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.
Continue reading “Chinese typesetting basics”
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?
Continue reading “Numbers in Arabic: Hindi numerals or Arabic numerals?”
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.
Continue reading “Getting started with Korean typesetting”
Unicode, the standard for consistent encoding of the world’s writing systems, is a bedrock of modern multilingual typesetting and web design. February saw a major update to this standard to Unicode 6.0. The update adds a further 2,088 characters taking the total to an awe inspiring 109,384.
The update adds 222 additonal CJK Unified Ideographs and 603 additional characters for African language support. It also includes the new Indian rupee sign, designed last year. Three scripts are supported for the first time: Mandaic, Batak and Brahmi. New blocks of characters are also added for areas such as playing cards, transport symbols and alchemical symbols.
Of course, the fact that these characters have been added to the standard does not mean that fonts exist to support them yet but some, such as the rupee sign, are likely to find swift adoption.
A full description of the additions, and complete character tables for the entire standard, are available online at unicode.org