Difficulties with typing text in non-roman script languagesEdit

For many languages that are new to the internet, inputting text can be difficult, even for users that are used to typing in their own language, because special software and fonts may need to be installed on the user's computer (usually consisting of a keyboard layout, perhaps a font, and some configuration of keyboard settings).

All this work can add up to a significant barrier to getting text in these languages onto the web (and into the blogosphere!).

Typing through the browserEdit

There is an alternative approach, however, which allows users to type languages that aren't written in the roman script without installing any software. Most such input tools run through the browser and use Javascript (although a few exist that use Java).

Try it it's fun!Edit

Lexilogos multilingual keyboard 
Try this one first -- it supports several languages.
This tool is for polytonic Greek, which is mostly used in the study of classics. But it's a good one to try since most operating systems come with a Greek font pre-installed. Try typing Ptolemaios, the original Greek spelling of Ptolemy (as found on the Rosetta stone!). It should look like this: πτολεμαιοσ
Try typing maikrosaapt (Microsoft), as explained in this blog post by Suzanne McCarthy. On the outside chance that you have a font for Tamil, you will see: மைக்ரோசாப்ட்.
Hindi, another for Hindi 
Internet Explorer only.
Hindi and Sanskrit 
(and perhaps Marathi?) Try typing hindI -- you should see हिन्दी... "Hindi", the name of the language. (That is, if you have a font for Devanagari).
This site is well known and quite popular. Try typing ruskij -- you should see русский, which means "Russian".

A major advantage of such systems is that the user can input text in their script without installing a keyboard layout. However, it is still necessary that the user's system has a font which supports the script in question.

Using embedded fonts, the new SVG font support in Firefox 1.5, or perhaps SIFR, it may be possible to get around this barrier as well, and achieve something really cool: "automatic" script support for just about any language which supports Unicode with all configuration on the server, without the user having to configure anything.

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