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Unicode Converters - Vietkey Program

From dbiggs@u.washington.edu
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 17:06:26 -0800 (PST)
From: D. Biggs <dbiggs@u.washington.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: unicode converters

Dear Colleagues-

I'm happy to report that I have managed to install and use a *free* unicode converter for Vietnamese language materials. Since '98, Microsoft Word's basic truetype fonts are 16-bit unicode, meaning that you can use Vietnamese characters, French characters, and English characters without shifting fonts. Check out this website for info on a java based converter:


I'll warn you that its not for the technically-challenged, at least this version. Does anyone know of current font-writing applications that output in a unicode font in MS Word such as "times new roman" instead of things like "vni-times"?

David Biggs-UW

From victor.alneng@socant.su.se
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 04:39:51 +0200
From: Victor Alneng <victor.alneng@socant.su.se>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: unicode converters

Unicode fonts that write Vietnamese characters are now included with Windows. Fonts like Ariel, Times, Palatino and Courier can be downloaded from Microsoft. Other free unicode fonts that I know of that write Vietnamese can be found on various other webpages. I don't remember where I got all the fonts I have from, but a websearch with the font names listed below should do it:

Cyberbit, Sanvijjo, Thryomanes, Gia Dinh, Gia Dinh Hep, Cam Tach, Garamond, Bai Sau Nhe, Tahoma, Tin Tuc Hep, Verdana, Hai Duong, Van, Bang Lang, Cam Huong, Le Sa, Chim Bien Nhe, Chim Bien, Giay Trang, Bay Buom Hep, Anh Dao, Sang Song, An Giang, Bach Mai, Vuong Quyen

Most of these are on the same webpage. If my memory serves me right, I found them all by search for "unicode diacritical fonts". Note that some of the fonts above do not write italics and some other Vietnamese fonts may not follow the standard unicode chart, which could cause probelms if you change from one font to another. Links can also be found on Vietnamese webpages. Fonts, links and a guide on how to install unicode can be found on http://www.vnn.vn/utils/font.html

As unicode is supported by (all?) browsers and email programs there is really no need to use the ugly cyber tie^/ng vie^t. anymore.

May I also recommend Mr. Balaban's nôm preservation webpage which features a nôm lookup tool which simultaneously translates nôm, quo^c/ ngu+~ and English. There is also guide on how to use unicode (including useful links) and you can also learn how to write nôm on your computor.

Good luck!

Victor Alneng

From victor.alneng@socant.su.se
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 04:57:01 +0200
From: Victor Alneng <victor.alneng@socant.su.se>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: unicode converters

Oh, I forgot to give the link to the nom foundation webpage. It's http://www.nomfoundation.org/

With unicode you can actually create your own customized Vietnamese keyboard in Word and Works using the 'auto-correction options' on the Tools (I hope that's what it's called in English, I just translated from my Swedish Word program). It takes some time and it's a little bit boring but in the end you get it exactly how you want it.

Victor Alneng

From sinh.vinh@ualberta.ca
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 21:11:08 -0700
From: Sinh Vinh <sinh.vinh@ualberta.ca>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: unicode converters

Dear David et al.:

The introduction that I received from an acquaintance is that I should use Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Courier, or Tahoma for Unicode.

For the convenience of those who would like to download this Unicode converter, I have attached his letter (in Vietnamese) below. My apologies for not supplying you with an English translation.

By the way, in other discussion groups of which I am a member, people still feel that the Unicode, though highly convenient, is not popular yet, so in the meantime they still have to use the Vietnet way of typing (like the one used in the letter blow) to indicate the Vietnamese diacritics.



======== FWD (Note that the letter was addressed to me therefore only the term "Anh" is used)

Anh ne^n va`o http://unikey.sourceforge.net dde^? la^'y a^'n ba?n cuo^'I cu?a Unikey\.

Sau khi anh cho cha.y (kho+?i ddo^.ng) Unikey. Anh ki'ch chuo^.t, nu't pha?i, mo^.t la^`n va`o icon o+? go'c pha?i
cuo^'i ma`n a?nh. Anh cho.n mu.c help Anh ddo.c mu.c 6: Ca'c thao ta'c vo+'i Unikey\.

Anh nho+' cho.n font ddu'ng ba?ng ma~. Thi' du. ne^'u dda~ cho.n Unicode thi` du`ng ca'c loa.i fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Courier, Tahoma khi go~.

Mu.c 3 : la` nhu+~ng tools kha'c da^`n da` anh se~ ca^`n to+'i.

Mu.c 4 (tre^n cu`ng) : du`ng dde^? ra kho?i chu+o+ng tri`nh Unikey: Exit

Khi anh muo^'n go~ tie^'ng Anh hay gi` kha'c anh ki'ch chuo^.t nu't tra'i va`o icon hay du`ng phi'm <CTRL> <SHIFT> cu`ng mo^.t lu'c. Anh se~ switch giu+~a tie^'ng Anh (tro+? la.i phi'm 1...9) hoa(.c qui ddi.nh kie^?u go~ VNI.

