My inbox has brought me some Chinese-related material, which I will now share with you.

1) Lyn Jeffery at Virtual China has a post in which she discusses an article on “why you can’t move web design for English language sites directly over to Chinese language sites.” A summary:

1. Chinese characters leave too little empty space when compared to English language letters in the same design layout.
2. Chinese characters lack a wavy, up and down 起伏 rhythm.
3. The power return of Chinese characters is a serious limitation for design.
Result: If you’re not careful, Chinese design can easily turn as a rigid as a bar of iron.

Thanks for the link, Mister Morris!

2) Matt (马特) says his site Sinoling is “a collection of Chinese (mostly Mandarin) resources, including ancient poetry and literature; a magnifiable list of Chinese radicals; photos… of signs containing Chinese characters; topical vocab lists; and other Chinese language- and culture-related materials. The site is in English and Simplified Chinese.” He’s also got a word of the day page and an English-Chinese name translator. It all looks very useful if you’re studying Chinese.

3) Finally, John Emerson of Idiocentrism asks: “Do you have any insight on Chinese-language software for internet posting? I’ve been using Unicode HTML and it’s clunky and slow.” If you have such insight, please share it.


  1. I don’t understand what John Emerson is looking for. If he can enter Chinese text in his favorite text editor or word processor, he can then cut and paste it into the entry window of blog software or just upload the file if he does it directly. Is he looking for Chinese character entry software?

  2. “Is he looking for Chinese character entry software?”
    Yes. I’m starting from scratch.
    I don’t write Chinese, but I need to enter Chinese text examples into English writing. I successfully used Unihan in the past, but for whatever reason it doesn’t work now (I can’t even read my old stuff on Mozilla or IE).
    I’ve had two computer crashes and lost a lot of software. Right now I do my composing in MS Wordpad or else directly into FrontPage express because I’ve never liked Word so I didn’t install it.

  3. John, you’ll need to be a bit clearer. If by “Unihan” you mean this, please say what symptoms of the site’s non-working you see.
    Perhaps you simply don’t have any Chinese fonts on your system–if you see a box for the Han here in Mozilla, that is probably so, since the Mozilla people try very hard to find a font on the system that contains a given character if the selected font doesn’t.
    In that case, I like those fonts that the Acrobat Reader expansion packs use. To use them, you’ll need to install Acrobat Reader if you haven’t already, then the expansion pack(s) from here. Once you’ve done that, you can copy the .otf files from C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Resource\CIDFont to C:\Windows\Fonts , and they will be made available to the other applications on your system, perhaps after the next reboot. This will work with XP and Windows 2000 (the fonts directory is C:\Winnt\Fonts in the latter, however.)
    However, installing the fonts system-wide is not strictly in accordance with the licence of the expansion pack, so if that worries you, you may need to look somewhere else.
    As to input methods–which are used to avoid looking up the Unicode every time; they permit you to type in pinyin and present you a choice of the relevant Han characters–several come with Windows, and GNU Emacs also includes some; but I suspect you don’t have a Windows CD with Chinese support to hand, nor the desire to learn how to use a powerful but baroque text editor.

  4. Thanks, Aidan, I can work with that.

  5. If you’re using Windows 2000 or Windows XP, you don’t need a specific version with Chinese support in order to get Chinese input since all versions come with it.
    Check out this page on how to add Chinese input to Windows XP:
    For Windows 2000:
    For older versions of Windows, there is a free download from Microsoft:

  6. Ah, I see. One other question occurs to me: if you don’t write Chinese, how do you know what characters you want? That is, are you copying printed characters or starting from Pin-yin text or looking up characters by their meaning or what? The best input method would depend on where you are coming from. The standard input methods are really intended for someone literate in Chinese.

  7. I read Chinese pretty well but never write in Chinese. I cite Chinese passages I’m writing about.

  8. If you just wanted to look up a few words or expressions, you could try online dictionaries, such as ( or ( If you have the Chinese characters in front of you but you’re not 100% sure of their pronunciation, there should be online tools available that allow you to find (and then copy and paste) characters by their radical and residual stroke count. If you do know the pinyin pronunciation of the Chinese you want to input, a lot of IMEs are pinyin-based, so that perhaps would be the easiest way.

Speak Your Mind