Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mavericks Update Fixes Japanese Input Problem

The glitch with the Japanese Kotoeri IM reported here has been fixed in the OS 10.9.1 update released 12/17/2013.  Kotoeri Preferences (found when one of the Japanese IM's is selected in system preferences/keyboard/input sources) now has a setting for the keyboard layout, as was present in 10.8 and earlier.

Apple has also issued a note regarding a problem some users have encountered with a grayed-out Hiragana input.

In case you are wondering where the "Register Words" option for Kotoeri has gone, this function has now been taken over by system preferences/keyboard/text/text substitutions, as explained here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Typing Paleo-Hebrew and Phoenician

I recently came across a source for fonts for Paleo-Hebrew and other ancient semitic scripts on this page.

Input for most can be via the OS X Hebrew keyboard layout or my experimental Phoenician range layout available here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Language Map of the US

I recently came across this map showing details of where languages other than English are common in the US.   Results I found somewhat surprising are the Russian in Alaska,  Chinese in eastern Washington and western NY,  Hindi in Iowa, Hmong in Minnesota,  Arabic in Michigan, and widely scattered areas of German.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Non-Unicode Tamil Fonts

While it is strongly recommended that only Unicode fonts be used for writing Tamil, sometimes you have to work on documents which were created using legacy encodings like TSCII, TAB, and TAM, which will not display properly unless you can find the right non-unicode font.  I recently came across a source for these which may be helpful in such cases at


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bug In Apple Devanagari Font

A poster in the Apple Support Communities has pointed out that the font Devanagari Sangam used for iOS (and also available in OS X 10.7 and higher) produces the wrong glyph for the "eyelash RA" character.

The font Devanagari MT, which is the default for OS X, does not have this problem, so using that is a fix.  For iOS there is no way to avoid the bug until Apple fixes Devanagari Sangam.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Keyman App For iOS Now Installs Fonts As Well

The Keyman app which vastly expands the screen keyboard possibilities for iOS devices, reported here, now also installs a font if one is missing (using the technique reported here.).

This should greatly benefit those users whose language has lacked font support up to now -- such as Myanmar, Khmer, Lao, and Amharic/Ethiopic. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Multilingual Mac Web Site Updated

I've updated the reference web site, Unleash Your Multilingual Mac, to reflect OS 10.9.  Comments and corrections by viewers are always welcome.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Alternative Bengali Keyboard for OS X

A poster in the Apple discussion forums (ASC) recently brought the "Bangla-onkur" Bengali keyboard to my attention, which may be of interest to users of this language as an alternative to the Bangla and Bangla QWERTY provide by Apple.  You can get it here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Adding Custom Fonts To iOS Devices

Beginning with iOS 7, it is possible to add custom fonts to an iOS device via a mobile.config file.   The reference doc for how one creates such a file and includes a font as a payload can be found here.

Although somewhat complex, this option could be helpful for users who need to add fonts for significant languages still missing from iOS, such as Khmer, Myanmar, and Ethiopic/Amharic.  I have not tried to make such a file myself.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Keyboard App For iOS Covers Vast Number Of Languages

Tavultesoft has released an iOS version of its Keyman multilingual keyboard app, which they say can cover over 600 languages.  For info see this page.

The text produced can be routed directly to the Message, Mail, and Twitter apps.  Unfortunately, where iOS does not yet have a font for the language, you will only see squares in those apps, although you will see the right characters in Keyman itself.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

OS 10.9 Mavericks: New Arabic Fonts

To the 7 Arabic fonts provided with OS 10.8 (Al Bayan, Baghdad, Damascus, Decotype Naskh, Geeza Pro, Nadeem, Kufi) Apple has added 11 more in Mavericks, shown in the graphic below:

iOS 7 Offers Added Languages Display In Some Apps

One of the somewhat hidden features of iOS 7 is the vastly expanded list of extra fonts which can be downloaded by certain apps when necessary.  This can be found at the bottom of


As a result, iOS devices can now display Khmer, Myanmar, and Ethiopic in an app like Pages, which was not possible before.  It appears, however, that this cannot yet be done in Mail or Safari, where it is most needed.  And of course there are still no keyboards for these scripts.

