Can someone please help me. I have designed a book that is now also published in Tamil. The layout works fine with the font „Baamini“. But now I have been asked to layout everything in a Unicode font (e.g. „Latha“ or „Noto Sans Tamil“). Unfortunately, Baamini is not a Unicode font and I simply cannot manage to install the two fonts „Latha“ or „Noto Sans Tamil“ correctly. Only (pink) rectangles or latin letters appear (see screenshots).
Does anyone know how I can solve this problem? I would be very grateful for any helpful tips.
I'm fairly certain that you've installed the fonts correctly; the problem here is that Baamini isn't a Unicode font. It's a pre-Unicode font. Take a look at what the Glyphs menu reports when I highlight the same character set in Baamini and in Latha.
See what I mean? The encoding in Baamini is what we used to do, back in the Bad Old Days, to work with non-Latin-script languages. We'd take a Latin-script font and empty it of its glyphs, then put in new glyphs for our target language. So the software would think it was a lowercase j, and you'd whack J on your keyobard to key in a Tamil letter ta. One of the reasons that Uniocode was developed in the first place is to make this kind of workaround obsolete - to give each glyph in each language its own codepoint. You've installed the fonts correctly, I'm sure. But you need to convert your text to Unicode, not just mark it with a Unicode font.
If I were in your shoes, here are some of the things I might try:
2) However, it's usually much faster to use a converter someone else has written. If I was working with small amounts of text, I might just search Google for "Baamini to Unicode converter" and just copy my Baamini text into some helpful stranger's web tool and paste it back in (and reformat b/c of the size difference). Then, I'd make a PDF and hand it off to a Tamil reviewer to find errors induced by the conversion.
3) If I couldn't write the tool in JS and the amount of text I was dealing with was quite large, I'd consider finding a commercial tool to do the conversion. I didn't find one that would be easy to use, in three minutes of searching, but that doesn't mean it's not out there. This might involve some export/import work, in which you'd try to find a format that your converter would consume, and then export to that format, convert, then re-import, re-format, and then make the PDF for a Tamil reviewer to find errors induced by the conversion.
4) If none of the above would work, I'd find a Tamil translator who could rekey the whole document, That would be the most expensive by far, but on the plus side, I wouldn't have to go very far to get a Tamil reader to review the conversion.
Note that Baamini is a very different size than either Latha or Noto (in my GIF above, the Latha is at 12 points, and the Baamini is at 18 points) so considerable reflow can be expected.
In short, this isn't easy, and you can expect to spend considerable time and effort on this.
Thank you very much for taking the time to send me such detailed feedback on my problem with the Tamil fonts.
It seems to be very complicated and expensive to change the entire book (approx. 520 pages) to a font other than Baamini. I will have to discuss with my client, what effort makes sense in this case.
Many thanks and kind regards
My pleasure, Barbara. Sometimes, the best outcome for someone in your situation is to be able to say in the post-publication debrief meeting "... can we just have it typed in a Unicode font, next time?" Or "... can we do the conversion to Unicode at the editorial stage, chapter by chapter, next time? Instead of talking about it after the book is laid out?" There are many compelling reasons why a writer might stick with a pre-Unicode font (e.g. having learned to touch-type in it twenty years ago) but few reasons so compelling as to make sticking with that font all the way through publication a good idea.
Anyways, good luck, and feel free to come back to this thread if you find yourself needing additonal complex-script encoding-conversion support.
Hello Joel, in deed, the manuscript I received from the author was also written in Baamini script and since I myself understand absolutely no Tamil and have never had to deal with Tamil script before, I was not aware that there would be such problems with this script. Well, you never stop learning.
It is good to know that if I have any further questions about exotic scripts, I may contact you again.
Thank you again, all the best and best wishes.