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Author Topic: Difficult Question for Layout/Publisher folk re language and macrons  (Read 6851 times)
Andy Kitkowski

Posts: 832


« on: March 03, 2008, 08:37:02 AM »

Hey all. So I'm working on this Japanese RPG, and I'm doing the last round of translation and editing. I know Jack and Junk about layout and publishing, so I need to ask here, because there's an issue that is rearing its head that I'd like to address now, rather than waiting later and getting bitten.

Two Questions:

So, here's an example of what I'm working with (but there are dozens of similar cases): The word for Taoist Sorcerer: Onmyouji. That's the old-style Hepburn style of J-Romanization, where the Japanese "long o", which consists of the characters O and U, become OU. For ease of reading, I'm mixing it up to present the language in a way that is imminently readable. This means that instead of Onmyouji, I'm looking to use Onmyoji with a macron (http://www.personal.psu.edu/ejp10/psu/gotunicode/macron.html):


Question One: Does writing text with Macrons create problems for printers? Is it "more expensive" to use macrons? (ie, printers charge more, etc)

The next thing I'm wanting to do is include Japanese words from time to time. Like, in a glossary have "Onmyōji" followed by the Japanese text, "陰陽師":

Question Two: Does that create printing complications ("We can't do that")? Would it be better to turn them into pictures, or Adobe Illustrator "paths" (I think that's what it's called, basically an exportable version)?

Any insight would be awesome.

Thank you!


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Ben Lehman

Posts: 2183


« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 09:06:27 AM »

Hey, Andy:

I think that the answer depends on the printing processes that you're using.

I know that, in the past, there have been difficulties with printing foreign characters. I think that this is a concern of off-set printing? But I dunno.

I know that, with modern digital printing, there is no difficult with any foreign characters. Basically, if you can print it on a black and white laser printer, you can print it on a digital printer, with no problems or extra charges. It's all just bits and pixels.

Clearly, you'll want to talk to your printer in question, because they might have their own ideas. But you shouldn't have trouble, in the modern era, finding a printer who can easily handle non-latin alphabets.


Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 2775

« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2008, 10:14:09 AM »

To expand on what Ben said, the issue is not so much with the printer, it's with the layout technology you use. Basicly, if your layout is technically correct and you use technically correct font files or image substitutes for your non-latin characters, there shouldn't be any problems. The printer problems Ben refers to should be a thing of the past, as today it's not the printer or reproduction staff who need to affirm the layout material and produce a postscript representation of it for the consumption of the printing machines; you do all that when you distill a pdf file for the printer. So assuming that your work flow goes "I do layout" -> "I distill pdf" -> "printer sends proofs" -> "printer prints", then the concerns you mentioned should not be printer issues.

Of course, it's possible that you'll end up working with a printer with somehow deficient capabilities in some regard; nowadays I never underestimate the stupidity of printers. But that's life.

If you want to discuss the printing issues in more depth, do tell us about the layout and workflow solutions you have worked out, and what kind of printer you were thinking of using.

Oh, also: let me say that your choices in regards to spelling and usage of Japanese words is rather in line with how I'd do it myself. I vastly prefer the macrons to hepburn, and using the original spellings gives lots of native color and aesthetic to a game, even if the reader can't decipher the kanji and kana at all.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 10:15:52 AM by Eero Tuovinen » Logged

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