Web developers of other languages for input on native fonts

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barkeraj
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Web developers of other languages for input on native fonts

Postby barkeraj » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:28 pm

Short version:
We need contacts of web developers of other languages to help us choose correct fonts for those languages

Long version:
As we continue to expand our offerings in other languages, we find that the basic "Arial, Helvetica, Sans-serif" fonts don't look that great in other languages. Default sizes may be too large or too small, glyphs may display poorly (jagged edges) etc. When a new language comes online (or expands) we try to find the best fonts to use for that language. Unfortunately wikipedia doesn't have a section on "best web fonts for X language."

We usually try to go out to existing sites in that language to see what fonts are used. Often times what we find is inconsistant. We don't know if the fonts they are using are good standard ones (like Arial, Helvetica or Verdana), bad standard ones (Comic Sans) or custom embedded fonts. We don't know if the font looks good to a native speaker. We don't know if the font is a serif or sans-serif (if those even exist in the language).

What we need is contacts with web developers that are native or actually work in a given language who can give us a list of good fonts that we can use.

We have a lot of asian languages coming up right now, so that is our immediate need, but any language (that isn't a Roman language) would be helpful.

If you can be of assistance in this area, or know someone who can, please let us know here. I'd have you PM me, but I can see this being a resources for many sites at the church and it would be good to have it as a living list. If you don't want to list your name here, then go ahead and PM me.

We may not use your services immediately or ever. But it would be great to have resources to go to if and when we do need them.

Thanks
Aaron Barker
Front-end Development Lead for LDS.org (content portions, not apps) and Ward Executive Secretary.

frostyfrog
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Postby frostyfrog » Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:06 am

I don't know any language other than English, so I'm not sure if I'll be of too much help, but...

Must Unicode fonts should work (see link #1 for a list), like Arial. Another thing that you would need to consider though, is whether or not their browser is newer or older (since newer browsers are the only ones that support downloading fonts) and what operating system they have (OS X and Linux don't come pre-installed with windows fonts). If you don't know what your users are using, then it's best to assume they are using outdated browsers (think IE6-ish) and/or non-common operating systems. In which case, you should use web safe fonts (see link #2).

Sorry for the confusing reply :S

Link 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode_font#List_of_Unicode_fonts
Link 2: http://web.mit.edu/jmorzins/www/fonts.html

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barkeraj
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Postby barkeraj » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:11 pm

Thanks for the reply. The common unicode fonts are what we start with, and are a good global solution. What we are wanting to do is target specific fonts for specific languages.

For example: In Chinese, this is the font stack we have come up with
新細明體, PMingLiU, "儷宋 Pro", "LiSong Pro", "蘋果儷細宋", "Apple LiSong", "Arial Narrow", Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

This stack would only be loaded when a user has changed to Chinese, so it won't cause issues for any other language. But the Chinese specific fonts look much better for Chinese users than the generic unicode fonts built for all languages.

So what we are hoping to get help on is what the language specific fonts would be for other languages to make them look their best for their users.
Aaron Barker
Front-end Development Lead for LDS.org (content portions, not apps) and Ward Executive Secretary.

frostyfrog
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:57 am
Location: Utah, US

Postby frostyfrog » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:23 pm

Ah, okay. Sorry I couldn't have helped. I hope some people for their respective languages can come and help out, since tech.lds.org isn't really well-known :(...

mevans
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Location: California, USA

Postby mevans » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:22 pm

I see this message was posted a while ago and you don't have much in the way of responses. Do you have a list of languages you're targeting? That might be helpful.

My current employment is pretty much US-only internal business systems, but I've worked for some companies where we had a significant international presence and I might be able to ask some people there what they use. It's not going to surprise me if they're using Arial Unicode, but maybe they're beyond that.

How does the church currently manage software translations? Is it all internal due to a bunch returned missionaries speaking many languages? Or do you reach out to members of specific countries for assistance? Or do you engage the services of a company that helps translate software? Or all of the above? I would think that one of the consulting firms that helps software companies do translations could advise you on font selection. Yes, it would be an expense and they probably want to sell you more services than you want, but you could get the contract down to the types of services you need.

gbw42
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Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:58 pm

Japanese suggestions

Postby gbw42 » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:20 am

I have a lot of experience with Asian languages on the web. The appearance of what are traditionally two-byte fonts varies depending on the OS. Windows makes no attempt at smoothing these fonts (for whatever reason), and for that reason on that platform it can be difficult to tell the difference between what we refer to as serif and sans serif in anything smaller than headline sizes, so I'm not sure how much it pays to differentiate there. Mobile OS's and Mac OS display the fonts clearly at all sizes, so it does matter there.

It looks like you've already chosen some for Chinese, and you didn't give any hints on how far you'd got with others, so I'll give my 2¢ on Japanese.

Meiryo, MS PGothic, MS PMincho, Hiragino Kaku Gothic ProN, Hiragino Mincho ProN, Hiragino Maru Gothic ProN

These are standard fonts, but they are ideal for everyday reading on the web, and what natives expect to see. If you're looking for more decorative fonts or headline fonts, that's a different ball of wax.

dilworth
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:03 am

Arabic

Postby dilworth » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:04 am

For future reference, I could be of some potential help with Arabic sites (dil@byu.edu).

josephrigby
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:47 pm

Korean fonts

Postby josephrigby » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:56 pm

Here is a list of the most commonly used Korean fonts.

Dotum is the most common used on the Internet. It is san serif.
Gulim is the next most common San serif font.

Batang is the most common serif font used, mostly for printed materials.

I'm not a programmer, but let me know if you have any questions about Korean and I'll see if I can find the answer for you.


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