Oddly this list includes what appear to be 13 Arabic fonts that are in addition to the 18 already available in OS X.  What these would be needed for is a mystery.

Friday, November 1, 2013

OS 10.9 Mavericks: Language Glitches

Some major language problems  found so far in the new OS X:

+You can no longer set the keyboard layout for Kotoeri Japanese input in its preferences, but have to rely on the layout of the last keyboard used.  This is a throwback to the OS X of several versions ago and extremely annoying, especially for those with JIS keyboards.  They have to activate and select the US layout before using Kotoeri.  Apple has issued a tech note which recommends disabling all other input sources, but this is not a satisfactory solution for most users.

Pending a fix from Apple, you can try an alternative Japanese IM from Google.

+The Message > Text Encoding menu item has been deleted from Mail.  This makes it impossible for the user to fix wrongly encoded incomings or set the outgoing encoding to meet the special requirements of recipients, and significantly reduces the language capabilities of Mail compared to other email clients.  (Note:  Not fixed in Mail update of 11/7/13)

Users can force Mail to send UTF-8 by including a Unicode dingbat in their message, if that is of help in a specific case.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pages 5.0: Significant New Language Features

The long awaited update of Pages 09, Pages 5.0, was released Oct. 22, 2013.  It requires OS 10.9 Mavericks, and my initial testing indicates that there are substantial language improvements:

+Phonetic Guides for Chinese and Japanese (with the content suggested by the app itself)

+Ability to use Windows fonts (as well as Apple AAT) for Arabic and Indic scripts

+A direction control in the Format > Text menu  for Right-to-Left text.

+Vastly improved cursor behavior for Arabic/Hebrew:  It now follows the text from right to left and inserts text where you position it instead of somewhere else.

Someone who knows RTL scripts well will have to give it a thorough evaluation, but it looks like this app may finally be usable in this context.

One bug I have seen is that multicolumn layout does not work right.

Keynote and Numbers lack the text direction control found in Pages, but is seems some direction problems can be solved by a) running the app with the OS set to Arabic, or b) starting your composing with the keyboard set to US and then switching to Arabic when you actually need to input characters.

Support for certain Sanskrit conjuncts appears to be broken when using Apple's Devanagari fonts.  Try Sanskrit 2003 instead.

Unfortunately vertical text for Chinese/Japanese is not yet available.  Also my tests indicate Pages still cannot register the special Unicode characters ZWJ and ZWNJ required for certain Arabic and Indic scripts.

For Apple's info see this.

OS 10.9 Mavericks: New Language Features

So far I have the following:

+3 new system localizations:  Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesian (for a total of 33)

+11 new Arabic fonts

+New reference dictionaries:  Dutch, Italian, Korean, Korean-English, Chinese-English

+Certain voices can now read multiple languages

+No new spellcheck dictionaries or language keyboards

+New Chinese features

I was surprised Apple did not add Lao and Amharic keyboards, as the required font support has been provided for some time already.

iWork For iCloud Beta: Still No RTL Or Indic Support

As far as I can tell, the update for iWork for iCloud Beta announced by Apple October 22, 2013, still has totally broken support for RTL and Indic scripts, as reported here earlier.

PS  The update announced by Apple November 14 also did not fix this.

PSS The updatre announced by Apple January 23, 2014 also did not fix this.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

iOS 7 Language Glitches

I  have seen the following reports in the Apple Support Communities of problems with language support:

+Greek keyboard missing at some stage, so that users with Greek characters in their password can't get access to their devices.  (Fixed with update 7.02?)

+Broken display of Arabic and Korean in some apps.

+New 10-key (T9) Pinyin Chinese input method is only present on devices sold in China .

+New 10-key (T9) Korean input method only present on devices sold in Korea.

+A new, modernistic default font for Thai which some users find barely legible.

+The new Tamil99 keyboard has wrong characters on a number of keys in the shift level.

+Copy/paste causes crashes when the OS is running in Hebrew.

