Help:Multilingual support

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Articles on the English Wikipedia may contain words or texts written in different languages and scripts. To be able to correctly view and edit these articles requires that you have the appropriate fonts installed and to have correctly configured your operating system and browser. This guide will help you to do so.

Overview[edit]

Unicode[edit]

Articles on Wikipedia are encoded using Unicode (specifically UTF-8)[1], an industry standard designed to allow text and symbols from all of the writing systems of the world to be consistently represented and manipulated by computers. Because UTF-8 is backwards compatible with ASCII, and most modern browsers have at least basic Unicode support, most users will experience little difficulty reading and editing most of Wikipedia.

For older browsers, MediaWiki (the Wikipedia software), serves the wikitext in a safe mode upon editing. Characters that cannot be represented in ASCII are temporarily converted to hexadecimal character references, looking like ሴ. Existing hexadecimal character references get an additional leading zero so they are not converted to actual characters when the page is saved, and look like ሴ. Likewise, to create a hexadecimal character reference in safe mode, not the character itself, a leading zero should be added. One can check whether safe mode is used by editing this section. If M looks like M rather than M, safe mode is used.

Font[edit]

Main article: Unicode font

Most computers with Microsoft Windows, Apple's OS X and many Linux variants will already have fonts with support for Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and the International Phonetic Alphabet installed. Many mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad also include such fonts. Several historic and accented characters (used in the transliteration of foreign scripts) may be missing, though.

Microsoft fonts[edit]

Font Included with Scripts Description
Arial Unicode MS [1] Western, Japanese, Hangul, Johab, Big5, GB 2312, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Baltic, Central European, Celtic, Cyrillic, Thai and Vietnamese Supports a wide number of scripts, but is of a slightly lower quality than Arial because it lacks kerning and is not smoothed. Contains a minor bug that causes double-wide diacritics to be placed on the wrong characters.
Lucida Sans Unicode [2] Western, Hebrew, Greek, Turkish, Baltic, Central European, Cyrillic Has a much smaller character repertoire than that of Arial Unicode MS, but is more legible.
Tahoma [3] Western, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Baltic, Central European, Celtic, Cyrillic, Thai and Vietnamese Has a much smaller character repertoire than that of Arial Unicode MS, but is more legible, especially (according to Meta) in terms of Arabic and Persian characters.
Microsoft Sans Serif [4]
Not to be confused with MS Sans Serif
Western, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Celtic, Baltic, Central European, Cyrillic, Thai, Vietnamese Has better support for historical and accented Latin characters.

Other available unicode fonts[edit]

Bolded fonts are recommended.

Font Typeface License Format Encoding
Aboriginal Sans-serif, Serif Freeware OpenType Unicode 5.2
Charis SIL Serif Open Source OpenType, Graphite Unicode 7.0
Code2002 Archive copy at the Wayback Machine Freeware (must not be altered) TrueType Unicode, plane 2
Code2001 0.919 Archive copy at the Wayback Machine Freeware (must not be altered) TrueType Unicode, plane 1
Code2000 1.171 Sans-serif Shareware (unrestricted) TrueType Unicode, plane 0
DejaVu (free font) Sans-serif, Sans-mono, Serif Open Source OpenType Unicode
Doulos SIL Serif Open Source OpenType, Graphite Unicode 7.0
Everson Mono 3.2b4 Sans-mono Shareware TrueType Unicode
Fonts for Ancient Scripts (Greek, Egyptian, cuneiform...) Varying No license, but may be used for any purpose TrueType Unicode
Google Noto (Project to support all Unicode scripts) Sans-serif, Serif Open Source OpenType Unicode
Hanazono (80,000+ Chinese characters supported) Ming (comparable to serifed typefaces) Freeware (unrestricted) TrueType Unicode
TITUS Cyberbit Basic Serif Non-commercial TrueType, but requires Windows to install Unicode 4.0
Quivira Serif Freeware OpenType Unicode 7.0

