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Old 06-29-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
NooN
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Kobo Touch and Arabic?

Hi guys,
I'm going to buy my first eReader, and I found that Kobo Touch is a nice start for me, but ..

I am wondering if there would be any support for Arabic language with the kobo touch, or the Arabic pdf files at least, because most of my books already in pdf format.

Any thoughts guys? Thanks..

note: forgive my bad English
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:56 AM   #2
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I don't much like guessing at things, but now that you can load your own fonts, the situation might be much better. What I don't know is if the html of the Arabic book has formatting tags that can be read by the reader. I have coded for Italian shtuff and the tags were in English...

PDF should be PDF, I would think. I can't see a problem, but don't know for sure.

Edit: Someone in another thread is very happy with Chinese fonts and books on her Kobo.

Last edited by taming; 06-29-2011 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taming View Post
I don't much like guessing at things, but now that you can load your own fonts, the situation might be much better. What I don't know is if the html of the Arabic book has formatting tags that can be read by the reader. I have coded for Italian shtuff and the tags were in English...

PDF should be PDF, I would think. I can't see a problem, but don't know for sure.

Edit: Someone in another thread is very happy with Chinese fonts and books on her Kobo.
Yes that was me that posted and my girlfriend is indeed very happy. Yes, with this new firmware, you should be able to add the Arabic fonts of your choice (TT or Open Type) and then choose the appropriate font when you load the book. I gave it a whirl with 6-7 Chinese books and 3 different Chinese fonts. All permutations and combinations worked.

My girlfriend finds a lot of Chinese books in .Doc format on the net. Usually we just save them to .RTF and have calibre convert it to EPub when adding it to Kobo, automatically. That has worked well so far.

Thank god we are no longer converting to PDF to read foreign books. Reading pdfs is still a pain compared to Epubs and the like.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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I experimented with .RTF on the latest Kobo Touch firmware and was very pleased with the flexibility and complete control using the new margins, fonts, line spacing controls. (No need to take the step to calibre and convert to an epub.)
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:43 AM   #5
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Thanks alot guys for your help

Thanks taming, porphyra and SensualPoet .. I will buy one soon ..
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:25 AM   #6
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NooN, you DO realize that no one has yet confirmed that it works with arabic?
The right-to-left may be a fail for the kobo, as it is with other similar readers released this spring that may use similar firmware (notably, adobe digital editions on board).

I'm going to try and go to the indigo store tomorrow and try out arabic, hebrew and just for kicks, a webpage and its conversion to epub that has a couple vertically arranged kanji characters. I just saved them on my microsd and I'll see if they let me test.
I'll report back. These epubs are all properly formatted on calibre on my computer.

Whatever the results, the "enthusiastic" (although perhaps not substantial) improvements in multidirectional writing noted for epub revision 3 this year may result in firmware updates for many readers to allow the new epub 3 epubs be readable.
And given kobo's ongoing support and firmware updates for all generations of kobo, I would be shocked if, when the time came, they didn't update everything they've already released. So you COULD buy it to read non right-to-left languages and then, if they're honorable, do a firmware update later for arabic/hebrew/persian etc when it's available. It's not like there are too many ereaders out there that can currently do proper right-to-left languages anyway. I think there are only a couple and they're really pricey. And their screens aren't as good, etc.

I'm not sure but I think I've read that the korean pageone papyrus or some model of it, seems to display hebrew in proper right-to-left in israel (an israeli book seller on here mentioned it) so if you can use arabic fonts, then it'll probably do right-to-left for arabic, too.
But it may be a special localized version for the israeli market, who knows?

see something about the papyrus here:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/arc.../t-105910.html
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95723

more on directionality of writing systems, kind of "east versus west":

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/arc...p/t-79709.html
http://idpf.org/epub/30/spec/epub30-...s-content-docs

http://idpf.org/epub/30/spec/epub30-...changed-xhtml5

(the last link, about "changes" from 2 to 3, doesn't say anything specifically on language direction, which leads me to say it signals an insubstantial change because it's called "changes vers 2 to 3" but it DOES explain maybe why all its new features, such as language writing direction, are available, namely:
the switch to html5. But I'm just guessing.)

Last edited by readingglasses; 07-03-2011 at 04:29 AM. Reason: forgot something i wanted to say/add
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:52 AM   #7
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You could also just convert any document in arabic/hebrew/persian etc from html/epub or any other format into PDF (page formatted for your screen, if you're half good at using calibre) and read it on a reader as pdf, as a last resort.
But you'll lose the ability to zoom font size without zooming the whole page, like you can with epub.
But maybe other readers allow you to change font size within a reflowable pdf. From what I've read, kobo doesn't allow the reflow of a reflowable pdf, it only presents the base page formatting as it's set in the pdf, unlike everyone else. But it's cheaper and simpler design than everyone else. So you may be stuck zooming and panning a pdf to read arabic, or else work at formatting them "just right" in calibre before transferring to kobo.

