8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 31, 2014 7:31 AM by thomastoews

    Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode


      Greetings all you InDesign scholars!


          I am currently busy converting a print version of a book to e-book format. The difficulty I am having has to do with the way Adobe InDesign handles right-to-left fonts. The book on which I am working contains a lot of Hebrew because it is an intensive word-study of the Hebrew Bible.


         When the InDesign document was first created from a Word Document, Adobe took all of the right-to-left Hebrew characters and flipped them around backwards. What a mess! My employer tells me that their solution was to manually go through the book and change every charater to bwhebb, the BibleWorks font. Yikes! This is not a unicode font, so when I export an XML file from InDesign to make an e-book, all of my Hebrew letters come out as garbled Roman letters and symbols. I'm trying to find a macro that will let me convert to a Unicode font so that we can quickly change things to export this file but WITHOUT inverting the letters.


         Are any of you knowledgeable about this kind of problem?


      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
          Joel Cherney Level 5

          Yes, and ugh. That would have been a fine solution in 1994, but today there is no reason whatsoever to use legacy non-Unicode text encodings for languages like Hebrew. I've never used BibleWorks myself, but it's just like the stuff I face on a daily basis - many people who learned how to key non-Latin scripts in the 90s are reluctant to give up their legacy-encoding fonts, so after a few years of hassling my Lao and Cambodian translators, I just give in and write text conversion scripts for them (or custom keyboards that let them key in their preferred keyboard layout yet generate Unicode text).


          I did a bit of digging around for you, and found that there are Word macros already written that will handle the BibleWorks -> Unicode conversion for you. I doubt that every single one of these steps will work for you, but in your shoes I'd


          1) Export perfectly-styled text from InDesign to RTF (or go back and get that source Word doc)

          2) Open RTF in Word

          3) Use a Word macro to convert text from BibleWorks to Unicode (link to Youtube showing particulars including .exe download that is supposed to do the conversion for you)

          4) Place RTF back into InDesign and clear overrides (or re-place Word doc and re-format)


          If your book isn't already perfectly styled then that won't work for you. A Javascript could be developed to use in InDesign, and if I were a fast scripter I'd hammer it out for you. I am an abysmally slow scripter, or I'd be hammering away instead of posting. But it seems doable to me - if you already had tables showing the BibleScript encoding I might be able to just copy and paste into my scripts for converting similar old fonts to Unicode.

          • 2. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
            Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

            If you work on the CC you can change your preferences in the CC app, right above in the corner is the gear symbol: Preferences > Language, there is one entry with English with Hebrew support for RTL texts.

            If you are in an older version before CS6 you need to download a plugin with ME support or buy a ME version of InDesign.

            Joel answered the rest.

            • 3. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
              1John5vs7 Level 1

              Thank you for your input. I found that by tagging every word with the BWHebb font with "dcrit" (short for diacritics), I could then use the CSS selector @font-face to define the name of the font and the location of the font file (bwhebb_0.ttf), load the font in with my e-book, and then define .dcrit as font-family: bwhebb. No problem. I will certainly use a Unicode going forward to avoid this headache!

              • 4. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
                1John5vs7 Level 1

                Thank you for your useful feedback. When you say "CC app", do you mean the Creative Cloud app? If not, what does CC stand for? Is this something built-in to InDesign CS6? If so, how do I access it? I'm trying to find information on the web about it, but I'm not certain I am understanding your acronym correctly.





                Edit: Now that I have done some more research, I think you are asking if I work on my e-book conversions within the Creative Cloud app. My answer is no. We use ScribeNet for our conversions. I am looking at how to get right-to-left support within Adobe InDesign so that we can publish scholarly work on Hebrew and other Near Eastern ancient languages. What I have currently found that works as a solution is to simply use the left-to-right bwhebb font and then tag all occurrences with <dcrit></dcrit> so that I can point the selected words to an embedded font. It's clunky, but at least the text renders this way. In the future, I would adore being able to use a Unicode Hebrew font, but apparently what happens is Adobe flips any right-to-left text in Word around when importing the file! This means we have to go through and manually re-key every consonant and vowel point, which is extremely labor intensive and unacceptable.


                We are currently working with ScribeNet to figure out a work around, but it sounds like this is a deficiency with Adobe, not with our conversion process. There are numerous languages in the world that are written right to left. Perhaps Adobe InDesign should take this into account?

                • 5. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
                  Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                  Everyone who is subscribed to the Creative Cloud gets the Creative Cloud Application installed. Normally this app launches with computer start. When it is running you have first to login to use it. In the preferences settings in that application you can choose which language your programs should have. One selection can be, English with Hebrew support. If you do RTL projects you should use it. It will have no negative impact to your English projects.

                  Prior to the CC versions you would have to buy either a ME version from the programs or buy seperate plugins to get RTL support.

                  EPUB conversion can be done via export from InDesign. All EPUB functionality has been strenghtened with each version, even with each dot version.

                  • 6. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
                    1John5vs7 Level 1

                    I do not subscribe to the Creative Cloud, so that rules that out.


                    However, I see at this link: http://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/using/arabic-hebrew.html that I can accomplish right-to-left in InDesign CS6. However, I cannot locate the button they're talking about that lets me swap between left-to-right and right-to-left. I have the Paragraph options panel up, and I have selected "World-Ready Composer" from the drop down, but nothing seems to happen, and there certainly is not a button akin to the one in the image.


                    Any ideas?

                    • 7. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode

                      You need the Middle-Eastern version of InDesign for the extra right-to-left type/story features. Without it, you have to resort to right justification, I believe. At least, that is what I have been doing.

                      • 8. Re: Need help converting BibleWorks Hebrew font to Unicode
                        thomastoews Level 1

                        Adobe needs to fix the right-to-left importing of Hebrew when you place a document. It seems to work okay with not reversing the Hebrew letters, however, if you do the old "Copy and Paste routine. At least this is a workaround.