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Re: languages, unicode, adzes

D. Say wrote:

> seeing that our fellows in Japan use xy3/4 for translations?

And Rene von Rentzel replied:

> Not for translations into Japanese though. If you could make it
> work with double-byte characters, a lot of people here would
> be delighted.

True enough. But just as a piece of throwaway information (probably of
little interest to most members of this list) I'd like to report that
although XyWrite as such does not know how to handle double-byte characters
I have got it to *sort of* work with Japanese anyway. I certainly wouldn't
recommend it for any extensive writing in Japanese (I don't work into, only
from the language) but it can be made to read and display Japanese files
while retaining its customary speed and flexibility. There are two
prerequisites: a Japanese-capable version of DOS (called DOS/V) and a
utility that allows English-language programs to run in Japanese screen
mode. Compaq Japan's version of DOS/V has such a utility built in, and
there are also freeware programs for other flavors of DOS/V. Thus equipped,
I can run XyWrite while switched to Japanese. It will display kanji files
correctly *if switched to expanded mode*. After a little fiddling with
my XyWrite keyboard file, I was even able to turn the FEP (front-end
processor for Japanese input) on and off, allowing me to *input* Japanese
using Xy. I use this for occasional short messages and such. Line endings
are a problem: Xy will happily break a double-byte code at the end of a
line into two halves, thus rendering a kanji illegible. If you input
Japanese, you must insert hard returns at every line end.

But the real clincher (and my main reason for using Xy in this fashion)
is this: the search function works perfectly, meaning that if I enter a
kanji search string on the command line, Xy will find this exact string
(without knowing that it is dealing with kanji). I have a 32-megabyte
Japanese/English dictionary (or more precisely, a simple collection of
word lists containing Japanese and English equivalents). XyWrite is
the fastest and most convenient front end for searching these files.
I do it all the time (in a DOS box under Windows, while another DOS box
has my main XyWrite copy running happily in English-only mode).

The above applies only to XyWrite for DOS. Unfortunately, the Windows
version of XyWrite is entirely Japanese-unfriendly. Whereas certain
English-language Windows programs (version 6 of MS Word being one)
can run under Japanese Windows and display kanji files if one selects
a Japanese font, XyWrite/Win displays only gibberish (in any display mode),
even if a Japanese TTF font is selected. I for one would certainly love
to see a double-byte aware (and Unicode-capable) version, but I am not
holding my breath.

And since D. Say also mentioned multi-language spell-checking: Again,
this is not exactly by the book, but I use the German-language spell
checker and thesaurus files from Signature (about the only positive
aspects that came out of that fiasco) with XyWrite version 4. Setup
is a bit tricky, but it can be done. The spell checker (like most)
does have its quirks and is mainly useful for catching typos, but the
thesaurus is a marvel: the most mind-boggling of choices for the most
mundane of words. Sometimes they're simply good for a laugh, but hey,
anything to brighten up a long day at the treadmill is welcome!

Wolfgang Bechstein                   
Technical translator            Japanese / English / German
Sakura, Japan          Tel 81-43-461-5911 Fax 81-43-461-5910