Khi anh cho.n "Configuration", mu.c thu+' 3 tu+` du+o+'i le^n (khi ki'ch chuo^.t, nu't pha?i va`o icon), anh se~ co' nhu+~ng hu+o+'ng da^~n Settings. Khi anh ba^'m va`o Expand no' se~ cho anh the^m mo^.t so^' setting kha'c.
- Cho phe'p bo? da^'u sau khi dda~ go~ tu+` - Bo? da^'u tre^n chu+~ a hoa(.c y nhu+ hoa` hay thuy' thay vi` ho`a, thu'y
- Macro la` ca'ch anh go~ ta('t.

Anh co' the^? ta('t chi tie^'t khi ba^'m va`o "Contract" va` ro+`i mu.c "Configuration" ba(`ng Close.

From jhannah@u.washington.edu
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 20:16:51 -0800 (PST)
From: joseph j hannah <jhannah@u.washington.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: unicode converters

David and all,

The Vietkey 2000 keyboard driver is a convenient little tool that allows you to type in Vietnamese characters using several different keystroke patterns (e.g., TELEX or VNI). It also supports unicode (and other) chareacter sets. It is a free (I think) download from Vietkey.com.

From jhannah@u.washington.edu
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 20:19:51 -0800 (PST)
From: joseph j hannah <jhannah@u.washington.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: unicode converters

I agree that unicode is perhaps the way of the future, It is a good choice for Word documents and the best choice for web pages. But but its time has not come for e-mail yet. Many of us do not use web-based e-mail programs, so unicode comes across unreadable.

Joe Hannah

From: <pamela.mcelwee@yale.edu>
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2003 9:14 AM
Subject: Re: vietkey2000 for mac?

Dear list:
Does anyone know if Unicode fonts (or ABC) have been developed for Macs? The websites discussed in this recent thread all consist of 'exe' files which aren't mac compatible. I have been using fonts from VPS developers in the US, but of course these come out as garbage if I send a file with them to someone who doesn't have them installed (which is most people). And VPS is of course not used in Vietnam, where I had to borrow PCs to type with the ABC fonts, which I then can't read on my Mac at home. I remember a discussion about this on VSG several years ago; perhaps some new fonts have been developed for Mac in the meantime. Have any other Mac users out there found a way around this conundrum? I refuse to give up my Mac!

Many thanks,
Pam McElwee
Yale University

From smg7@cornell.edu
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 15:50:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: smg7@cornell.edu
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: vietkey2000 for mac?

Quoting Sinh Vinh <sinh.vinh@ualberta.ca>:

> A Mac (and VPS font) user for more than 15 years, I was literally heart-broken when I had to switch to PC some 3 years ago. I still keep my

Dear MACaneers:
VNI software, one of the longstanding developers of MAC compatible q-n fonts, advertises a 2003 release package (good for MAC OS 8 or higher) they claim solves the cross-platform dilemma: check it out at <http://www.vnisoft.com/english/bvtkmac.htm>
I can't personally vouch for their product or business practices, however.
Steve Graw

From weitzel@undp.org.vn
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 08:55:42 +0700
From: Vern Weitzel <weitzel@undp.org.vn>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Unicode for Macs

Dear All,

Unicode has been a great improvement for Vietnamese language content but it is not without its problems. I don't think that any Ministries have moved to Unicode yet or at least all the material we get from the is still in ABC fonts. Unicode has some problems, particularly the limitd number of fonts available and an inability to print in some well- known printers (we have resorted to converting files to PDF with embedded Unicode fonts - then they print properly). Hence, we have not converted our office yet to Unicode and our poor websites are among the few that still have Vietnamese content in ABC. We hope this will improve soon, however.

As you know, most people in Viet Nam use PCs. There are several of us who are still dedicated to Macs (and other things). For this reason I am making an email discussion list (more a network) for MacOS users. Let me know if you want to join.

Macs cannot read ABC fonts because of the way they are named. All ABC fonts have a full stop (period) as the first character: .VnTime, .VnArialH, etc. Macs an Unix interpret these as hidden files and refuse to recognise them as font files. Thus, Macs went out of the market in Ha Noi, at least. Even the PC version of PhotoShop seems not to work with ABC fonts. A really strange standards decision!

Unicode became a component of Apple Mac OS 9 (in fact a bit before). MacOS 10 fully supports Unicode. Also, though I haven't quite managed to do this yet, MacOS 10 reads PC TrueType Fonts (that is Unicode versions of Arial, Times New Roman, ets.). Se we should be able to read all the Unicode Vietnamese fonts available! IN A MAC.

