Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slavic Language Transliteration Tools

Danslav Slavenskoj has recently published as series of useful extensions for the Safari and Chrome browsers that will transliterate among a number of Slavic languages. You can find them at

(Note that these change the way text is displayed on the browser, and you may mistakenly think that something is wrong with your system if you forget that you have them activated.)

Google Translate App for iOS Offers Audio Input/Output

The Google Translate app released in February for iOS devices has the capability to transcribe speech in one language, translate it into another, and then speak out the translated text. I tried this with some simple phrases and found it kind of amazing.

The languages covered for speech input besides English are Japanese, Chinese, Afrikaans, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. Speech output includes these plus Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hungarian, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Online Customized Font Maker

I recently discovered the SIL TypeTuner site, which may be of interest to others. It enables you to download customized versions of the SIL special language fonts Andika Basic, Charis SIL, Gentium Plus, Doulos SIL, Lateef, and Scheherazade with a range of special features which you can select from a menu. To try it out, go to

I assume that these fonts can also be embedded in webpages using @fontface, so that you can create webpages that will display the special features of your custom font even though the viewer has not installed it on his machine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

OS X 10.7 Lion: New Language Features?

Apple's recent preview of OS X 10.7 Lion does not mention any new language features, but some of the rumor sites like Macrumors and Appleinsider have published reports of a) Arabic system localization, b) voices for text-to-speech for languages other than English, and c) access to accented characters via a popup menu when a key is held down.

Update: A 4/8 report by Appleinsider indicates TextEdit will now have the vertical text layout capability considered important for Chinese and Japanese.

Lion is scheduled for release in the "Summer of 2011."