Browsers[edit]

Internet Explorer
supports Latin (however not all extended sets), Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrew. Support for East Asian and some Indic scripts is available if support for this has been installed for Windows. As Internet Explorer will only use the default font for other scripts, those are usually not supported (unless the default font does).
Firefox
tries to render any character using all the fonts available on the system so multilingual support is generally good. The default rendering engine can support complex script rendering. Some Linux distributions ship with a Pango-based rendering engine which also does, although this may currently cause some display glitches with justified text.
Opera
tries to render any character using all the fonts available on the system so multilingual support is also good.[2] Opera uses the operating system to perform contextual glyph selection, ligature forming, character stacking, combining character support and other character shaping tasks.[3]
Chrome
Does not directly support several languages of South and Southeast Asian countries, but otherwise renders some tofu signs, due to its problem of font fallback machanism, you may need the Advanced Font Settings extension to optimize. Renders Devanagari (used for Hindi), Bengali, Sinhala, Gurmukhi, and Tibetan scripts in the examples below, but not some of languages of Southeast Asian countries.

Scripts[edit]

Armenian[edit]

The Armenian alphabet is only used to write the Armenian language. It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Armenian-render.svg Հայաստան

Avestan[edit]

The Avestan alphabet is used to write the Avestan language. It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Avestan Rendered.svg 𐬯𐬭𐬀𐬊𐬔𐬁

Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics[edit]

Canadian Aboriginal syllabics are an abugida used to write a number of First Nations languages in Canada, including Cree, Ojibwe, Naskapi, Inuktitut, Blackfoot, Sayisi, and Carrier. It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Nehiyawewin.svg ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ

Cherokee[edit]

Cherokee is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Cherokee.svg ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ

Coptic[edit]

The Coptic alphabet is used to write Coptic, the language used in Egypt before Arabic. It is currently used solely as a liturgical language, and is supported by the following fonts:

  • Alphabetum is a commercial unicode font, but it is the only font that provides Bohairic Coptic letters rather than Sahidic.
  • GNU FreeSerif
  • Noto Sans Coptic (direct download link), a font made by Google.
  • Segoe UI Symbol (Microsoft Windows font, available in Windows 7 and later)
  • Segoe UI Historic (Microsoft Windows font, available in Windows 10 and later)
  • Quivira: Use this for the best Coptic letter/ word spacing and sizing. It provides full Unicode support for all Coptic letters.
Correct rendering Your computer
Coptic-render.svg ⲙⲛⲧⲣⲙⲛⲕⲏⲙⲉ

Cuneiform[edit]

The cuneiform script was primarily used to write Akkadian and Sumerian (including Assyrian and Babylonian). It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Cuneiform Rendered.svg 𒅎𒀝𒂵𒌈

Deseret[edit]

The Deseret alphabet is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Deseret Alphabet.svg 𐐔𐐯𐑅𐐨𐑉𐐯𐐻 𐐈𐑊𐑁𐐩𐐺𐐯𐐻

East Asian[edit]

Script Correct rendering Your computer
Traditional Chinese Chinesetexttest.png

人人生來自由,
在尊嚴和權利上一律平等。
他們有理性和良心,
請以手足關係的精神相對待。

Simplified Chinese SimChinesetexttest.png

人人生来自由,
在尊严和权利上一律平等。
他们有理性和良心,
请以手足关系的精神相对待。

Japanese Japanese text test.svg

すべての人間は、生まれながらにして自由であり、
かつ、尊厳と権利と について平等である。
人間は、理性と良心とを授けられており、
互いに同胞の精神をもって行動しなければならない。

Korean Korean text test.svg

모든 인간은 태어날 때부터
자유로우며 그 존엄과 권리에
있어 동등하다. 인간은 천부적으로
이성과 양심을 부여받았으며 서로
형제애의 정신으로 행동하여야 한다.

