Previous Section Table of Contents Next Section Use your PC to Master Japanese and Chinese

Differences from Native Word Processors

Not for Beginners

Japanese and Chinese word processors are intended for use by native or fluent speakers. They typically do not have English menus and prompts, nor do they offer assistance to users who do not have complete mastery of the language. Typical Asian word processor document files contain only enough information to print the document, and cannot hold notations or pronunciations of their constituent and mostly inscrutable Chinese characters. As a result, non-native speakers must be fully familiar with a document's vocabulary, or else spend hours with a character dictionary and a pencil. Smart Characters corrects this miserable situation.

Pronunciations Are Saved

In addition to the Chinese characters themselves, Smart Characters saves the phonetic sound or pronunciation for later display (in 4 styles) as furigana, bopomofo, or pinyin. This is especially useful for language students in the preparation of a vocabulary lesson(D- - 8), or as an aid to reading.

Annotations are Saved

Notes or annotations can be inserted anywhere into a Smart Characters document for later display or printing. The notes can be typed from the keyboard, or automatically inserted via use of the word and phrase(4- 7) dictionary, which contains glosses(D- - 4) (short translations) for most entries.

Variable Word Spacing

Asian languages typically do not use word spacing, which further complicates reading and comprehension. Forexample,youcouldreadsentanceslikethiseasilywithafewyearsofpractice,butwhohastatkindoftimethesedays? Word spacing is abhorrent to most native speakers, but very handy for everyone else. Smart Characters groups related text objects(4- 1) into compound objects(D- - 2) called words. In English text, words are separated by spaces. In Asian modes, words are groups of objects preceded by a Notes object, which typically contains the gloss(D- - 4) (translation) of the word, or is empty for familiar words. Besides annotating meanings, notes objects are used as variable word separators. You can adjust variable word spacing to taste.

The Object Type is Volatile

In comparison to typical Asian language word processors, the object type(4- 2) in typical Smart Characters documents is highly volatile because pronunciations and annotations are saved in addition to the primary text. Consequently, the object type changes every few characters or so.

For example, the simple Japanese sentence nihon e ikimasu. contains many transitions between Hiragana, Characters, Notes and Punctuation (the symbols enclosed in the braces represent object type codes(5- 11)):

  1. {N}Japan {H}ni {C}[hi] {H}hon {C}[hon] {N}to {H}he {N}go {H}i {C}[gyo] {H}kimasu {P}[Japanese period].
The word nihon consists of the note Japan, two kanji objects, and their two pronunciation objects. The particle e consists of the note to and the hiragana he. The verb ikimasu consists of the note go, the pronunciation i, the kanji gyo, and the inflection kimasu.

The annotated form may seem complex. Eliminating the pronunciations and annotations yields a simpler version.

  1. {C}[hi][hon] {H}he {C}[gyo] {H}kimasu {P}[Japanese period].
The final solution offered by typical Asian language word processors eliminates all context, replacing the hiragana and punctuation by equivalent characters to yield:
  1. {Understood C}[hi][hon][he][gyo][ki][ma][su][Japanese period]
It's all one word! The information that was initially in the original keystrokes has been simply discarded. This saves storage but destroys the context, to the frustration of Asian language students everywhere. Since the cost preserving the context is low now and getting lower, this approach can no longer be justified.

Converting Documents

The ScConv(D- - 7) import and export filter and document conversion utility converts to and from the last two examples. To go to a native word processor format, context and annotations must be discarded (or placed on separate lines). Converting from an native document, ScConv adds the object type(4- 2) context only. See generally, Importing and Exporting(7- 1). You can add annotations manually by looking up characters and words in the dictionaries, or use the ScAnnotate Automatic Annotator(11- 2) utility (not included) to add annotations automatically.

Printing Documents

Smart Characters prints any size document using any version of Windows, without requiring special printers or print drivers. It works by creating a graphics image of each page, and sending the page to the printer as a picture. This method ensures precise control over typography.

Smart Characters automatically scales the installed font with the closest resolution to the final printed image size. For example, a 12 point character (at 72 dpi) requires 48 point glyph when printed at 300 dpi. The calculation is 12 * (char height / cell size) * 300 / 72. The character height is somewhat less than the point measurement since point size includes internal leading.

One consequence of sending a picture to a generic printer is a slower print speed than would be the case than the more typical font based printing method. This is because the line printer parallel port is not as fast as modern computers and printers. Also, if print buffering is enabled, the entire job must be spooled (written to disk) before the print job can start, and the user or system must devise strategies for limited disk space. One strategy is to disable print buffering by turning off Print Manager, or updating Print Manager so that it does not wait for the entire job to be spooled to disk before beginning printing. See Printing Error(A- - 10) and Print Driver Errors(A- - 10).

How Objects Are Stored

Smart Characters document objects contain data and images produced by Smart Characters and other object linking and embedding (OLE) server applications. Objects are saved in a special object file that is associated with or attached to a Smart Characters document. An associated object file is named after the document with a file extension of ".ole." Attached files are simply appended (copied) to the end of the document. If you want to send a document containing objects to another person, be sure to attach the file to the document or send the associated object file. If you are sending a document containing linked objects, you should decide whether or not to send copies of the linked documents. The recipient may already have their own versions of the linked objects, or you may want to send only non-editable presentation data (e.g., your company logo).

When a document is opened, Smart Characters first checks to see if there is an attached object file. If so, the attached objects are loaded. Otherwise, Smart Characters opens any associated object file and loads objects from the file. You can open a Smart Characters document without its associated object file, but the objects in the document will not display.

Previous Section Table of Contents Next Section

Need more info? Go to the Customer Service Page. Questions or comments? E-mail to Apropos Customer Service

Apropos Customer Service home page 617-648-2041
Last Modified: March 23, 1996

Copyright © 1996 Apropos, Inc.