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Re: Asian languages

From: Masafumi NAKANE <max@wide.ad.jp>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 00:31:27 +0900
Message-Id: <200101261531.AAA17995@tkg.att.ne.jp>
To: Julie.Howell@rnib.org.uk
Cc: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Hi Julie,

> - do you have any experience of producing web sites in Asian languages?

Yes, but only with Japanese and no other Asian languages.

> - which screenreaders can read Asian languages?

I can only talk about Japanese, though...

Only an older version of outSPOKEN for Windows is ported to Japanese 
environment amongst screen readers widely used in North American or 
European countries.  I believe IBM Japan is working on porting JFW 
to Japanese, but I don't know when it will be on market.

There are two major screen readers that are developed locally in 
Japan.  But I have an impression that these two, and OSW, are not as 
good as those available in English environment, yet.  People are 
finding it difficult to use many popular application software.

I have heard there are some screen reader development in China and 
in South Korea, but I do not have any detail.

> - does the user need to download the character set or is this something the
> site provides?

There is nothing that needs to be taken care of on the server side, 
except providing appropriate language/character-set information in 
the HTTP header, or in the HTML document.  But this is just adding a 
line or two in server configuration, or in the <head> element of 
HTML files.

On the client side,it depends on which operating system is in use.  
If you are using Windows, and the Windows is the Japanese version, 
you don't have to do anything.  You can browse Japanese pages by IE 
out-of-the-box.  For other browsers, some of them have capability to 
handle Japanese, but not all of them do.

If the Windows is English version, for Windows 98/ME/NT/2000, you 
can download language pack from the Microsoft sites and browse Asian 
language pages using IE.  For other browsers, you might need to 
install additional fonts.

But this is only true for visual presentation.  In order for screen 
reader users to be able to browse Asian language pages, they have to 
have screen readers that understand the character encodings of that 
language as well as how to present it using speech/braille output.

If you need more info, please let me know.

     Cheers,
Max
Received on Friday, 26 January 2001 10:35:15 UTC

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