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Old 02-23-2014, 12:43 PM   #1
panmanthe2nd
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Kobo Touch - Fonts for Sanskrit and diacritical marks

Hi all,

I'm new here. Hello!

My mother saw the Kobo Touch for £29.99 in WHSmith's and bought one for my sister's birthday (last week), and one for my birthday (next month).

My sister has been having a few problems with her's and we're hoping you might be able to help sort them out. Instead of listing all of her problems at once I'll do one at a time.

One of the main thing she uses her Kobo for is reading Krishna books as part of her religious studies. She bought a lot of ebooks (the format was .prc) from here.

When she views them on Calibre reader they look perfect, but on her Kobo some of the diacritic marks are messed up. For example 'Kṛṣṇa' shows up as 'K a'.

I've worked out that it's because of fonts. If I change the font to Dyslexie 'Kṛṣṇa' shows up as 'K ṣ a'. The site she got the books from only gives advice for viewing the diacritic marks properly on Android readers.

I've tried 'Sariga', 'ScaGoudy', 'Sanskrit-Times' and the 'Balarama' fonts (which I downloaded from here and here) but if anything, they seemed to make it worse.

Does anyone have an idea?

Thank you!
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panmanthe2nd View Post
(the format was .prc) from here.
Are you sure that they are prcs? That links says that they are epubs. (Nevertherless is irrelevant).

OTOH, I'm not sure if Kobo devices are capable of reading prcs... But if they are not, probably Calibre has automatically converted them to epubs before sending to your Kobo.


Quote:
Originally Posted by panmanthe2nd View Post
When she views them on Calibre reader they look perfect, but on her Kobo some of the diacritic marks are messed up. For example 'Kṛṣṇa' shows up as 'K a'.
Good news because:
  • If you can view them in Calibre it means they are not DRMed so you can easily modify or convert them as needed.
  • If Calibre shows them fine it means that your computer has already installed at least a GOOD font with a complete Sanskrit character set. Locate that font.

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Originally Posted by panmanthe2nd View Post
Does anyone have an idea?
I don't know if Kobo devices are capable of correctly rendering Sanskrit text if their involved unicode is "strange" (example combining characters), but supposing that they are, the key factor is making that GOOD font available inside the device.

You can do this in two ways:
  • Copying it (in a special way) inside your device and making it available for your books.
  • Possibly the best one. Embedding that GOOD font in each of your Sanskrit epubs. Because if done correctly this procedure will allow a perfect rendering in any device. (Its only drawback is that the ebook sizes are going to grow...).

So let's start with the second one. Really easy:
  • If your ebooks are prcs then convert them to epubs with Calibre. But when doing that, go to the "Look & Feel" tab in the conversion dialogue and within "Embed font family:" option select that GOOD font.
  • If your ebooks are already epubs, you can also do an epub to epub conversion with the same procedure as above in order to embed that GOOD font.
  • Ok, now your new epub contains that GOOD font inside it and it should work, but as the context help explains in the conversion dialogue, if other different fonts are explicitly set to be used through the book CSS styles, those settings will override that GOOD font and those other fonts could be not embedded so they will be still missing when reading in your Kobo device.
  • To solve it, use Polish Books tool inside Calibre >>> "Embed all referenced fonts" option. Now you are completely sure that every font used in the book, (the default one and any other special one the book could have used), is also stored inside it. So if it displays fine in Calibre viewer, it should be rendered perfectly in your Kobo device, unless there's some kind of incompatibility which of course wouldn't have any solution.
  • Just to be sure: in your Kobo device use "Document Default" setting because if you force the use any other Kobo pre-installed and available font, all this procedure would be meaningless as you can imagine...

Last edited by arspr; 02-23-2014 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panmanthe2nd View Post
I've worked out that it's because of fonts. If I change the font to Dyslexie 'Kṛṣṇa' shows up as 'K ṣ a'. The site she got the books from only gives advice for viewing the diacritic marks properly on Android readers.

I've tried 'Sariga', 'ScaGoudy', 'Sanskrit-Times' and the 'Balarama' fonts (which I downloaded from here and here) but if anything, they seemed to make it worse.

Does anyone have an idea?

Thank you!
Welcome. I took a look at the web page and it mentioned that the needed font is embedded in the epub so you might want to try setting the font for the epub to Document Default. Otherwise, I've seen quite a few epubs where the font declarations in the css were not done properly and it can be fun redoing them.

