain languages or countries, the pages below may be useful:

MacOS

iOS

Thursday, January 26, 2017

MacOS Sierra: Set Format Language Different Than System

MacOS 10.12 Sierra deletes the System Preferences >  Language & Region > Advanced > General > Format Language selection previously available.  Many users found this useful.  For a workaround to get the capability back via a terminal command, see the first item in this article. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Word Mac 2016 Now Does Chinese Phonetic Guides

For some time Word Mac 2016 has only been able to do Japanese phonetic guides (furigana) automatically.  Chinese phonetic guides did not work, you had to enter them manually.  But testing this on my most recent version, 15.30, I find that Chinese does work now.  When exactly MS fixed this problem I don't know.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MacOS/OS X: Bug in Apple Sinhala Qwerty Keyboard

A poster in the Apple Support Communities (ASC) has pointed out that the Sinhala QWERTY input source is missing the character ඳ (U+0DB3).  This should be on option-D, but instead that produces ඦ which is already on option-J.  A revised .keylayout file with the right character at option-D is available here.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

OS X: New Tajik Keyboard

Thanks to Iskandar Rafiev, there is a new phonetic keyboard layout available for Tajik at

https://maqduni.github.io/tajik-phonetic-keyboard-layouts/

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Typophile Forum Back Online

After a long hiatus for redesign, the excellent Typophile site is back online, including all its earlier discussion posts.  It's a first class resource for info and discussions about fonts of all sorts and font creation apps.  The new format includes special "communities" for Arabic typography, blackletter, color fonts, Hebrew typography, and variation fonts.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Improved Apple Support For Complex Scripts

Traditionally full support for "complex scripts"  like Devanagari in MacOS and iOS has required the use of special AAT fonts supplied by Apple.  The much more common OpenType fonts for such languages used by other platforms would not work right.

While I have not seen anything directly from Apple, typography experts tell me that the Core Text API of Sierra and iOS 10 now supports the specs of the Universal Shaping Engine (USE).  The result should be that Apple devices can use a much wider variety of OpenType fonts for the large number of languages which use these scripts.  For more info on the USE, see

Making Fonts for the USE

Creating and Supporting OpenType fonts for the USE

Saturday, October 29, 2016

MacOS: New Keyboard for Chinese

I have not seen any comments from Apple about it, but the China Apple Store is showing  a keyboard for the new Macbook Pro which has a number of different markings than the normal US keyboard.  Also the Hong Kong store lists a new keyboard -- "Chinese - Pinyin" -- in addition to the usual English International when you configure a new Macbook Pro.

Update Jan 12, 2017:  This keyboard is now offered with the MacBook Pro in the online US Apple store.

My tests indicate this new keyboard reflects the way the Sierra Pinyin - Simplified Input Source works when the option to switch back to US via Caps Lock has been activated.



Friday, September 23, 2016

MacOS Sierra New Language Features

During  a quick review of MacOS Sierra, I’ve found only few new language features:

+No new user interface localizations

+No new language keyboards

+1 new spellcheck setting — Japanese English

+2 new reference dictionaries — Traditional Chinese and Danish

+2 new English translation dictionaries — Dutch and Italian.

+An option to use Caps Lock to switch quickly to/from Latin and non-Latin input sources (strangely this does not work with Cyrillic, Greek, or Armenian).

Presumably it also has the new Siri support and Chinese/Japanese fonts mentioned in
this page.

One useful feature -- the ability to easily set the Format Language to something other than the System Language -- has been removed in Sierra.  A workaround for this using the Command Line can be found here.

If readers find other new features, let me know.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

iOS 10 Multilingual Typing

The multilingual typing feature of iOS 10 is limited to 2 languages at once, and only selected keyboards can do it at present.  For a list go to this page

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Language Features in iOS 10

Buried in the update info for iOS 10 is a list of improvements over iOS 9:

+Multilingual typing (autocorrect 2 latin script languages at once without changing keyboards)

+Live search results in Spotlight for Chinese and Japanese

+Siri support for Spanish (Chile), Chinese (Cantonese-China), English (ireland), English (S. Africa)

+Ling Wai and Kaiti Black document fonts for Chinese

+Y Kyokasho and Topaz Bunkyu fonts for Japanese

+Reference dictionaries for Traditional Chinese and Danish

+English translation dictionaries for Dutch and Italian

+New keyboard for Spanish (Latin America)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

iOS 10 Language Support

Language support

English (Australia, Canada, UK, U.S.), Chinese (Simplified, Traditional, Traditional Hong Kong), French (Canada, France), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish (Latin America, Mexico, Spain), Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

QuickType keyboard support

English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), Chinese - Simplified (Handwriting, Pinyin, Stroke), Chinese - Traditional (Cangjie, Handwriting, Pinyin, Stroke, Sucheng, Zhuyin), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian, Japanese (Kana, Romaji), Korean, Spanish (Latin America, Mexico, Spain), Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cherokee, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Emoji, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, Gujarati, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi (Devanagari, Transliteration), Hinglish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Marathi, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic, Latin), Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Tamil (Script, Transliteration), Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese

QuickType keyboard support with predictive input

English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), Chinese (Simplified, Traditional), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish (Latin America, Mexico, Spain), Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Thai, Turkish

Siri languages

English (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK, U.S.), Spanish (Chile, Mexico, Spain, U.S.), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Mainland China, Taiwan), Cantonese (Mainland China, Hong Kong), Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), Danish (Denmark), Dutch (Belgium, Netherlands), Finnish (Finland), Hebrew (Israel), Malay (Malaysia), Norwegian (Norway), Russian (Russia), Swedish (Sweden), Turkish (Turkey), Thai (Thailand), Portuguese (Brazil)

