Thursday, November 13, 2008

Typing Urdu

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and a close relative of Hindi, but written right-to-left with Arabic script rather than left-to-right with Devanagari. A particular challenge in creating Urdu text on the Mac is that the preferred script style is Nastaliq. Unfortunately the only available modern Nastaliq fonts are for Windows, and won't work in OS X apps, except for Mellel, OpenOffice/X11, and Leopard TextEdit.

I don't know Urdu, but I tried several Windows Nastaliq fonts, and the ones that look best to me are Alvi and Nafees. My iDisk has several Urdu keyboard layouts, of which Urdu-Qwerty is probably a good one to try.

Here is an example of a short Urdu text in Mellel, first in standard script and then in Nastaliq:



Comments/corrections welcome as always.

11 comments:

alienvoord said...

Thanks! I looked at them in Leopard TextEdit. Nafees looks great, but Alvi is messed up.

Boris said...

I briefly experimented with Nafees in Mellel and Text Edit and I soon discovered instances in which the characters didn't render correctly, either by producing the wrong combination or by not connecting at the proper place.

Tom Gewecke said...

Boris -- How about Alvi in Mellel?

S.Ali Qamar said...

Sorry my question is not directly related to your post but can you please tell me if we wanted to use above stated nastaliq fonts on blogger or urdupress, what do we need to do then?

Thanx

Tom Gewecke said...

To have these fonts display they have to be on the machine of the viewer, plus the code of the page they are viewing has to tell their browser to use those fonts. For info on how to put that kind of code in blogger or urdupress, you need to ask the people who run those services.

Mac & Mobile said...

There is a bug in Leopard. Leopard does not show correctly Urdu websites correctly. some characters never join for example browse this website www.bbcurdu.com.

This site displayed correctly in Tiger but not in Leopard. Same is true when writing URDU for example 'HAY' character is never joined with any other character. Any help in this regards?

Tom Gewecke said...

Could you send me a screenshot of the exact problem? I don't know Urdu myself so it is hard to know what you are referring. Normally failure to join is a font problem rather than the OS. My emai: tom at bluesky dot org

medbenasaid said...

thanks,
but why arabic not suported in office 2008 for Mac ?

Tom Gewecke said...

I have no idea why Office Mac 2008 doesn't support various things. You will have to ask the people who make it, Microsoft.

Kamal said...

If you're willing to consider using Naskh fonts, then SIL International has two beautiful free fonts called Scheherazade and Lateef. On the "Urdu on the Mac" page (http://patriot.net/~abdali/urdumac.html), I have links to SIL fonts, an Urdu phonetic Unicode keyboard for the mac, and some instructions on editing Urdu documents.

Touch Typing said...

Nafees is quite good and using Alvi is a bit difficult. Urdu is a widely used rich language. Sure enough in future it would also be a mainstream language.