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Japanese text in games

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I''m currently translating a game from english to japanese. The game uses a bitmap font with all letters and numbers. The problem with japanese is that they don''t seem to have an alphabet as english does. I ran som unicode text that is going into the game through a testprogram just to see how many different characters was used and it ended with 562 different characters! I really don''t want to add that amount of characters to my bitmap... So, has anyone had this problem before? Is there a simpler variant of japanese with lesser symbols? I''ve been looking at the unicode specs, but I''m not sure which chart to use. There are several CJK (chinese, japanese, korean) charts, maybe they could be used. Any help is very appreciated!

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Lol I think you got lucky, and yes Japanese does have an alphabet, a really... really big one. I can hardly beleive that you are going to try and traslate from a language you obvisly know nothing about. Let me give you a breakdown:

Alphabet:

46 Characters for native Japanese words called ''hirogana''
46 characters for other Non-Japanese Non-Chinese words called ''katakana''
Well over 3,000 characters used to native Chinese words called ''Kanji''

BTW To be proficient with Kanji you are expected to know at least 2,000

So yeah have fun!

-Brad

.......pass to Moor and GOOOOOAAAL!!!

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Thanx, that cleared things up a little bit anyways! Luckily I''m not the one doing the translations, I''m just the poor bastard that has to implement the changes in code. Guess my solution will be to add support for Hiragana and Katakana symbols and nothing else. Could that work or are there symbols that you can''t live without in Kanji?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You should be able to do it all with hiragana and katakana, kanji characters tend to save space though, since you can use a single kanji character in place of say 5 or 6 katakana sylables.

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I solved the problem by setting up my own codepage with only the characters I''m using in a bitmap font (around 700 characters).

My problem now is: where do I break a japanese line of text? They don''t use space between words...

Any japanese people out there who can help me? Is there another character for "space" or are there no "words" in the english meaning? Right now I''m breaking long lines anywhere... guess that really could mess up the text if the break is in the middle of a word.

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Hi,

As far as I know, you can just fill the line without caring about wordwrapping.

And FYI, I counted that the MS Mincho Font (A TTF jp font on win32) counts 10000+ glyphes

----
David Sporn AKA Sporniket

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quote:
Original post by Antikropp
I solved the problem by setting up my own codepage with only the characters I''m using in a bitmap font (around 700 characters).

My problem now is: where do I break a japanese line of text? They don''t use space between words...

Any japanese people out there who can help me? Is there another character for "space" or are there no "words" in the english meaning? Right now I''m breaking long lines anywhere... guess that really could mess up the text if the break is in the middle of a word.




If you use Hiragana or Katakana use spaces like you would in English. Only leave them out if you use Kanji. If you''re too worried about spaces you could always leave them in anyway.

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For a little primer on japanese, check my page at http://www.geocities.com/moon_jihad/nihongo.html

There are 3 alphabets in Japanese : hiragana, katakana and kanji.

Hiragana and katakana are syllabic alphabets, meaning that they represent sounds, not images. For example, I would write Japan(nihon) using 3 hiragana characters : ni-ho-n. Katakana is used to write foreign words or to put emphasis(like italics in English). There are about 105 hiragana characters and as many katakana. Hiragana and katakana are also known as kana.

Kanjis are another beast. There are over 50000 kanjis known! However, only 2000 of them are marked as jooyoo kanji(kanjis for daily use). Depending on your target public, using kanjis is a bad idea or a good one. If you are targetting children(ie. 8 years or less), you should avoid kanjis or only use those marked as beginner kanjis. However, if you are targetting an older audience, you HAVE to use kanjis. Not doing so will make your game look childish(seeing as nobody writes using only kana characters). Having kanjis also helps with the reading, as there are no spaces between words. Seeing as particles in Japanese are not written using kanji, it makes it much easier to understand a sentence written like kanji-kana-kanji-kana-kanji-kana than a continuous stream of kana.

Also, fonts in Japanese are all monospaced. No matter how complex a kanji is, it is the same size as any other kana. Spaces are also the same size as a kana(spaces are seldom used in Japanese text, FYI). You can think of them as square cells, so you do not need any proportional font code. It is also important to take into consideration the size of the character cells. You do not want to make 8x8 pixel characters, seeing as reading complex kanjis(eg. over 10 strokes) will be impossible, even more to somebody who is not a native speaker of Japanese.

Good luck with your fonts

[edited by - MoonJihad on November 29, 2002 1:09:31 PM]

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You could also check how they cut text in other games, for example, check http://www.geocities.com/moon_jihad/tokimemo.html

If you have further questions, you should sit down with the translators and ask away, or you could email me.

Good luck!

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MoonJihad''s page should be excellent material to get you started.

But, there are nasty exceptions in Japanese that you should be aware of. The "ten"(comma), "maru"(period), and "kakko"(quotation marks) are treated like their english counterparts. So, if one line of text can show 20 characters, and your 21st character happens to be a period, the period must be shown on that line. It can not be carried over to the next line. Same goes for the comma and the closing quotation mark.

Therefore, you will need to either write a routine that catches these special characters, or make sure such a thing does not happen by playing with the translated text.

Finally, the exclamation and question marks do NOT exist in Japanese. These two are imported punctuations and definately not part of the official language. But, it is common to see these characters used in every day conversations and games, so this should not be too much of a concern.

If you need more help on the subject, I''ll be more than happy to help out.

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