Chinese Italics: where are the Oblique Chinese fonts?

There are some questions that come up again and again when typesetters and designers who are used to working with Roman fonts start to tackle Chinese typesetting. One perennial issue, which crops up even in professional fonts which supply several weights, is why are there no oblique cuts?

The short answer is because it’s bad and it’s wrong. Find some other way to emphasis or pick out text (or cheat and do it anyway – see the conclusion below).
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Chinese typesetting basics

Chinese is a global language of increasing importance. The population of China is over 1.3 billion, and the number of Chinese internet users has been predicted to have topped 550 million by the end of 2011. Yet Chinese typesetting engenders some unique challenges for those more used to European languages.
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Numbers in Different Languages: Typesetting Multilingual Numerals

Not all languages share the same numerals; something it can be importantly to remember from the start of the design process. A page design that plays on the shape of a number might fall apart when typeset in a foreign language.

First, what we all have in common. Whatever language we speak, we all count. Quantities matter. The vast majority of languages have separate words for particular amounts. 

Many of these use the same symbols for these amounts as we do in English. The French might say “dix” when the English say “ten”, but we both write “10″.

But many languages do not use the same symbols. Continue reading

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Greek typesetting without the tears

greek typesetting without tears 600px Greek typesetting without the tears
Greek demonstrator protects herself against tear gas
Pic: Ggia via Wikimedia Commons

Greece has been prominent in the news for all the wrong reasons for a year or two. But whether you need to typeset an instruction manual or a protest banner (!), there are some issues in Greek typesetting to be aware of.
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Selecting languages for multilingual documents

Which languages should be present in a multilingual publication? In short, it depends on the publication, its budget and target audience. But there are some foreign languages that crop up again and again that will always get used in winning multilingual publications.
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Not sticking my head in the Lion’s mouth… yet

Do I want to turn my workhorse tower Mac into a glorified iPad? Usually a new Mac OS is a cause for celebration in my household, but this question was the resoundingly downbeat response to Lion.

Apple has been pushing Lion, telling us it will “change the way you use a computer”. Well, that rather depends what you want to do with it.
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Numbers in Arabic: Hindi numerals or Arabic numerals?

Two different forms of numerals exist in Arabic text. You can write precisely the same number using either of the two systems of numerals. This means you can use either Arabic numerals or Hindi numerals to write numbers in Arabic typesetting. But what’s the difference and which is best to use?
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Arabic Typesetting as Art

In one of those fortune happenstances that make London great, I stumbled on this window display of Arabic packaging.

arabic typesetting ap art Arabic Typesetting as Art
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Bon appétit longer in French!

Text translated into a foreign language will usually be a different length to the English original. In languages such as Chinese you can be confident that it will be shorter, but in many languages the translated text will be longer. This can cause problems for the unaware multilingual typesetter or designer.
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Getting started with Korean typesetting

Korean is the language of both South and North Korea, as well as being one of the two official languages in Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture in northeastern China. The script used for writing Korean is know as Hangul in South Korea and Chosongul in North Korea, although it is the same native script dating back to the 15th century. Unlike Chinese, each character expresses a sound, with the sounds combining to form words much like in European languages such as Italian. Korean uses spaces to separate words.
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