Thursday, September 22, 2011

The difference #Urdu makes

When you learn to write, it matters where you learn this skill. You may learn to write in a different script, and the characters may look different from what is considered to be the standard. The examples to the right show fonts that are usable for the Urdu language. Some reflect how Urdu is written manually. for instance in the Nastaleeq style.

Of the examples to the right, the one at the bottom comes with some versions of Microsoft Windows, the others are developed with Urdu in mind by the Center for Research in Urdu Language Processing. As Urdu uses its own set of characters of the Arabic script, it is no wonder that Urdu has its own keyboard mapping as well. This is available from the same organisation..

Urdu is a good example that when you support languages, you cannot take too much for granted. It also indicates that as we develop software intended to support languages we will need people knowledgeable about their language. People who are willing to test the software we develop for all languages.

These same people may help us provide, amend and verify the information that exists in standards like the CLDR for their language. We need to build teams of people willing to support their language. This will not only help us get the best out of MediaWiki, it can have a much bigger impact when we do this well.

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