Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HELP!: Transliteration fonts for Mac

Does anyone out there know how to access the characters with overbars (i.e., "a" with a straight line over it) in the Garamond font for Mac? I just switched over from a PC to a Mac (yes, I "switched to the darkside"). I'm loving my new computer but I have one major issue--in all of my Word documents my transliterations are not showing up! I have everything in Garamond. On a PC the Garamond overbars showed up just fine. Now I'm only seeing squares.

Please help!


Deacon Bill Burns said...

You might need to purchase a Unicode version of the font (which you can purchase from Adobe), unless you actually used an IPA version on Windows (which is a different encoding entirely). Try if that's the case.

Danny Zacharias said...

yes, it is likely a font issue. You may need to retype them.

Mac makes it easy to add the odd characters. Click on the flag in the top left corner of your screen. (If it isn't there, open system preferences, choose the Language&Text, and choose the "Input sources" tab. Then check off "keyboard and input viewer, show input menu in menu bar, and any other unicode keyboards (I use the HebrewQWERTY and Greek polytonic).

Once this is done, you can click on the "Character viewer" in the menu bar to show you the thousands of characters. Find the transliteration characters in the latin scripts. Choose the character, and hit "insert"

John Bergsma said...

Congratulations on joining the rebel forces! By the way, you have it mixed up: Windows is the Evil Empire.

The problem might also be MS Word. I don't think the current version of Word for Mac is unicode compatible. I had to purchase Mellel Writer in order to use unicode Hebrew for a Brill submission. Thankfully, Mellel is not very expensive. It's a decent word processor, although if you're used to MS Word, as I am, it has few quirks. Thankfully, though, unicode and bidirectional Hebrew support on Mellel is fairly robust.

Danny Zacharias said...

Word can handle unicode just fine, it is only unicode right-to-left that is the issue.

John, does Brill really accept unicode R-t-L fonts? I was under the impression that all of the publishers still prefer the legacy fonts.

On the publisher side of things, the problem with unicode R-t-L is the publishing software — only Adobe InDesign Middle Eastern edition can handle unicode Hebrew, and I didn't think there were any bib.studies publishers that used it (it is expensive).

Michael Barber said...

Thanks for all the advice guys! Yes, John, I have joined the "rebel alliance"--that's a good way to put it. In fact, this computer does feel rather "space-age"--500 GB of space, 8 GB of RAM, 7200 rpm, 2.66 GHz--this thing is smoking. Thanks to my parents once again!

I can get some of the transliterated characters--I need them in Garamond though. Clearly they are there--I just can't see more than 255 characters in the insert symbol menu. What gives?!

Danny Zacharias said...

ā ē í ō ṭ

Can you copy and paste the above characters in Word? Do they show properly? Change the font to Times, Lucida Grande, and Garamond.

Let me know the results

Michael Barber said...


Thanks--this was a great idea. The results? It came out fine in Times and Lucida but Garamond doesn't look right. It looks like the Times version. I guess that means that the Mac Garamond doesn't have the right characters--would that be a good guess? So perhaps I'm thinking I need to buy a Garamond font that has it all. Does that sound right?

Danny Zacharias said...


Christopher Heard said...

You can see Danny's instructions above in screencast format here. Turn on the U.S. Extended keyboard for easier access to a wider range of accents. With U.S. Extended active, press option-a and then a to get ā, option-x and then h for , and so on.

Michael Barber said...


What a life saver! Thanks. What is the shortcut for the sublinear period (i.e., as in under a "t")?

Thanks again.

Michael Barber said...

Oops, never mind--I just needed to read the rest of your comment. : )

Thanks again!

John Bergsma said...

Dear Danny:

To respond to your question, yes, apparently Brill is moving to unicode Hebrew R to L. In '07 they published my dissertation using legacy SBLTiberian. But in this volume to which I am contributing, they only wanted the new SBL unicode Hebrew, which required me to make an awful lot of changes to a document that was just about set to go with legacy fonts in place.

I'm so sick of having to learn different key combinations for the Hebrew characters, and different systems of entering text. I started out with Hebraica from Linguists Software, moved to Hebraica II on Nisus Writer, then SBLTiberian on MS Word, now SBL Hebrew unicode on Mellel: Lord help me when I need a "tet" or an "ayin", because everyone puts them in a different *&^% place!

Danny Zacharias said...

Well that's great news for brill. It may seem annoying, but the move to Unicode is worth the pain. You can send a Unicode Hebrew doc to anyone and they can see the text even without the same font as you, not true of the legacy fonts and is part of the beauty of unicode.
Keyboard maps on Unicode are no longer specific to the font either. So I'd you are using the Hebrew qwerty keyboard on your Mac, that is always the keyboard layout for hebrew no matter what font you use.
Lastly, I think all of the major bible software suites can paste text in Unicode. I very rarely have to type Hebrew, just paste on Unicode from Accordance, which is a huge timesaver!

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