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pwillies
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How many scripts (as in writing systems) are supported by InDesign?

Jul 18, 2012 8:05 AM

I am trying to find a definitive list of scripts (as in writing systems) supported by InDesign. Is that available somewhere? These are the scripts I am interested in:

 

Arabic

Armenian

Bengali

Braille

Canadian Syllabics

Chinese

Cherokee

Cyrillic

Devanagari

Ethiopic

Georgian

Greek

Gujarati

Gurmukhi

Hebrew

Japanese

Kannada

Khmer

Korean

Lao

Latin

Malayalam

Mongolian

Myanmar

Oriya

Sinhala

Tamil

Telugu

Thai

Tibetan

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2012 9:59 AM   in reply to pwillies

    Some parts of your question are quite vague - "Ethiopic" covers a lot of ground,you know. But at one point or another, I've typeset pretty much every one of those languages in InDesign. (Okay, okay, I've never done any Kannada or Oriya- and the Monglolian was in boring Cyrillic, not the cool old-fashioned vertical script.)

     

    However, it would have been nigh impossible without plugins like World Tools from in-tools.com, specialized Javascripts, templates saved out of CJK InDesign, and so on. ID's complex script support was hidden, unsupported, and only exposable via scripting until CS6 - and most of the tools to manipulate type in non-Latin scripts still require hidden functionality, hence the plugins and templates and et cetera. There is no "master list of supported scripts," so far as I've seen.  And some of these languages, like Khmer and Lao, have either funky Unicode requirements (zero-width spaces) or a long tradition offunky quasi-Unicode workaround requirements (duct-taped hacks to fake up zero-width spaces).

     

    It's deeper than it looks. Try searching Google for "World-Ready Composer" -  that will get you started.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2012 12:01 PM   in reply to pwillies

    Yeah, I do understand that Ge'ez/Ethiopic script covers many languages - but quite a few East African minority languages written in Ge'ez that are not Amharic or Tigrinya use forms/"houses"/etc. not in the Unicode spec. The same is true of minority languages in Myanmar - don't assume you can typeset Karen once you have "Myanmar" in your list of supported languages!

     

    When you say "out of the box" do you really mean that? Most of the languages in that list that will work without plugins etc. require specialized fonts. The glyph coverage of the fonts that Adobe gives away with ID or the Creative Suite is extensive, but won't include most of your required languges. But, assuming you already have the fonts, and assuming that you know where to find the World-Ready Composer, then anything in that list that is not right-to-left (or vertical) should at least render correctly in ID. Mind you, "render correctly" doesn't help you if your Burmese translator doesn't key in zero-width spaces, for example.

     

    I think that this may well be why there is no Adobe master-list of supported languages that is easy to find; it's because It Is A Very Complicated Issue. I've been doing typesetting in a list of languages much like yours for the last decade, and even if Adobe's type rendering engine handles fonts-built-according-to-Unicode-spec (e.g. Lao), there is significant variation in font development techniques, font modification by people writing in minority languages, keying order, and personal translator keying preferences. But if you find that list, post it! I will be surprised, but not shocked, if it exists somewhere.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2012 1:17 PM   in reply to pwillies

    The question would be whether the text stream needed for InDesign to render correctly differs from what Word requires.

     

    If I wasn't recovering from repetitive stress injuries, I'd write you an essay.   As it is, all I can do in my doctor-prescribed limited keyboarding time today is this: Word uses Windows to render Unicode as do most Windows apps. InDesign does not. Behaviors may differ on combining accents, decomposition, et cetera. Most dirty hacky fonts for minority languages have hacks which cater to the infamous USP10.dll - in other words, they cater to Word, and the idiosyncracies of Windows Unicode rendering. Many fonts for minority languages take advantage of these idiosyncracies to make using these fonts easier in Word; they'll make your life harder as you work around them.

     

    It's Deeper Than It Looks.

     
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