In another thread, David_K wrote:
how do you type out the tone marks from the keyboard and then put it on the web? I have experimented once with Lucinda font and had to use the "Insert (Special) Symbol" function in MSWord before copying the whole thing to HTML. Apart from being highly tedious as you can imagine my other problem was I could not illustrate or type some Chinese characters on the same page. But I wonder if this latter problem has been resolved. My purpose was I wanted to type out passages that I had read (in Chinese and Pinyin) and put it up on Web pages.
This is a problem that makes me want to tear out what little hair I have left.
I only use tone marks in the MRT section of my site, such as on the page at www.romanization.com/mrt/danshui_tones.html
And there I cheat, by using a GIF file rather than real tone marks on text, because overcoming the problem is complicated.
The main trouble is that, generally speaking, Big5 Chinese fonts don’t come with the extended characters that are necessary to show, for example, a third-tone o.
Third tones are the most complicated problem to overcome, because first tones can usually be omitted, and second and fourth are often carried in the main European language section (“Latin extended A”) of a font. (Netscape doesn’t handle even these well.)
Most fonts, however, don’t include Latin extended B section that includes third-tone vowels. Those that do are usually Unicode fonts.
So, of course, the answer is to use a Unicode font. A Web page, however, can have only one character encoding, so Big5 and Unicode are incompatible. (It’s possible to put Unicode on the main page and Big5 on an iframe within it; but there are other problems with this.)
Alas, there are several significant obstacles to using Unicode and Chinese characters and on a Web page.
- Not all Unicode fonts include Chinese characters, so only certain ones will do, such as Arial Sans Unicode.
- Many people do not have the necessary fonts on their system. Some can be downloaded; but their size is prohibitively large (more than 10 MB) for many users.
- Most browsers do not have a default setup that handles Unicode fonts, which means that users have to go make the adjustments themselves. I suspect that the majority of users wouldn't bother to make the changes, or would fear messing with their systems (even if supplied with step-by-step directions).
So, that’s why I haven’t made my site Unicode yet. Well, that and laziness.