Ethiopic[edit]

The Ethiopic syllabary is used in central east Africa for Amharic, Bilen, Oromo, Tigré, Tigrinya, and other languages. It evolved from the script for classical Ge'ez, which is now strictly a liturgical language. It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Ethiopiya-text.svg ኢትዮጵያ

Gothic[edit]

The Gothic alphabet is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Gutisk.png 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺

Indic[edit]

The following table compares how a correctly enabled computer would render the following scripts with how your computer renders them:

Script Correct rendering Your computer Help page
Bengali Complex Text Rendering - Bengali.svg ক + িকি Wikipedia:Bangla script display help
Devanāgarī Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Devanagari.png क + िकि Template:Devfonthelp
Gujarati Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Gujarati.png ક + િકિ
Gurmukhī Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Gurmukhi.png ਕ + ਿਕਿ
Kannada Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Kannada.png ಕ + ಿಕಿ
Malayalam Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Malayalam.png ക + െകെ
Oriya Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Oriya.png କ + େକେ
Sinhala Complex Text Rendering - Sinhala.svg ඵ + ේඵේ
Tibetan Examples of complex text rendering Tibetan.png ར + ྐ + ྱརྐྱ
Tamil Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Tamil.png க + ேகே
Telugu Examples.of.complex.text.rendering.Telugu.png య + ీయీ

Lisu (Fraser alphabet)[edit]

The Fraser alphabet is used only to write the Lisu language. It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Fraser-alphabet-render.svg ꓛꓬꓹ ꓡꓯꓺ ꓡꓯꓺ

Old Persian cuneiform[edit]

The Old Persian cuneiform script was used to write the Old Persian language. The script is encoded in block "Old Persian", code points 103A0–103DF (Unicode.org chart). It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer Transliteration
Old-persian-render.svg 𐎣𐎲𐎢𐎪𐎡𐎹 Kambujiya (Cambyses II)

Runes[edit]

Runes are supported by the following fonts:

Script Correct rendering Your computer
Elder Futhark (2nd to 8th centuries) Elder-Futhark-render.svg ᚠᚢᚦᚨᚱᚲ
Anglo-Saxon runes (5th to 11th centuries) Anglo-saxon-runes-render.svg ᚠᚢᚦᚩᚱᚳ
Medieval runes (12th to 15th centuries) Medieval-runes-render.svg ᚠᚢᚧᛆᚱᚴ

Sutton SignWriting[edit]

Sutton SignWriting is used to write any Sign language. It is supported with the SignWriting 2010 Typeface which includes 2 TrueType fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
SignWriting-render-string.png 𝧪𝪞𝪨 𝠀𝪛𝪩 𝠀𝪛𝪡 𝧪𝪤

Syriac/Aramaic script[edit]

Syriac and Aramaic scripts like most Semitic scripts flow from right-to-left which can cause letters to appear in the wrong order. The tag {{rtl-lang}} can fix this issue.

Most operating systems provide support for Syriac scripts natively, however only the Maḏnḥāyā (ܡܕܢܚܝܐ‎) and ʾEsṭrangēlā (ܐܣܛܪܢܓܠܐ‎) varieties got correct rendering.[4] In order to render the Serṭā (ܣܪܛܐ‎) variety, additional fonts are needed. These scripts are supported by the following fonts:

Script Correct rendering Your computer
Maḏnḥāyā Maltho Madenhaya.svg ܒܪܹܝܼܫܝܼܬ݀ ܐܝܼܬ݂ܲܘܗ݇ܝ ܗ݇ܘܵܐ ܡܹܠܬܵ݀ܐ.
Serṭā Maltho Serto.svg ܒ݁ܪܺܝܫܺܝܬܼ ܐܻܝܬܼܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܡܶܠܬܼܳܐ.
ʾEsṭrangēlā Maltho Strangilo.svg ܒܪܝܫܝܬ ܐܝܬܗܘܝ ܗܘܐ ܡܠܬܐ.