(This is the first time I have ever seen Apple issue an OS with some keyboards only available in one country.  They had to suddenly remove reference to the Chinese one from a long-standing webpage describing new features in iOS 7)

Contributions by readers of other items to this list are welcome. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

iOS 7 Language Specs Published

It looks to be the same as for iOS 6 except for the addition of keyboard and dictionary support for Tamil, English (Canadian), and English (Australian).  Although not mentioned in the specs, I understand Chinese/Pinyin includes a new "10 key" option, which is something Chinese users have long wanted.

Also not mentioned are the new reference dictionaries:  Chinese-English, Korean, Korean-English, Italian, Dutch (added to the English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Japanese-English already available earlier).

Scripts where iOS 7 has font support but no keyboard are Armenian, Bengali, Canadian Aboriginal, Georgian, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Kannada, Lao, Malayalam, Oriya, Sinhala, Telugu, Yi.

Update 9/24/13:  The 10-key Chinese IM is so far only available in China.  A full list of keyboard layouts elsewhere can be found here.  One new one I noticed is an ABNT2 hardware layout for Portuguese, which will be welcome in Brazil.

Language Support

English (U.S.), English (UK), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Keyboard Support

English (U.S.), English (Canadian), English (UK), English (Australian), Chinese - Simplified (Handwriting, Pinyin, Stroke), Chinese - Traditional (Handwriting, Pinyin, Zhuyin, Cangjie, Stroke), French, French (Canadian), French (Switzerland), German (Germany), German (Switzerland), Italian, Japanese (Romaji, Kana), Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cherokee, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Emoji, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian (Cyrillic/Latin), Slovak, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Dictionary Support (enables predictive text and autocorrect)

English (U.S.), English (Canadian), English (UK), English (Australian), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, French (Canadian), French (Switzerland), German, Italian, Japanese (Romaji, Kana), Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan, Cherokee, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Flemish, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

Siri Languages

English (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia), Spanish (U.S., Mexico, Spain), French (France, Canada, Switzerland), German (Germany, Switzerland), Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Mainland China, Taiwan), Cantonese (Hong Kong)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bug in Apple Devanagari Fonts

A poster in the Apple Support Communities has pointed out that the fonts Devanagari MT and Devanagari Sangam used for OS X and iOS produce the wrong glyph for the sequence ph + virama + n.

Note:  Not fixed in 10.9

Info on a separate bug for the sequence r + virama + h was reported here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

iWork for iCloud Beta: No RTL or Indic Support

Apple has released the public beta of its new iWork for iCloud, which provides a web version of Pages and other iWork apps.   My initial tests with Pages indicate that support for Arabic/Hebrew and Indic scripts is totally broken, though I haven't found any mention of that in the support documentation.

I'm not aware of any other Apple product which so completely fails to serve those language communities of about 1 billion people.  Hopefully it will be fixed in future upgrades (though that is not on the list in the "coming soon" features.)

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Language Features in OS X 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7

There seem to be only a couple new language features in OS X 10.9 and iOS 7 as announced June 10, 2013.  Thanks to blog readers I have so far

1) new French and German voices for SIRI, with more languages promised for later

2) Chinese-English, Italian, Dutch, and Korean reference dictionaries

3) Settings for Tencent Weibo microblogging for Chinese users and multi-character handwriting recognition

4) a possible Tamil keyboard in iOS 7 (OS X has had one for quite a while already).

If you spot any others, let me know.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Indic Script Bug in Final Cut Pro X

A poster in the Apple Support Communities has pointed out that it's not possible to create Tamil language titles in Final Cut Pro X via copy/paste -- nothing happens.  Direct typing also does not work right.

My tests indicate that the same copy/paste bug affects Burmese, Bengali, Kannada, Khmer, Oriya, and Sinhala.  On the other hand, Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Lao, Malayalam, Telugu, Thai, and Tibetan seem to be possible (but certain Thai characters will not work).

For the problem scripts, workarounds might be to use a separate titling app like Belle Nuit or  create the titles in iMovie and import the track into FCPX.

Friday, May 24, 2013

IDN Email Bug in iOS Mail

If you happen to have an email address that uses an International Domain Name (IDN), i.e. one which includes non-ASCII characters (like info@蓝天东.org), you will find that it's not possible to set up an account in iOS Mail, even when you use the Punycode/ascii version (info@xn--xhq32y7n9a.org in the case mentioned earlier).  It just says the address is invalid and you cannot go further.  You can, however, set up such an account in OS X Mail.

