divendres, de gener 19, 2007


Do you know how to write chinese characters on a computer keyboard?

Unlike Indoeuropean languages, which use a quite limited alphabet to write, the Chinese language writing needs thousands of characters.

Do you imagine what does a chinese keyboard look like? Daniel Engber, in Slate Magazine, explains:

You use a piece of software called an "input method editor," which allows conventional-looking keyboards to produce the thousands of characters used in written Chinese. There's no standard system, though, so two Chinese keyboards may not look exactly the same and they may not function in the same way.

A variety of keyboard input method editors or IMEs have been designed to allow the input of Chinese characters using standard keyboards. (See it on the Wikipedia).

In spite of this complexity, for me, a foreign adult student, it is easier on a keyboard than on a piece of paper :-). However, I can imagine this is different for a native chinese speaker, ins't it?. So, since I see a discussion about a Keyless Mac on El Blog de Enrique Dans, I'm wondering if the option of a keyless, more flexible, interface would be on hand for Asian users?

On the other hand, some people argue that it is not worth it since speech recognition software would become an even easier interface to replace classical keyboards. However, even if this could be true for first-time entries, there's still the need of reusing text, making hyperlinks, combining multiple formats, images, video, etc.

An interesting evolution to follow...

Update : Reading tag : keyless

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