Thursday, January 22, 2009

Apple US Offering Non-English Keyboards

I'm not sure when they started doing it, but the online AppleStore now offers a choice of physical keyboards with most Macs: English, Western Spanish, French, and Japanese. Earlier you had to buy your machine in another country to get a non-English keyboard.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mellel Expands Language Features

The new 2.6 version of the Mellel word processor adds support for import/export of a number of CJK text encodings and for vowel marks in Windows Hebrew fonts.

Mellel is considered the best OS X word processor for RTL scripts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New CJKV Reference Book

Those interested in some of the nitty-gritty for doing Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese on the computer will want to check out the newly-published 2nd edition of CJKV Information Processing by Ken Lunde, Adobe's senior expert on this topic.

I got a copy and think it is a very valuable reference, with tons of stuff that is hard or impossible to find elsewhere. The chapters on input methods, typography, and gaiji were especially useful to fill gaps in my own understanding.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nisus Writer: Interesting Language Features

Users sometimes complain in the Apple Discussions about the problems that can arise in coordinating the selection of keyboard layouts, fonts, and spell checking when doing multilingual work in OS X. Anyone in this situation may wish to have a look at Nisus Writer Express or Pro (trial downloads available).

The Nisus apps have preference settings where you can determine the keyboard layout, font, and spell checker for any "language" you select from the list produced by clicking on the toolbar Language icon or the Format > Language menu. Plus you can define custom "languages" and also set a keyboard shortcut to activate any individual language on your list.

I haven't myself come across any other word processor with such flexibility in this area. If readers know of one, post a comment.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

iWork 09 Has New Localizations

Apple's latest upgrade of iWork finally has the full set of 18 OS X localizations. Previous versions only had 8. Aside from that, however, I was not able to find any improvements in language capabilities. In particular, longstanding bugs in input/editing of RTL scripts like Arabic and Hebew have not been fixed. The ability to use Windows Arabic fonts, introduced in TextEdit with OS X 10.5, is still absent in these apps. Options for vertical layout and ruby annotation which Japanese/Chinese language users want have not been added. And the strange Unicode input bugs described here remain.

The new iWork requires 10.5.6 or 10.4.11.