One possible iPad work around is to try the alternative free email app Incredimail, which normally lets you set up everything without problem.  It does not yet support POP, however, only IMAP.  Another work around is to have your IDN at Godaddy, which has its own app for doing email hosted by its servers.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bug in Apple Devanagari Font

A poster in the Apple Support Communities has pointed out that the font Devanagari Sangam used for iOS (and also available in OS X 10.7 and higher) produces the wrong glyph for the sequence r + virama + h.   For some reason it generates the glyph for the sequence r + virama + h + e instead.

The font Devanagari MT, which is the default for OS X, does not have this problem, so using that is a fix.  For iOS there is no way to avoid the bug until Apple fixes Devanagari Sangam.

Note:  Fixed in 10.9

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Typing Runic

In addition to its historic uses, the Runic script appears in the recent Hobbit movie and the Tolkien book on which that is based.  To type Runic in OS X you need to add a font and a keyboard layout for the Unicode Runic range.  A good font is Quivira, and there are keyboards available here and here.

Unfortunately there is no way to type Runic yet in iOS devices.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

OS X: Glitches With Traditional Chinese Cangjie Input

A poster in the Apple Support Communities recently pointed out that some Chinese characters cannot be made with the Cangjie sequences they were accustomed to, even though these worked fine on their iOS devices.

It turns out that OS X has different Cangjie sequences for certain characters.  You can see what these are by selecting the character and going to the "flag" (Input Source) menu when Cangjie is selected and then down to the bottom and choosing Find Input Code.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

OS X Specialized Language Fonts

Various fonts provided with OS X have the necessary characters so they can be used for multiple languages.  For example, Arial can do English, Greek, Russian, Hebrew, and Arabic.  But Apple also provides a number of specialized fonts that are really only intended for one script.  Some have no Latin characters at all, and it is often best not to use those that do include Latin for pure Latin text. 

Such specialized fonts exist for Arabic, Armenian, Cherokee, Chinese, Cyrillic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, Indic Scripts, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Myanmar, Thai, Tibetan, and UCAS. You can see a rough list of them at this page.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Apple Opens Chinese Language Support Community

Apple has just opened a Chinese-language set of user-to-user discussion forums (the Apple  Support Communties), which you can get to at


This joins the existing ASC's in English, Japanese, and Korean.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Alternative Text-to-Speech App for iOS

For those who want different voices than what Apple provides via the Speak Selection function in iOS,  I have recently come across an app Voice Dream which offers a possibly useful alternative for texts outside of Safari, Mail, iBooks, etc.

It covers 20 languages, including Catalan, which iOS does not yet have.  iOS languages currently missing from Voice Dream are Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Korean, Romanian, Slovak, and Thai.

A sort of free trial is available via the "Lite" version.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bug In OS X Azeri Keyboard Layout

The Azeri keyboard layout provided by Apple with OS X has no question mark, which can be very inconvenient.   Possible remedies are

a) Create a shortcut for ? via system preferences/language & text/text/symbol and text substitution

b) Add ? to a custom layout created with Ukelele.

c) Download an alternative Azeri layout here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reading and Typing Traditional Mongolian Script

Traditional Mongolian is perhaps the most difficult script to display on a computer. Much like Arabic, Mongolian characters are connected and can have different forms in initial, medial, and final word positions. Plus it is written in vertical columns from left to right. Mongolian has some current usage in Mongolia and China, and was also employed for the Manchu language which was used (in addition to Chinese) for official documents of the Qing dynasty in China during 1644-1912.

To do this script on OS X you will need to download an AAT font and a keyboard layout from the mongolfont.com site.

Here are some sites where you can see this script in action with Safari once you have the font installed.  Thanks to Greg Pringle for these:

Birds of Mongolia

Inputting Mongolian Script

Mongolian Lessons

Typing Nuoso Yi in iOS

An earlier article provided some info on how to input Nuoso Yi in OS X.  Thanks to Dennis Walters you can now find a way to do the same on iOS devices on this page.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reading And Writing Syriac

Syriac, a major literary language in the Middle East from the 4th to 8th centuries, is not yet included in OS X. In order to read Unicode text in this script you will need to install the BethMardutho fonts. To input Syriac you need to install a keyboard layout found here.

