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

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/01/26 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/01/26/10260726.aspx

I've talked about font linking in a bunch of different blogs over the years, such as:

and so on. Many of them make a point implicitly that I am going to make quite explicit today.

And that point is simply The thing that sucks most about GDI font linking is the way it mixes fonts that don't look right next to each other.

Anyway, the other day colleague and coworker Laura passed on a question people were trying to get a handle on.

Basically, it was a Romanian product that had strings looking something like this:

The Ts don't all seem to line up here!

Let me blow that up in case your browser doesn't make it bigger:

The Ts don't all seem to line up here, but bigger!

Now they were claiming to be using Segoe UI.

And for whatever it's worth, the glyphs of most of the characters look to my amateur eye to be somewhat Segoe-like, perhaps. But not exactly.

Remember that at one point, there were many more fonts floating around that were missing these characters.

Perhaps a forensic typographer could do better, a-la İ şéè đêäđ ķéÿš etc.

But do you see the fourth letter, which is clearly U+0074, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER T, versus the sixth letter, which is clearly U+021b, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER T WITH COMMA BELOW?

Well, Segoe UI does not look this weird with these Latin letters alongside each other.

In fact, here is just about every S and s and T and t in Segoe UI, right next to each other:

Comparig all the Ss and Ts in Segoe UI -- all the same size.

None come even close to being this incorrect looking....

For the sake of good looking Romanian text, at least!

Thankfully, they're going to fix this one, before a negative entry would need to be added to lists like The history of messing up Romanian on computers. If you know what I mean....

Though even if not, we've come a long way banishing the cedillas from Romanian text, right? :-)

John Cowan on 26 Jan 2012 8:52 AM:

In one sense you are right, but it is *way* better to use the right letter in the wrong font than to just render a stupid box, as all applications did until fairly recently.  As far as I know, browsers led the way here.  (Of course, before Unicode a box was the best you could do, because you were only guessing at what the character meant anyway.)

Cristian on 26 Jan 2012 9:04 AM:

Speaking of products with problems... G□□gle has released the latest maps.google.ro (or .fr, .de, .it, but not the .com) with maps rendered with fonts lacking s and t comma bellow.


Unfortunately G□□gle use almost exclusively cedillas in their Romanian product translations.

Miguel Sousa on 26 Jan 2012 12:26 PM:

Since Segoe UI supports U+021b, why was it showing up that way? You don't really explain in the post.

Michael S. Kaplan on 27 Jan 2012 7:28 AM:

The original font wasn't Segoe UI....

Cristian on 27 Jan 2012 8:55 AM:

Since I've talked about G□□gle which has problems with s comma and t comma characters, I should talk also about Microsoft which has problems with the old characters s cedilla and t cedilla. See plus.google.com/.../b1f2Ljvz8Hw

I think this relates somehow to the problem presented in this blog entry.

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