Tifinagh script[edit]

The Tifinagh alphabet is used to write the Berber languages. IRCAM (Institut Royal de la Culture Amazighe) has a software suite developed for Windows XP that contains a Tifinagh keyboard and a font available for download here. The script is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Tifinagh Rendered.svg ⵜⵉⴼⵉⵏⴰⵖ

South East Asian[edit]

Balinese[edit]

The Balinese script is used to write the Balinese language. The script is encoded in block "Balinese", code points 1B00–1B7F (Unicode.org chart). It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Swasti Prapti ring Wikipédia Basa Bali.png
Your computer ᭚ᬲ᭄ᬯᬲ᭄ᬢᬶ​ᬧ᭄ᬭᬧ᭄ᬢᬶ​ᬭᬶᬂ​ᬯᬶᬓᬶᬧᬾᬤᬶᬳ​ᬩᬲ​ᬩᬮᬶ᭟
Transliteration Swasti Prapti ring Wikipédia Basa Bali

Batak[edit]

The Batak alphabet is used to write the Batak languages. It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Batak-render.svg ᯀᯂ᯲ᯘᯒ

Burmese[edit]

The Burmese alphabet is used to write the Burmese language. The script is encoded in block "Myanmar", code points 1000-109F (Unicode.org chart). It is supported by the follow fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer
Complex Text Rendering - Burmese.svg ဃ + ြ → ဃြ

Javanese[edit]

The Javanese script is used to write the Javanese language. It is supported by Unicode 5.2 and above. The script is a so-called SIL Graphite-script, and is best supported by Firefox. As of recently however, it can be rendered by the OpenType and TrueType standards, provided the right font is used. The script is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Sugeng rawuh tuladha.png
Your computer ꧋ꦱꦸꦒꦼꦁꦫꦮꦸꦃꦮꦺꦤ꧀ꦠꦼꦤ꧀ꦲꦶꦁꦮꦶꦏꦶꦥꦺꦝꦶꦪꦃꦗꦮꦶ꧉
Transliteration Sugeng Rawuh Wonten ing Wikipédia Jawi

Lontara[edit]

The Lontara script is used to write the Buginese, Makassarese, and Mandar language. The script is encoded in block "Buginese", code points 1A00–1A1F (Unicode.org chart). It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer Transliteration
Lontara script.png ᨅᨔ ᨕᨘᨁᨗ Basa Ugi

Old Tagalog/Baybayin[edit]

Baybayin (also known as the Tagalog script in Unicode and Alibata) is a form of pre-Spanish Philippine writing system in which modern minority scripts in the Philippines has descended. It is supported by the following fonts:

  • Noto Sans Tagalog (direct download link), a font made by Google.
  • Paul Morrow's Baybayin Fonts. Offers the most extensive list of Baybayin fonts for Windows and Macintosh operating systems.
  • PUKBL is a free unicode font support which defines own assignment of Baybayin alphabet to a normal keyboard. Available for Windows and Linux users.
  • Quivira is a proportional serif font that produces very readable text. Supports several scripts, among them the Babayin script.
Correct rendering Your computer Transliteration
Tagalog in Baybayin script postkudlit.png

ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜊᜏᜆ᜔ ᜆᜂ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜁᜐᜒᜈᜒᜎᜅ᜔ ᜈ ᜋᜌ᜔ ᜃᜍᜉᜆᜈ᜔,
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜉᜈ᜔ᜆᜌ᜔ ᜐ ᜇᜒᜄ᜔ᜈᜒᜇᜇ᜔,
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜃᜍᜉᜆᜈ᜔ ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜆᜂ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜊᜒᜈᜒᜌᜌᜀᜈ᜔ ᜅ᜔ ᜉᜄᜒᜁᜐᜒᜉ᜔,
ᜀᜆ᜔ ᜃᜍᜓᜈᜓᜅᜈ᜔ ᜈ ᜃᜁᜎᜅᜅ᜔ ᜋᜄ᜔ᜃᜁᜐ ᜐ ᜃᜉᜆᜒᜍᜈ᜔

Ang bawat tao ay isinilang na may karapatan, at pantay sa dignidad, at karapatan ang tao ay biniyayaan ng pag-iisip, at karapatan na kailangang magkaisa sa kapatiran.