Xenotypetech also sells an excellent Syriac Language Kit.

You will need to deactivate the Damascus Arabic font provided with OS X, because it has a bug which interferes with Syriac fonts.

Here is a test page using the Lord's Prayer. And here is a graphic version of the same text.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Apple Online Store Adds Keyboard Language Choices

Apple's US Online store traditionally has only offered English, French, (Western) Spanish, and Japanese keyboards when you tried to order a laptop machine.  Today I noticed that this has been expanded to add Arabic, British, Danish, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Russian and Taiwanese are two languages which I have often heard requested which are apparently still not available.

iMac choices remain at the earlier 4 languages.

Asking a retail store for a special order is another option for getting Mac's with unusual keyboards.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cuneiform Script Cyrus Cylinder Touring US

The Cyrus Cylinder, a clay tablet from  6th century BC Babylon, inscribed with a declaration in the name of Cyrus the Great, began a tour of the US this week which will take it to Washington DC, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

For those familiar with ancient languages and scripts, this is a famous and interesting example of Akkadian Cuneiform text.   A drawing of the Cuneiform is available online here, and a Latin transcription/English translation can be found here.

I was expecting to find a digital version of the text somewhere, since Cuneiform was added to Unicode back in 2006, but have been unsuccessful.   Info on fonts and keyboards for this script can be found in an earlier article..

Below is the Unicode Cuneiform and transcription for the first few words of line 20, translated as "I am Cyrus King of the world.."  You will need to install a cuneiform font to see it, and then it will not look exactly like the drawing, because cuneiform signs can vary greatly depending on the date, and there's no font yet for the Neo-Babylonian forms used on the cylinder.

𒀀 𒈾 𒆪 𒁹 𒆪 𒊏 𒑑 𒈗 𒆧 𒆳
a-na-ku m Ku-ra-áš LUGAL kiš-šat

Bug in Apple Kannada Font

The font Kannada Sangam displays the wrong glyph for the sequence RA plus Virama (U+0CB0, U+0CCD).   Instead OS X users should switch to the font Kannada MN.

Unfortunately in iOS only the Kannada Sangam font is available.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bugs In iOS Cyrillic Font

A poster in the Apple Support Communities has pointed out that the font Market Felt Thin, one of the three available for the Notes App, uses a mixture of italic and regular letter forms when displaying Cyrillic text, which is not correct.  To avoid this, you need to switch to Helvetica or Noteworthy in the Settings for Notes.  In other apps, you can use Marker Felt Wide (but it has all italic forms).

The differences between Cyrillic regular and italic forms can be quite significant, as seen in this graphic:

Some fonts (including Marker Felt) have yet another form for italic д, which looks like a Latin "g".

Friday, March 1, 2013

Language Capabilities of Adobe InDesign/Illustrator

This blog page provides some useful info on maximizing the language capabilities of these Adobe products.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chinese OCR in iOS Devices

One of the coolest features of the iPhone/iPod/iPad for Chinese users is the ability to simply photograph signs and texts and use the device to translate them.   I recently found the excellent Zhongweb Chinese blog which has an article comparing several apps available which can do the OCR function:

iOS Apps For Chinese OCR Showdown.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Chinese Fonts in OS X 10.8

One of the added features in Mountain Lion promoted by Apple is "eight new fonts, from modern to classical, for Chinese users".  I actually count 10:  Baoli, Kaiti, Lantinghei, Libian, Songti, Wawati (SC & TC), Weibei (SC & TC), Xingkai, Yuanti, and Yuppi (SC & TC).

For some info on most of these, see this page.

I have seen a report that at least one of these fonts, Kaiti SC, has a meta-data setting which makes it non-embeddable in Adobe apps.  As far as I know, all the new fonts are embeddable when used in Apple apps.

