Friday, May 18, 2007

Support for Indian Languages

Of the 13 most widely spoken languages of India, OS X comes with built-in support for 6 of them via its Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, and Tamil fonts and keyboards. You can find info on support for another three (Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam) in my earlier note here. Below is info on using the remaining 4 -- Bengali, Urdu, Oriya, and Assamese.

For Bangla/Bengali, you can download OS X fonts and keyboard layout from this site. The Bengali script is also used for Assamese.

For Urdu, OS X comes with the required Arabic script font, but you need to install a keyboard layout. One can be obtained here or from my iDisk.

For Oriya, you will need to download a font like Utkal listed at this site. Correct display is only possible in OpenOffice/X11. A (very) expermental keyboard layout is on my iDisk.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Trouble-shooting Language Problems

I've recently updated the trouble-shooting section of my main web site, where you can find brief answers to several dozen of the most common questions Mac users have when working in languages other than English.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Apple TV Language Capabilities

The Apple TV, a device which lets you put digital content from Macs and PCs running iTunes onto your TV screen, uses a customized version of OS X which apparently has somewhat different language capabilities than the full one. Although not mentioned in Apple's specs for the product, you can choose the language for menus and dialogues in Settings > Language, where the choices are English, Danish, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Finnish, French, Dutch, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish. This adds Russian and subtracts Portuguese from the OS X 10.4 list.

Regarding display, this note gives a somewhat odd list of languages *not* supported, presumably because the fonts are not provided, but surely there are more, including Vietnamese, Tamil, and Devanagari and other Indic scripts. Hopefully this list will be reduced via software updates in the future.

Reports indicate that input, for example in search fields, probably does not support languages other than English.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Typing Lao

Lao is closely related to Thai, and these two scripts are the only ones encoded by Unicode in visual rather than logical order -- i.e. some vowels are typed before consonants, even though they actually follow them when pronounced.

OS X does not come with either a font or keyboard for Lao. The best font to use is Saysettha Unicode, and you can download a keyboard layout (LaoSTEA) from my iDisk.

Some diacritics may not display in totally correct locations on a Mac with the available fonts. Also Lao does not separate words by spaces, and OS X has no Lao dictionary, so linebreaking will not work automatically. When inputting you can use Shift + Space to put a zero-width space (U+200B) after words to help lines break correctly.