Or you could convert them to an image or series of images, in calibre or whatever, that the kobo (like others) supports: jpg, gif, bmp, png.

So it's not that you "can't" read arabic on kobo or other ereaders. It's just that you can't read it in epub version 2 as it exists on all readers today. But I haven't tested yet and maybe it can be done.

Last edited by readingglasses; 07-03-2011 at 04:26 AM. Reason: make a point clearer
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by readingglasses View Post
I'm going to try and go to the indigo store tomorrow and try out arabic, hebrew and just for kicks, a webpage and its conversion to epub that has a couple vertically arranged kanji characters. I just saved them on my microsd and I'll see if they let me test.
I'll report back. These epubs are all properly formatted on calibre on my computer.
Just be careful that the display units do have current firmware on them (ie 1.9.5). There were reports from an American poster that his local Borders still had version 1.9 on their display models.
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:38 AM   #9
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Just be careful that the display units do have current firmware on them (ie 1.9.5). There were reports from an American poster that his local Borders still had version 1.9 on their display models.
That was probably me. They ASSURED me that they had the "latest" fw on it, so when they handed it over(wasn't in the display area with the WiFi or Sony) the first thing that I did was check, and 'lo, r1.9 MAY20! (OOB fw?)

They also claimed to have them in stock but checking through the Borders.com page showed OOS.

Anyways the 1.9 fw was so clunky that I didn't bother playing around with it much and I suggested that they take some few minutes out of their busy loitering schedule to update their demo unit as more recent fw added a bunch of features and fixes.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:03 AM   #10
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Thanks CutterJohn42! It was you. I should not have been lazy and looked myself
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:20 PM   #11
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I tested the arabic text capabilities. I saved it in html, rtf, txt unicode, txt unicode utf-8, and loaded some arabic and arabic unicode fonts. No luck on any of them. I was thinking maybe xml with the metadata set specifically to arabic would work, but I'm not sure how to do it.
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Old 07-03-2011, 02:24 PM   #12
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Arabic PDF should work fine; I doubt that the other formats will.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:43 AM   #13
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Just be careful that the display units do have current firmware on them (ie 1.9.5). There were reports from an American poster that his local Borders still had version 1.9 on their display models.
Well, then I may be out of the game.
I didn't check the fw ver (read this caveat after). But after I calmed down and accepted that the microsd doesn't "click" in or go all the way flush with the kobo frame (it sticks out a little, like a miniaturized expresscard on a laptop), I did all the power cycle stuff, it didn't see any of them.
Maybe b/c I didn't put the files in the top directory but in the folder of the top directory?
I'll check again the fw ver there and try some regular english epubs just to see if it won't recognize these "foreign seeming" epubs or if it's more general software issues.
Or even just my microSDHC. It's brand new and maybe the "lock/unlock" write protection is still a little unsure of itself. (It already tends to be insistently write protected on my pc, and needs lots of toggling and waiting of the lock switch in the adaptor, which is a common issue with any brand new sd cards, according to lexar and others, just fyi).
But I can't be counted on as a reliable tester as I have no full access to a kobo machine. And this just got a little involved. I'm bailing out.

Sure would be cool to have eastern right-to-left languages on a kobo, though.

Last edited by readingglasses; 07-04-2011 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:58 AM   #14
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Complex and BiDi glyphs on Kobo

I can confirm that you can read complex scripts in DRM-ed PDF's with embedded fonts with the Kobo Touch e-reader. Here's the Kobo reading an Indian language, Telugu:


I can also confirm that simply adding the specific language font in to Kobo's fonts folder will get the _letters_ displayed in epub books, but that the ordering of the characters would be off. In complex scripts such as those for Indic scripts and BiDi scripts, showing the specific letters of the alphabet is not enough; you also need to position them correctly.

I haven't specifically tested Arabic - could try later with Urdu, which has a similar script presumably - but given the experience with Telugu, I'm certain this would be the case.

I notice that Kobo's kernel is open-source; I'm presuming the fix would be as simple as somehow incorporating IBM's International Components for Unicode into the code-base, and then adding the respective fonts into the device. It is, however, also possible that I'm speaking out of my a** on the solution.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:36 PM   #15
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I notice that Kobo's kernel is open-source; I'm presuming the fix would be as simple as somehow incorporating IBM's International Components for Unicode into the code-base, and then adding the respective fonts into the device. It is, however, also possible that I'm speaking out of my a** on the solution.

There is one programmer who hacked the kobo wifi for awhile with some temporary help from kobo people. He's on here too but he says he gave up as, although the kernel is open source and many libraries are equally so, the main programs are not and are not open standards. It would require too much reverse engineering too much hacking and he didn't have any more time for it. He got some stuff customized and running but nothing at the level of being able to alter text interpretation.
I don't know anything about the most special kobo specific central programs on the touch.

His story is here:
http://blog.ringerc.id.au/search/label/kobo
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