Sundanese[edit]

The Sundanese script is used to write the Sundanese language. The script is encoded in block "Sundanese", code points 1B80–1BBF (Unicode.org chart). It is supported by the following fonts:

Correct rendering Your computer Transliteration
Ladrang-sunda.png ᮜᮓᮢᮀ

ᮃᮚ ᮠᮤᮏᮤ ᮛᮥᮕ ᮞᮒᮧ ᮜᮩᮒᮤᮊ᮪,
ᮆᮀᮊᮀ-ᮆᮀᮊᮀ, ᮆᮀᮊᮀ-ᮆᮀᮊᮀ,
ᮞᮧᮊ᮪ ᮜᮥᮜᮥᮔ᮪ᮎᮒᮔ᮪ ᮓᮤ ᮎᮄ,
ᮃᮛᮤ ᮘᮍᮥᮔ᮪ ᮃᮛᮦᮊ᮪ ᮞᮛᮥᮕ ᮏᮩᮀ
ᮜᮔ᮪ᮎᮂ.

Ladrang

Aya hiji rupa sato leutik,
Éngkang-éngkang, éngkang-éngkang,
Sok luluncatan di cai,
Ari bangun arék sarupa jeung lancah.

Special cases[edit]

Esperanto[edit]

In edit box In database and output
S S
Sx Ŝ
Sxx Sx
Sxxx Ŝx
Sxxxx Sxx
Sxxxxx Ŝxx

Mediawiki installations configured for Esperanto use UTF-8 for storage and display. However when editing the text is converted to a form that is designed to be easier to edit with a standard keyboard.

The characters for which this applies are: Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĥ, Ĵ, Ŝ, Ŭ, ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, ŭ. you may enter these directly in the edit box if you have the facilities to do so. However when you edit the page again you will see them encoded as Sx. This form is referred to as "x-sistemo" or "x-kodo". In order to preserve round trip capability when one or more x's follow these characters or their non-accented forms (C, G, H, J, S, U, c, g, h, j, s, u), the number of x's in the edit box is double the number in the actual stored article text.

For example, the interlanguage link [[en:Luxury car]] to en:Luxury car has to be entered in the edit box as [[en:Luxxury car]] on eo:. This has caused problems with interwiki update bots in the past.

Romanian[edit]

The Romanian alphabet contains an S-comma (Ș ș) and T-comma (Ț ț). These characters were added to Unicode 3.0 at the request of the Romanian standardization institute. As font support for these characters has been poor in the past, many computer users use the similar characters S-cedilla (Ş ş) and T-cedilla (Ţ ţ) instead. However, on Wikipedia it is recommended to use the correct characters with comma below.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Until June 2005, when MediaWiki 1.5 came into use on the Wikimedia projects, articles on the English Wikipedia were encoded using ISO/IEC 8859-1 (although the additional characters from the Windows-1252 character set were used in practice.) All characters from the ISO/IEC 10646 Universal Character Set could be accessed through numerical entities, as specified by the HTML 4.01 specification. Since, nearly all pages have been converted to use Unicode directly. Old discussion on the topic can be read at Wikipedia talk:Unicode.
  2. ^ http://www.opera.com/support/kb/view/435/
  3. ^ http://www.opera.com/docs/specs/#text
  4. ^ Microsoft Windows support ʾEsṭrangēlā varianty via Estrangelo Edessa and Segoe UI Historic, some Linux destributions support Maḏnḥāyā varianty via FreeSans.

External links[edit]