Dictation languages

English (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, UK, U.S.), Spanish (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, U.S.), French (Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland), German (Austria, Germany, Switzerland), Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Mainland China, Taiwan), Cantonese (Hong Kong), Arabic (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE), Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands), Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malaysian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Swedish, Turkish, Thai, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Definition dictionary support

English, Chinese (Simplified, Traditional), Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Bilingual dictionary support

Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish

Spell check

English (Australia, Canada, UK, U.S.), French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil, Portugal), Russian, Swedish, Turkish

Saturday, July 30, 2016

OS X: Typing Lepcha/Róng

Lepcha is a minority language of the Himalayas which has its own script.  A newly developed OS X kit for this language can be obtained at

http://www.siblac.org/lepcha_script.html

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

OS X: ABC Extended Keyboard Layout Capabilities

Apple’s ABC Extended keyboard layout ((formerly called "US Extended") lets you type a vast number of accented and other special latin characters.  The standard reference for its codes is here.  Unfortunately this reference is missing the following deadkey shortcuts which have been added at some point in recent years.  

+Option Shift  period:  Characters with hooks:  Ɓ ɓ Ɗ ɗ Ɲ ɲ ñ Ƴ ƴ‸

+Option Shift semicolon:  A variety of phonetic symbols like ə ŋ ɣ ȝ

+Option Shift g:  Characters with circumflex below.

+Option Shift f:  Characters with tilde below.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

OS X: Typing Cantonese

Apple’s Chinese input methods for OS X do not yet include one for Cantonese.  Users who need that can check out these options:




Sunday, June 19, 2016

iOS 10: New Language Features

According to reports, iOS 10, to be released later this year, will include:

+New Reference Dictionaries:  Danish, Traditional Chinese, Dutch-English, Italian-English

+Multilingual Spellcheck (currently iOS can only spellcheck the language of the currently active keyboard).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

iOS Update 9.3: New Language Features

The 9.3 update to iOS released March 21 includes two language improvements:

+addition of Spanish (Latin America) to the system language choices

+SIRI support for Finnish, Hebrew, and Malay

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Office For Mac Now Officially Supports Arabic/Hebrew

MS has announced that as of its March update (15.20 for Word), RTL support is included in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

For best results, use one of the Apple Hebrew/Arabic keyboards.  Some users report that 3rd party keyboards do not work right.

Welcome news after 15 years of requests.  Note the new paragraph direction buttons:



Reports from readers about how well it works in Word or other apps are welcome.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Apple Opens Spanish and Portuguese Support Communities

For the new Spanish language Support Community, go to

https://communities.apple.com/es/

For Portuguese, go to

https://communities.apple.com/pt/

Up until now there have only been ASC's for English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Word/Mac 2016 RTL Support Seems Much Improved

While playing with the latest update for Word for Mac 2016, 15.19.1, I thought the level of support for Arabic/Hebrew seemed considerably better.  Not only are Arabic characters connected, but the cursor starts at the right and moves properly along with the text, changing fonts doesn't seem to cause problems, punctuation goes in the right place, vowels work, text is inserted where the author expects, etc.

So far there is still no direction control button or menu, and copy/paste from other sources may result in incorrect word order.  Also changing the color of the text can mess up chracter order.

I've seen rumors that the next update, 15.20 is supposed to have additional improvements and fixes.

As my knowledge of Arabic/Hebrew is extremely limited, I'd be grateful for comments from readers with better capabilities regarding the usability of this app for such scripts. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Keyboard Resource for OS X

Keyman, which has long helped Windows users add special keyboards to their machines, is now available in a beta version for Mac.  The app required for users to make custom keyboards themselves is still only for Windows, but the OS X version of Keyman Desktop lets you download a large number of keyboards from the existing Keyman and SIL libraries.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Apple Watch Language Capabilities


The Apple Watch uses a version of OS X (watchOS) which has different language capabilities than Mac OS X or iOS. Localizations for the menus and dialogues (set using the iPhone Apple Watch app via the menu My Watch > General > Language) are English (U.S.), English (UK), English (Australia), English (India), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), French (France), French (Canada), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Traditional, Hong Kong), Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Thai, Turkish, Finnish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish, Arabic, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Malay, and Vietnamese.

Languages available for dictation, Siri, and Smart Replies may be somewhat different.

This page provides instructions on how to adjust the dictation language of the Watch.

This article provides some info on how watchOS features have evolved.

(Note:  I don't have a Watch and Apple's published info is only fragmentary.  Comments and additional info from readers is welcome)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

iOS 9 Hardware Keyboard Layouts


When using a hardware keyboard with the iOS 9 device, you need to go into Settings > General > Keyboard > Hardware Keyboards and match the layout with whatever your keyboard's key printing is.  Unfortunately Apple supplies only a limited selection of such layouts, so it's possible an exact match may not be possible.  For example, if your keyboard requires the British PC layout, you are out of luck.   I think only one normal iOS keyboard has no hardware layout at all:  Tamil.  


As far as I know, 3rd party keyboards do not include hardware layouts.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Confusing Name Changes in OS X

I've run into several people in the Apple Support Communities confused by recent name changes implemented by Apple.  These are

+Starting with OS X 10.10.3, the standard menu item for many years called "Edit > Special Characters" is now called "Edit > Emoji & Symbols"

+Starting with OS X 10.11.0,  the input source for many years called "US Extended" is now called "ABC Extended".

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WatchOS 2.1: New Language Features

Update 2.1 to WatchOS released December 8 includes improved language support and bug fixes as described below: