Alphabets and email

One of the things I do in my job is to prepare html emails in many different languages, which are sent out by our web marketing bods. We’ve discovered that the text of emails in non-Latin writing systems often gets mangled in transmission, so to make sure the recipients can read the text, we send the emails in English with links to web pages containing text in the relevant languages.

Maybe one day you’ll be able to send emails in any language/writing system and be sure the text will display correctly at the other end. This doesn’t seem to be the case just yet.

I’ve also noticed that Latin transliterations are used by quite a few people who speak languages written with non-Latin writing systems in instant messages and other online chat and discussions. This may be because the systems don’t support of writing systems, or because they don’t always have the necessary input software and/or hardware to hand. Then again, some people might just find it easier to type quickly in the Latin alphabet.

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This entry was posted in Language, Writing.

10 Responses to Alphabets and email

  1. Polly says:

    Maybe one day you’ll be able to send emails in any language/writing system and be sure the text will display correctly at the other end. This doesn’t seem to be the case just yet.

    Yup, it’s unfair and the sooner it’s rectified the better.
    If I were the liberal sort I’d call it another example of “cultural imperialism.”
    After all, why should English and Latin script be the only options for sending e-mail? or doing many other things on-line for that matter.

  2. Josh says:

    I’ve ran into a similar problem when dealing with Cyrillic on Windows XP. When I try to export / import vocabulary from various programs (SuperMemo, Mnemosyne, VTrain), they generally ALWAYS screw up the Cyrillic, even if I do as instructed and use the UTF-8 encoding.

  3. TJ says:

    I remember in some mIRC servers in some channels (chatting rooms) … anyone who types in Arabic text would be kicked and banned … this is mainly because that chatting room was joined by arabs in USA and EU and their system doesn’t support these facilities to show the Arabic text!

    I use latinized-Arabic, as I call it, because I’m faster with it and I’m used to it. I’m so slow when it comes to typing in Arabic keyboard! Thus, I prefer using this method even if the program supports Arabic text!

  4. Roland says:

    Jes we have that problem in Esperanto too. but for Esperanto new program “ek!” is a solution.

  5. Benjamin says:

    How is typing Esperanto a problem? Because of the hatscheks over some of the letters? I’ve read that most people just use “x” after a letter to show that this is a special letter…

    Of course that’s not the best way to do, but I guess it would work quite well…
    (Why did Zamenhof have to invent such strange letters anyway? :P )

  6. Hungarian says:

    Jes ankaŭ mi volis diri ke ni havas problemon kun Esperantaj literoj kvankam ili estas latin-devenaj literoj. Do ne nur araboj aŭ ĉinoj havas problemojn. Mi devas diri, ke mi ne ŝatas la x-o sistemon, ĝi estas hida. Laŭ mi la ĉapelitaj literoj estas la plej belaj literoj sur la tuta tero!

  7. Harris Engelmann says:

    I know that in Yiddish, we use the latin trasliteration system, which can be confusing if someone does not write in standard yiddish. The major problem with the hebrew alphabet on the internet seems to be that it is written right-to-left, i.e. it’s very hard to write in English letters within a yiddish text because the latin alphabet is left to right.

    Kh’veys, az in yidish, me benutzt glaykhes vi a taytsh fun yidishe oysyes; aza system kon zayn oft mol shver, bfrat ven men shraybt mit nisht-klal yidish, bay mir. Di groyste dayge mit hebreyishe oysyes afn internets iz, mir dakht zikh, az me shraybt yidish fun rekhts biz links, un me shraybt glaykhes fun links biz rekhts.

  8. ulas says:

    Well, I’m a moderator of the Yahoo Group of my high school classmates-the class of ’95…the best crew in the school history…where the nerdest of us is kool as heck, those were the days-ehem…back to the subject. I’m from Turkey and the e-mails come in with some problems:

    Hotmail accounts: Generally when a person does not use the right encoding, the messages use a dotted y for the Turkish İ and ı, a dashed D for Ğ etc. when the correct encoding is used it turns back to normal. sometimes problems occur though.

    Yahoo accounts: sometimes something like ~Ä* comes at the place of Turkish characters and in some instances Chinese characters do.

    POP-3 accounts: every problem imaginable. different characters, Chinese characters, ~Ä* s…. 8#37E54~’s etc. etc. etc.

  9. Juan says:

    That’s why we have UTF-8.

  10. Kimberlee says:

    Кафда яше яписач ва дюгам элипо проплэца. Элиш ляба ниже хобжичучи ифт азбучя ниже элипо вижли ва ечувополижник эца.

    Whenever I write in a different language it is a problem. It is not either understood or the alphabet doesn’t come out at the opposite end.