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Old 06-09-2008, 05:42 PM   #1
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Foreign language support - doable on 1.0?

So the major thing holding me back from buying a Kindle is the lack of Asian language support. I understand this is not exactly the most pressing item on the Kindle wishlist, but it's a major item on my own personal wishlist. I've seen hacks or ways to install asian character sets / fonts (I'm looking for Korean in particular) on the Sony Reader and other ebook devices, and I've seen some mention of people looking for the same in the Kindle Developer's Corner. Does anyone have any thoughts about whether this is something that Amazon could potentially fix on-the-fly and might? Or whether the Kindle will eventually be hacked to the point where I can install korean characters? I really want an ebook device, and there's just one series in korean that i just would like to be able to read (all in .txt files) originally released over the net that I've kept and saved. But not currently possible in the Kindle..
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:32 PM   #2
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Foreign Language support is currently available on the Cybook Gen3.

You are able to load any True Type Fonts (TTF) pretty easily, so if you have the fonts on you computer, you should probably be able to display documents using the font.

Its probably doubtful on the Kindle in the near future, unless they decide to launch internationally. The major advantage and disadvantage of the US market is its uniformity after all, and while they might soon have (if not already) support for spanish, french, etc. Asian language sets are doubtful.

Think that a Korean company has launched a ebook device as I remember seeing a thread about it.

Yes, here it is http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18494
and it talks about the Soribook http://www.soribook.com/index.jsp , Translation fo the specs is here
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:56 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Is the Kindle set up to be more difficult for foreign language hacking, than, say, the Sony Reader? I believe putting Korean characters on the Sony also involves a hack. I'd be content if I thought this is doable and on the way once some talented person sets their mind to it (or alternatively, Amazon could just allow it, which would save some people headaches).. because eventually someone probably will, unless there's some reason the Kindle is particularly difficult to hack compared to the Sony.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:47 AM   #4
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Kindle is not supporting Unicode Character sets (UTF-8). Hence I am unable to make use of its the 'Documents' services either at my place in south India. Hence with great reluctance I am returning the Kindle back to Amazon.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:26 AM   #5
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Kindle does support UTF-8 in its Mobi books and probably in the browser. However, the built-in fonts have glyphs only for Latin characters, so any non-Western languages won't work.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:37 AM   #6
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Kindle does support UTF-8 in its Mobi books and probably in the browser. However, the built-in fonts have glyphs only for Latin characters*, so any non-Western languages won't work.
* emphasis is mine.

Non-Latin characters should be supported with embedded fonts in the "Topaz" format. I don't know whether the free transformation that Amazon offers would produce a Topaz formatted document or not. As far as I know, Amazon has not made its Topaz-creation software available to the general public. Certainly some of the books that Amazon is distributing are in that format since people have been complaining about slow rendering of the screen.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbusybookworm View Post
Foreign Language support is currently available on the Cybook Gen3.

You are able to load any True Type Fonts (TTF) pretty easily, so if you have the fonts on you computer, you should probably be able to display documents using the font.
Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that MobiPocket books (as used by the Gen3) only supported UTF8 encoding. Wouldn't you need UTF16 for languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc?

UTF8 should work OK for Cyrillic, Arabic, etc, but I'm not sure sure about those languages which need multi-byte character sets.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:02 AM   #8
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Both UTF-8 and UTF-16 encode full range of Unicode codepoints, just in a different way.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:16 AM   #9
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Thanks for clarifying that!
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elsi View Post
* emphasis is mine.

Non-Latin characters should be supported with embedded fonts in the "Topaz" format. I don't know whether the free transformation that Amazon offers would produce a Topaz formatted document or not. As far as I know, Amazon has not made its Topaz-creation software available to the general public. Certainly some of the books that Amazon is distributing are in that format since people have been complaining about slow rendering of the screen.
Hmm.. if there were a way to send a korean txt file and get back an embedded Topaz file, I'd buy Kindle. Maybe I'll get it and experiment anyways. I wouldn't mind very long page turns if it allows me to read the korean books. I only have a few of those anyways, but it's important for me to be able to read those as well.

Has anyone experimented with changing text files into jpgs and reading them on the Kindle that way? Know of a good text --> jpg converter that will automatically make each picture the right size for kindle or something?
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:44 AM   #11
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On a Sony or a Gen3 you could use a "PDF printer" to create a PDF with correctly-sized pages, and embed the Korean fonts in the PDF files. I'm not normally someone who'd recommend PDF, but that is something that it's good for.
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #12
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On a Sony or a Gen3 you could use a "PDF printer" to create a PDF with correctly-sized pages, and embed the Korean fonts in the PDF files. I'm not normally someone who'd recommend PDF, but that is something that it's good for.
And, perhaps an intermediate step in getting text to JPG as seajewel suggested. I might take some time to experiment with this over the weekend if someone wants to supply a text file in Korean. (And assuming I have a font that would work with it!)

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Old 06-12-2008, 10:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Kindle does support UTF-8 in its Mobi books and probably in the browser. However, the built-in fonts have glyphs only for Latin characters, so any non-Western languages won't work.
So igor, is there any possibility to hack in a different font, just as what you have done for Sony prs? I like kindle's built-in cecilia, but I do want international support...
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by seajewel View Post
Hmm.. if there were a way to send a korean txt file and get back an embedded Topaz file, I'd buy Kindle. Maybe I'll get it and experiment anyways. I wouldn't mind very long page turns if it allows me to read the korean books. I only have a few of those anyways, but it's important for me to be able to read those as well.

Has anyone experimented with changing text files into jpgs and reading them on the Kindle that way? Know of a good text --> jpg converter that will automatically make each picture the right size for kindle or something?
After many experiment, I think the best route so far, is to compile a html file into PDF with proper font and page size. You can use the Prince engine to do that -- it has the best CSS support to date. And then use PDFRead 1.8.2 to turn the PDF file into a prc file with embedded pngs. PDFRead is much slower than pdflrf, but it has built-in support for kindle specification so you can just leave it there.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:50 PM   #15
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After many experiment, I think the best route so far, is to compile a html file into PDF with proper font and page size. You can use the Prince engine to do that -- it has the best CSS support to date. And then use PDFRead 1.8.2 to turn the PDF file into a prc file with embedded pngs. PDFRead is much slower than pdflrf, but it has built-in support for kindle specification so you can just leave it there.
OK, I decide to share a Chinese book I made. It is Sun Tzu's Art of War. The texts were aligned vertically, as in the traditional style. Please enjoy it even if you don't understand Chinese.

Added: it was make for Kindle specifically (png sized 520x640 each). So I doubt if it would display properly on other devices, such as Cybook.
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File Type: prc Art of War.prc (793.5 KB, 232 views)

Last edited by lovebeta; 06-12-2008 at 10:52 PM.
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