W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 2001

Re: Bengali on the web?

From: <Andrew.Arch@visionaustralia.org.au>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 10:26:34 +1000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: danny@isacat.net;david;;;
Message-ID: <OF0B871A24.4E9B7053-ONCA256AB6.0001F579@domino.bigpond.com>
Forwarding a comment from Andrew Cunningham at VICNET

----- Forwarded by Andrew Arch/Kooyong/AFTB on 28/08/01 10:21 -----
                    Andrew Cunningham                                                          
                    <andrewc@mail.vicn        To:     Andrew.Arch@visionaustralia.org.au       
                    et.net.au>                cc:                                              
                                              Subject:     Re: Bengali on the web? - more      
                    28/08/01 10:21                                                             


could you forward the following message on for me?


At 09:25 AM 8/28/01 +1000, you wrote:

>----- Forwarded by Andrew Arch/Kooyong/AFTB on 28/08/01 09:24 -----
>          David Woolley
>          <david@djwhome.de        To:     w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>          mon.co.uk>               cc:     mdshreza@hotmail.com
>          Sent by:                 Subject:     Re: Bengali on the web?

>          w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
>          27/08/01 19:01
>mdshreza@hotmail.com wrote:
>> My country name is Bangladesh and my language is bengali(bn). My
>> question is
>> if i want to show my webpages in bengali what i have to do.I want to
>> show my
>Using the Bengali script is a difficult one because Bengali isn't an
>interesting language for browser writers as, presumably, the people
>most likely to have computers are likely to be fluent in English, and
>because you can't just treat it like the latin alphabet with very
>few ligatures.

Bengali (on the windows platform) will probbaly remain unsupported until
the Post Windows XP operating system, along with a range of other
langauges. There are no existing Open TYpe fonts for Bengali, nor has
Uniscribe been updated for the Bengali script.

Win2000 has support for Hindi and Tamil (but you need South Asian edition
of Word 2000, not the standard version).

WinXP will add additional languages.

Please not this only refers to unicode support. Microosft only support
Indic langauges via unicode.

>Thai is about the only Indic script that seems to get supported by
>international software developers.
>I presume that the Word 2000 Unicode font does cover Bengali, although,
>not having tried it, I'm not sure how much support from the application
>is required (Unicode Bengali is in terms of logical characters, not
>glyphs, except for the initial/final vowel distinctions).  There are some
>free TrueType fonts (e.g. itxbeng), consisting of glyphs.  These are
>invalidly coded (the Symbol font problem), from a web point of view,
>and require additional software to position them correctly, relatively
>to each other.

An application needs to be able to support uniscribe (usp10.dll) which
handles all the complex script rendering. You also need Open Type fonts
designed for Bengali.

MS will not have Bengali support included in Windows till at least the
first post windows XP operating system release. The first step would be for
the microsoft to include Bengali support in uniscribe, then make this new
version of uniscribe available to font developers to create fonts, after
the locale/collation/input issues are resolved, it will be all bundled for
release in the next operating system.

MS do not add new languages in service packs or updates, only through new
versions of the OS.

>> pages in client browser who has no bengali font installed on his local
>> computer.Please inform me details.
>This comes under a generalisation of accessibility, which I think is
>valid, but some on the list prefer a narrower definition which excludes
>things for which money spent on a browser will provide a solution.
>If you really have no control over the browsers, I would have to suggest
>that this is a case where imaging each line of text is the only practical
>solution at the moment; I would use a romanised text as the alt attribute
>(the choice of language and coding for text as graphics is more complex
>when the graphic is a link to another language environment, and you
>wouldn't use romanised forms for presentational material, with the body
>text in Bengali characters).
>Some other Indian++ languages are suitable for downloadable fonts,
>I've seen this for Telugu, but this puts restrictions on the browser,
>and I don't think it will work satisfactorily for Bengali (Devanagari,
>Gurmukhi, and Gujarati).  The Telugu example used the Symbol hack##,
>so is not something that should be particularly encouraged.
>If PDF is an option, I would go for that, as it allows embeddable fonts
>and has the fine positioning capabilities (even if they may make cut
>and paste difficult) needed to present the text properly.
>Proper support for North Indian languages in browsers will almost
>certainly come with proper fonts, that allow the use of standard character
>codes, used properly, so I don't see that you are going to lack the font
>and still have a browser capable of the language.
>One other option, although if the sticking point is lack of fonts rather
>than lack of support for them, the necessary download is probably out
>of the question, is SVG.  It has a more powerful font mechanism for
>non-European scripts, although this may not work well for small sizes.
>Handling these languages in the UK is, if anything, more difficult,
>as the likely places for the browser would be public libraries and the
>homes of younger relatives whose main working language is English and
>feel no need to access their ancestral languages on the web.  The Indian
>language versions of a recent publicity campaign about renumbering of the
>telephone system were Word documents (all versions were Word) containing
>scanned images of each page (I can't remember if they were handwritten).
>(Note that I've not worked in this area, its just one were there is an
>obvious need.)
>(My local council, Brent, which has large numbers of people whose first
>language isn't English, chickens out on their web page, and has a note
>suggesting the use of Babel Fish, but that will give you a romanised
>version, if it supports Bengali at all.)
>One thing that you can control is what the server does, and if there
>are English versions of the page, I would hope you would do proper
>language negotiation.  There is, however, a problem with language
>negotiation at the present, in that it doesn't cater for users with
>the language but without the capability to display it in the correct
>character set.  A standardised way of requesting romanised Bengali (if
>you set your language to hi for Google, you get romanised Hindi, not
>Devanagari), Unicode Bengali, text as graphics Bengali or Arabic script
>Bengali, would be desirable for this sort of language where workarounds
>for lack of browser capability may be needed.
>> I need this solution within a very short time.If u please dont mind to
>Asking at the last minute is never a good idea, and I don't think there
>is a clean solution.
>What would help though, is some background on the application, the
>audience, where the browsers would be, and the general support of Bengali
>on PCs.
>## The Symbol hack is selection of a font which appears completely
>different from the characters sent; it breaks when the browser really
>doesn't support fonts or doesn't have the right one.
>++ Not intended to represent any political unit.

the only way of handling bengali on the windows platform is to use custom
8-bit fonts. It would then be possible to create dynamic fonts (.pfr) and
embeded open type fonts. It would also be able to use these fonts to create
PDF files.

Obviously, unicode is the preferred long term solution, but Bengali, along
with Lao, Khmer, Myanmar, and a few other languages will probibaly not be
generally available in Windows (as a unicode solution) for a few more


Andrew Cunningham
Multilingual Technical Project Officer
Accessibility and Evaluation Unit, Vicnet
State Library of Victoria

Received on Monday, 27 August 2001 20:29:57 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 13 October 2015 16:21:14 UTC