(My research indicates the same problem may exist for the "old" Chinese fonts STFangsong, STKaiti, and STSong.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Japanese-English Dictionary Missing in iOS 6

For some reason the Japanese-English dictionary that is available in OS X and was present in iOS 5 got lost in iOS 6.0 and is still missing in 6.1.   Among the complaints about this posted in the Apple Support Community are some ideas for apps that might be useful while waiting for Apple to fix the problem.  I mention 2 here -- other suggestions from readers are welcome.

PS I understand that there is a fix for this problem for jailbroken devices, but as a matter of policy I don't included that kind of thing in this blog.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Font Variation for Japanese Hiragana "ri"

Mac  OS X users who input Japanese may notice that the Hiragana character for "ri", U+308A, can appear in two different forms, shown below :

Which one is displayed depends on what font is used by the app or system.  The main Japanese font, Hiragino, uses the first (connected) version, while the Osaka Japanese font and some fonts for Chinese and Korean, plus Arial Unicode, use the second (two strokes).

The default font for Chinese/Japanese is often determined by the order of the languages in System Preferences > Language & Text > Language, so to guarantee you get a Japanese one you should make sure that language is higher on the list than Chinese or Korean.  If you want to have the two-stroke "ri", you will have to also switch Hiragino to Osaka.

Friday, February 1, 2013

iPad Turkish Keyboard Bug

Since iOS 6, there is a Turkish F screen keyboard layout available on the iPad.  Unfortunately it is not really usable, because the key for the Turkish dotless i (ı) is in the wrong place and also does not produce a dotless i unless you wait for the popup menu to appear and then select that character.

The recent iOS 6.1 update does not fix this.  Users can select the Turkish Q layout instead.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Mac Font Editor

Type Light 3.2x, a new free font editor for OS X, has just been released, and a paid version with additional features is expected later this year.

Previously the only free app of this sort was FontForge, which is available here.  Other standard Mac font editors are FontLab, RoboFont,  and Glyphs.

Adding Dictionaries to Dictionary.app

As of OS X 10.8.2, Dictionary.app has modules for reference dictionaries in US English, British English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.  Some ways to add more are :

This site has German, Arabic, Latin, Chinese, Italian.

Etresoft has a dictionary for the Quran and two Bible dictionaries.

Others available are Italian, Norwegian, Catalan, and Romanian.

Plus Polish.

Another Arabic

A German Thesaurus.

Also check this site.

As of 10.11,  Apple has added Italian, Dutch, Korean, Korean/English, Chinese/English, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish, French-English, German-English, Italian, Spanish-English, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Thai, Japanese-English.

Here are instructions for getting and installing Apple's Dictionary Development Kit.

Here are some instructions for converting dictionaries from other sources to use with OS X.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

iOS Word Processor for Arabic/Hebrew

Because Pages for iOS has bugs which make it largely unsuitable for writing Arabic/Hebrew, I have been looking at other word processor apps to see if they could do things correctly. e.g. a) start the sentence at the right side of the page, b) normal cursor behavior,  and c) correct positioning of numbers, punctuation, and list headings -- while still having the the ability to produce rich text in various formats.

The best I have found so far is Textilus.   

But I am not much of an expert at Arabic/Hebrew.  If any readers know of shortcomings with Textilus or have other suggestions, please comment.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Secrets of Unicode Sorting

Recently a poster in the Apple Support Community pointed out some odd OS X sorting behavior for Latin accented characters, at least when "Standard" sorting is chosen in System Preferences > Language & Text > Language.  Indeed, the results seem counter-intuitive, with characters sorting differently depending on what characters follow them. Here is an example :

Single Character:          A  Á   À   Â   Å    Ä   Ã   Æ
Two Character String:  Ãb Äc Åd Âe Æa Àf Ág Ah

However strange it may appear, this is the correct result of the default Unicode sorting algorithm.  In that system every character is assigned 4 levels of "weights" and a particular formula is used to create sorting "keys" for character strings.  Certain groups of characters are considered essentially the same at the first level, so that the sorting order for a string can be determined by differences at the second level, which is potentially derived from the second character in the string.  To make sorting conform to the expectations of users of particular languages,  additional "tailoring" rules need to be set up to override the results of the Unicode default.

Readers wishing to explore further should see: