All I see is a lot of gibberish in the message I just received.
When I type in the pinyin for a Chinese character, I get only one choice but no prompt line interface offering alternatives to choose from.
I am trying to type in the word 女, but when I enter nu, I get 努，怒，奴 etc. among the options but not 女.
I have a program written for Chinese (or Japanese) Windows. How do I install and run it?
I can read the body of an incoming e-mail message in Chinese (or Japanese) fine. But header information (such as From: or Subject:) appears as gibberish.
My Japanese IME always start in Direct Input mode instead of Hiragana mode, even though I have configured Hiragana mode as the default. I have to manually change the input mode to Hiragana mode every time.
Are there free and possibly more efficient alternatives to Microsoft's Input Method Editor for Chinese?
Are there other free Chinese and Japanese fonts I can download in addition to those that come with Windows?
You cover only Chinese and Japanese. What about Korean and Vietnamese?
I have a Mac. How do I install East Asian language support?
Q: All I see is a lot of gibberish in the message I just received.
A: If you get a message that contains a lot of ????, it is corrupted beyond repair. If instead the message displays a bunch of code that looks like gibberish, then it may still be possible to read it.
If you get the un-decoded message in your Webmail account, most likely your Web browser did not determine the correct encoding correctly. You may be able to fix it by manually changing the encoding scheme in your Web browser. Open the View/Encoding submenu in Internet Explorer 6.0 (the equivalent submenus are Page/Encoding in Internet Explorer 7.0 and View/Character encoding in Firefox). Select the appropriate East Asian language encoding scheme. If none of them works, then try Unicode.
What can do you if you get a message displaying a bunch of undecipherable code in your POP3 e-mail client? Some POP3 e-mail clients have a View/Encoding submenu that allows you to manually switch to another encoding scheme if the program is unable to automatically detect it correctly. Thunderbird and Outlook Express have View/Encoding submenus, but not Outlook 2003, Pegasus Mail, or Eudora Mail.
However, if changing the encoding scheme doesn't work, or if your e-mail client does not have a View/Encoding submenu or something equivalent, and the message should be in Chinese, then a possible fix is to go to Erik Peterson's On-line Chinese Tools and use his tool for repairing Chinese e-mail messages corrupted by e-mail programs.
If that does not apply or if you have a message that should be in Japanese, you may still be able to decipher the message if you have another e-mail account that you access with a different e-mail client (for example a Webmail client). Forward the message to that account, and see if the message is viewable. This will probably not work, but it may be worth a try.
If your POP3 program supports redirecting messages, that option may work whereas forwarding an encoded message fails, because redirecting a message preserves the original header information and message encoding, while forwarding it may alter the message encoding. Both Eudora Mail and Pegasus Mail support this feature, but not Outlook or Outlook Express. Users of Thunderbird can install the mailredirect extension to gain the capability to redirect e-mail. For example, you normally use Pegasus Mail, but you get an unreadable message. However, you also have a Gmail account. You click the "Forward" button, and choose the "Forward the messages without editing (redirect, or "bounce")" option to send it to your Gmail account, where the message becomes readable.
Q: When I type in the pinyin for a Chinese character, I get only one choice but no prompt line interface offering alternatives to choose from.
A: You can activate the prompt line interface by following these steps.
Q: I am trying to type in the word 女, but when I enter nu, I get 努，怒，奴 etc. among the options but not 女.
A: For Chinese characters the romanization of which include a u with an umlaut or ü, e.g. lü for 绿, 旅，律 etc., lüe for 略，掠，etc., nü for 女，and nüe for 虐， simply type a v in place of the ü. For example, if you want 女, type lv.
Q: I have a program written for Chinese (or Japanese) Windows. How do I install and run it?
A: You may need to approximate a localized Chinese (or Japanese) Windows environment by adapting your English Windows environment. The example below assumes you are working with a program for localized Chinese (PRC) Windows. If you are working with software written for the localized versions of Windows for Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau, select Chinese (Taiwan) as the Language for non-Unicode programs. For Japanese Windows software, choose Japanese. Also substitute Japanese for Chinese in the instructions below. The screenshots are taken on a Windows XP computer.
