The history of messing up Romanian on computers

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/08/24 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

It was years ago that I first predicted about Romanian (in blogs like Be careful what you wish for (just in case it comes true!) aka When a Cedilla needs to be a Comma Below (and vice versa)) that despite claiming to be pleased that people would continue for some time to note problems.

The most recent proof of that showed up in my inbox the other day, from Christian Adam:

Hi Michael, Windows 7 has a few problems left regarding the Romanian S and T comma bellow characters. Read more about them here: Thank you, Cristian.

His blog covers many complaints across different fonts.

I had been working on something else, though -- the real look into the whole history of the problem.

All of this started many years ago, and I wanted to provide more contexf.

In the end, I found someone who did a better job.

In this timeline from KitBlog and a great blog, the timeline is laid bare. I will copy it here, but it is worth the visit there, and not only for the additional info!

While one can see many problems attributed to many companies and others over the last few decades, the worst problems in my view were the Romanian standards folks doing so much wrong, for so long.

Now everyone is dealing with the fallout, as we all have been for years (and will continue to do so for many more)...

John Cowan on 24 Aug 2011 9:07 AM:

Romania has had a tad more to deal with than worrying about the exact shapes of its letters in international standards.

As for rendering U+0162/3 with commas, that's not so bad considering the history and considering that no language actually uses t with cedilla for anything.  (There was an 1868 proposal to use it in French for t's pronounced /s/, but it never went anywhere.)

Cristian on 24 Aug 2011 9:22 AM:

The timeline on KitBlog stops at 2010. I would like to add:

2011. Google adds the missing Romanian letter to the Droid fonts ( Good.

Can we hope for?

2012. Microsoft releases Windows 8 with increased support for Romanian language

(actual comma bellow, even comma and cedillas, and OpenType locl for all fonts). Flawless perfection.


Adrian.Nastase on 25 Aug 2011 12:56 AM:

"Romanian standards folks doing so much wrong, for so long" <-- isn't a little too exagerated? Maybe there was some lack of communication and coordination between the various organizations.

You have to consider the fact that the development and impact of PCs in East Europe wasn't at the same scale as in West Europe or US. And as J. Cowan remarked, the shapes of the letters was and still is less important than other economical and social issues. It's nice to have all the diacritics, though people made it for years without them. Actually I kind of get used to this aspect.

In informal electronic message exchange sometimes the S/s and T/t with cedilla were replaced with sh, respectively tz, but that mainly to reduce the confusion (and sometimes also from infatuation). Actually, there isn't much place for confusions, the missing cedilla being in most of the cases evident from context.

Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Aug 2011 6:17 AM:

Well, it is exagerated, except when there are complaints about the fine typopgraphy -- at that point, the concerns are a valid point about where it all started....

Tae on 15 Jun 2012 5:23 AM:

EA launches Dragon Age 2 with additional language files for Poland and Russia without support for Romanian language. The Minion Pro Bold and Myriad Pro Regular fonts can generate the Romanian letters but lacks the language file for playing Dragon Age 2.

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referenced by

2012/03/22 Sacrificing the 'A' func to make Romanian better? aka There's Something About Marţi…

2012/01/26 If font linking doesn't fit the text to a T (or ț!), a Romanian letter may be right but not quite look it

2011/08/26 Every character has a story #34: LATIN LETTER T WITH CEDILLA (U+0162/U+0163)

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