Saturday, February 3, 2007

Support for Dravidian Languages

The Dravidian languages, which form a group apparently unrelated to any other, are spoken in Southern India and in Sri Lanka. OS X 10.4 comes with support for Tamil, and you can find info on how to use it here. For typing in the other main family members -- Kannada, Malayalam, and Telegu -- you need to download and install fonts and keyboards, using either the commercial kits available from XenoTypeTech or the free stuff listed below:

For Kannada, you can get the Kedage font and a keyboard layout from Nick Shanks' site.

For Malayalam, you can get the Rachana font and a keyboard from the MacMalayalam Site.

For Telugu, use the Pothana font from Nick Shanks and the keyboard layout from my iDisk.

Web sites in these languages may still be using custom encodings instead of Unicode. In that case you will need to download whatever font they require (e.g. manorama for and you may need to try different browsers as well.


Anonymous said...

Hello Tom, i'm working on laying out two books, one in Tamil and one in Punjabi. When i use the InaiMathi font for the Tamil i noticed that atleast one of the characters is defaulting to something else. With regards to the Punjabi, the word file displays fine in Text edit, but if i copy and paste the text into inDesign and format it using the Punjabi font supplied by OS X it defaults to the latin alphabet. Are you able to help point me in the right direction to get stuff working?

Tom Gewecke said...

Basically MS and Adobe apps can't do Unicode Indic scripts correctly, so for Tamil you probably need to use another app like TextEdit, Pages, or OpenOffice. Your Punjabi sounds like it is not Unicode. It may work OK in Adobe but only if you use the same font it was created with. The app iCalamus may be another alternative.

Cadence said...

Thanks for this post. It's pretty hard to find things about Dravidian languages for Apple users.

Just to be clear - does this mean that at the moment there's no way to read Malayalam in, say, Safari?

Tom Gewecke said...

That's correct, OS X can't handle Unicode Malayalam in Safari, only in OpenOffice/X11. I don't know whether it would work in a browser in X11.

Of course non-Unicode Malayalam might work OK in Safari or another browser if you could install the custom font being used, and I don't know to what extent websites in this language use Unicode or another encoding.

Anonymous said...

is there any font which can show malayalam pages like manorama and puzha in mac os x 10.5.1 using mozilla as the browser?
what all do i need to do in order to get this done?

Tom Gewecke said...

Do a google search for "manorama font", download and install it.

Ritesh Nadhani said...

Maybe, you can help me out or point me to the right direction. I downloaded the font and the keyboard layout on my Mac 10.6.7 but I am unable to view the font or type in.

Here is my screenshot:

I copied the ttf in ~/Library Fonts and the layout in ~/Library/Keyboard Layouts . The Telugu layout correctly shows up in input keyboard list in System Preferences.

Tom Gewecke said...

Ritesh -- what do you see in TextEdit if you type the keys labeled asdfg?