Open the Control Panel/Regional & Language Options applet, then click on the Advanced tab (1st on the right or 3rd from the left). NOTE: In Windows Vista, the equivalent tab is Administrative.
For Language for non-Unicode programs, select Chinese (Simplified) from the dropdown list. Then click Apply, then OK and reboot.
NOTE: In Windows Vista, click on Change system locale. Select Chinese (PRC). Click OK and reboot.
Your computer now approximates a Chinese Windows environment. File names and e-mail headers in Chinese should appear correctly. Any program written for Chinese Windows (PRC) should also install and run properly. Icon descriptions and menus for any program for Chinese Windows should display in Chinese.
Start menu items and any English-language programs will continue to display in English. Some documents may display strange characters, and some programs written for English Windows may not function properly. You can convert your environment back to fully English Windows by following the above directions but select English as the language for non-Unicode programs.
Q: I can read the body of an incoming e-mail message in Chinese (or Japanese) fine. But header information (such as From: or Subject:) appears as gibberish.
A: In order for e-mail headers in Chinese (or Japanese) to display properly, you may need to approximate a localized Chinese (or Japanese) Windows environment by adapting your English Windows environment. Detailed information on how to approximate Chinese (or Japanese) Windows can be found here.
Q: My Japanese IME always start in Direct Input mode instead of Hiragana mode, even though I have configured Hiragana mode as the default. I have to manually change the input mode to Hiragana mode every time.
A: Unfortunately that appears to be a bug with English versions of Windows (localized Japanese versions of Windows do not have this problem). Even when one selects Hiragana as the Default input mode for Microsoft's Japanese IME, it starts up in Direct Input mode. One has to manually switch to Hiragana input mode. If anyone knows a solution or a workaround, we would appreciate hearing about it.
Q: Are there free and possibly more efficient alternatives to Microsoft's Input Method Editor for Chinese?
A: Google launched its free Chinese Input Method Editor (谷歌 拼音输入法) in April of 2007. The menus are in Chinese, but the editor works in unmodified English Windows. Leveraging Google's vast database of online searches and incorporating advanced features such as intelligent sentence building and error correcting, fuzzy phonetic, and one click search, this editor may allow faster and more efficient Chinese typing than Microsoft's IME. Google has a detailed account of features of its Chinese IME in Chinese. My Digitial Life provides an introduction of its features in English, and Scattered Notes made available Translation of Google Chinese Input Method with information on setting it up.
A number of Chinese companies have also produced free Chinese pinyin Input Method editors： Thunisoft's Ziguang IME （紫光华字拼音输入法) and Sohu's Sogou IME (搜狗拼音输入法). However, you may need localized Chinese Windows or English Windows modified to approximate the Chinese Windows environment. There is a comparative review of the 谷歌, 紫光 and 搜狗 IMEs in Chinese.
Q: Are there other free Chinese and Japanese fonts I can download in addition to those that come with Windows?
A: Institute of Chinese Studies at University of Heidelberg has a set of free downloadable Chinese fonts.
Wazu Japan's Gallery of Unicode Fonts has links to free fonts for Japanese, traditional Chinese, and simplified Chinese, as well as for many other languages, including Korean.
Q: You cover only Chinese and Japanese. What about Korean and Vietnamese?
A: The reason why I cover only Chinese and Japanese among Asian languages is because those are the two I have some familiarity with.
For help with Korean language computing, see Frank Hoffmann's comprehensive compilation on KoreaWeb.ws.
Q: I have a Mac. How do I install East Asian language support?
A: East Asian language support comes with MacOS X, but you have to activate it. For MacOS X, go to the excellent Chinese Mac site or Christopher Bolton's Japanese for Your Mac for help.
Please e-mail me your comments, suggestions, and corrections.
Univ. of Redlands Asian Studies Program Asian Studies Resources
All contents copyright 2002-2007 Robert Y. Eng
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