I'm not sure if you are aware of this but an issue with adding fonts to a Kobo ereader is that the font naming convention is very strict. I looked at the fonts file from the link you posted and the font file names are not correct for a Kobo device. I've attached a copy of the font file here with the fonts renamed. Copy the font files to the root of the Kobo's internal storage in a directory called "fonts" (all lower case) and then power cycle the Touch. After that, you should be able to select a font using the font menu and have it work.

See the "Summary of modified fonts" sticky (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=204363 ) for more information.

Regards,
David
Attached Files
File Type: zip fonts.zip (282.8 KB, 23 views)
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arspr View Post
Are you sure that they are prcs? That links says that they are epubs. (Nevertherless is irrelevant).

OTOH, I'm not sure if Kobo devices are capable of reading prcs... But if they are not, probably Calibre has automatically converted them to epubs before sending to your Kobo.
Opps, I put the wrong link on there. She bought http://krishnastore.co.uk/srila-prabhupadas-books-for-amazon-kindle-h-krishna-1570.html"]here (same site, same books, but it's the 'for kindle' version). She bought them before she had her kobo to read on the computer.

The font that Calibre's viewer seems to be using is Serif - Times New Roman. I've tried embedding that and doing the "Embed all referenced fonts", but that didn't work.

Thank you so much DNSB for renaming the fonts! However sadly the diacritic marks still don't all show up.

Maybe she should buy and try the epub version?
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:46 PM   #5
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What an amazing coincidence. A few days ago I had the exact same problem trying to read a Buddhist translation. I have had the very same problem as panmanthe2nd described.

I've tried using fonts with tons of unicode characters and still no luck. What now?

Last edited by henriquemaia; 02-23-2014 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:37 AM   #6
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I have had the very same problem as panmanthe2nd described.
Maybe someone could upload a piece of indicative, problematic text and a screenshot of how its supposed to be rendered, so other people with different fonts give it a go.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:24 AM   #7
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Does this test ePub help? See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...3&postcount=63
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:24 AM   #8
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I was thinking about something with Sanskrit text that is difficult to get displayed right, like the OP said.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:32 AM   #9
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I was thinking about something with Sanskrit text that is difficult to get displayed right, like the OP said.
Mine isn't Sanskrit text, but English text with Sanskrit diacritical marks
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by panmanthe2nd View Post
Hi all,

Does anyone have an idea?
If your running an old version of windows on your PC you might have Ms Arial Unicode.Right now I cannot remember the font used in newer windows versions, maybe something starting with C... Your sister could use this on the kobo. You can also search the web for the free Gandhari Unicode font.
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:07 PM   #11
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If your running an old version of windows on your PC you might have Ms Arial Unicode.Right now I cannot remember the font used in newer windows versions, maybe something starting with C... Your sister could use this on the kobo. You can also search the web for the free Gandhari Unicode font.
Thank you!!!

I googled 'free Gandhari Unicode font' and downloaded the first I found (this one here), renamed the ttf files following DNSB's example, put them on the Kobo, and it seems to have worked!

That's amazing. Thank you.

I think I might embed them into the books now.
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:18 PM   #12
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and it seems to have worked!
Good!

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I think I might embed them into the books now.
Wouldn't that be a waste of space? Or do you plan to use these files on several different devices?
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:24 PM   #13
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Wouldn't that be a waste of space? Or do you plan to use these files on several different devices?
You might be right. I'll see how big it makes them.
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:27 PM   #14
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and it seems to have worked!
I don't follow you...

You previously said that you could render your book fine in Calibre Viewer. Didn't you?

That means that you have access to ALL the needed fonts either because they are already embedded in the book or because they were correctly installed in your PC so it could call and use them.

If that is the situation, embedding the default font and every called one would make a perfect self-contained book. And it should render fine in Kobo unless there's some kind of incompatibility because of combining characters.

I mean, it doesn't matter if you copy the fonts to the device using the procedure DNSB pointed or if you embed them in the book. If you do it right BOTH methods should work or BOTH methods should fail.

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Old 02-28-2014, 03:30 AM   #15
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...And it should render fine in Kobo unless there's some kind of incompatibility because of combining characters.

I mean, it doesn't matter if you copy the fonts to the device using the procedure DNSB pointed or if you embed them in the book. If you do it right BOTH methods should work or BOTH methods should fail.

You're right. I thought it had worked because the bit that I looked at was rendered properly but after looking at them more most of the diacritical marks are still just blank spaces.

I think it must be some kind of incompatibility. At least it's better than it was.
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