Three problems stand in the way. First, We are limited in the number of fonts for which Vietnamese language characters are available. Specifically, there are about 90 Vietnamedr characters that do not exist in other Latin-based languages and which are not in common font distributions from Adobe, Agfa, etc. The only way one can form Vietnamese characters is by what is known as 'composing' a charater from its components: a base element plus an accent mark. This works but it looks terrible since the composing characters sit in the middle of the character and not, to one side.

Second, MacOS 10.1 and following has a Vietnamese Keyboard!! but it is only for composing chaqracters. The International resource even has a little Vietnamese flag (the red one) and it comes preinstalled with every Mac sold.

I do not at this point know if someone has developed an OS 10 Vietnamesse keyboard for the FULL character set (including the often forgotten dong mark) for OS 10 but it would be great if someone could do this and help us all out! I don't like my chances of doing it here because Vietnam doesn't have many Mac programmers much less OS 10 programmers and the Keyboard drivern in the new systems seems to be a bit tricky. But then we could use normal Vietnamese from the 'precomposed' character set. [Can anyone help??]. True, there aren't so many fonts around with the full Vietnamese character set, but that is not a big problem for most of us.

Third, HP printers in particular refuse to print Unicode properly and web browsers (even new ones) also have some odd results.

In short, with MacOS 10, you should be able to manage Unicode properly, though I do not have experience yet. I would be tremendously pleased if we could fund the programming of a (free?) keyboard driver for MacOS 10.

Cheers, Vern

From emiller@fas.harvard.edu
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 22:28:02 -0400
From: Ed Miller <emiller@fas.harvard.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: vietkey2000

One more plug for Vietkey 2000 and Unicode: This software is highly compatible with Google and most other web search engines. In other words, it allows you to type Vietnamese diacritics directly into the search dialog box for easy searching of Vietnamese language sites authored in Unicode. I believe that this is one of the main reasons that Unicode is fast becoming the standard for Vietnamese-language websites. If you haven't tried this yet, you will be amazed to discover the stuff that is available out there.


Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2003 19:26:32 -0700
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: vietkey2000 for Mac?

Dear Pam,

The simplest thing to do is buy Virtual PC. Install it and a set of Office software (borrowed from a friend who uses Windows). You can then install ABC or Vietkey. Virtual PC works through Mac's internal Ethernet. This means, as far as the computer is concerned, you have two computers. This comes in handy sometimes. VPC will allow you to create a shared folder. This folder will appear on both the MAC and the PC desktop. If you want to read the Vnese fonts, open in the PC. This applies to email as well. If you working on your other doc's, open in the MAC.


From dutton@humnet.ucla.edu
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2003 09:41:26 -0700
From: George Dutton <dutton@humnet.ucla.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: More on Unicode for Macs

Hi everyone,

I want to second Vern's call for a keyboard driver for Unicode for the Mac. I too have long been waiting for a way to use Unicode on my Mac in the hopes of allowing me to exchange files with the PC-world. Until such a driver is available, I will continue to limp along with the Mac-specific VNese fonts I have been migrating from system upgrade to system upgrade for the past eight years. Alas, although OS X will display them, I cannot enter text because the keyboard driver is incompatible and so I compose in the Classic environment and then tweak the text in OS X. I will never give up my Mac and in the meantime I use PDF files to transmit documents electronically.



George Dutton
Assistant Professor
UCLA Department of Asian Languages & Cultures
290 Royce Hall
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540

tel: 310-825-6363
fax: 310-825-8808

From: VSG-owner@u.washington.edu
[mailto:VSG-owner@u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Chuck Searcy
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2003 7:14 AM
To: Vietnam Studies Group
Subject: Re: New web site and the International Directory of


I'm not sure I should have even sent in a registration update, since I'm not a scholar and have never made any claim to be. Anyway, your call about whether to include me on the list or not.

The most widely used Unicode font for Vietnamese users in Vietnam is Vietkey, which is excellent, and which also has a Palm device application including a 65,000-word dictionary (as far as I know this is the only system available with Palm compatibility). Vietkey has also been selected by the VN government to be exclusive provider of a new Linux open-source operating system which is an impressive alternative to Microsoft, and which will replace the MS operating system in all government offices and institutions throughout Vietnam. I've seen a demo, and it appears to be a winner. The main disadvantage is that all the custom designed add-ons for MS are not yet available, and there's a huge number of those, of course. Some will likely be adapted in the future, but for now the Vietkey Linux platform will offer only word processing, an Excel-style spreadsheet, e-mail management, web access, and some other basics. Everything can be switched back a! ! nd forth from English to Vietnamese.

I can get more information to you about how to obtain Vietkey if you don't already have the software. The young company was selected a couple of years ago as Vietnam's top software development firm.


From emiller@fas.harvard.edu Mon Mar 22 12:07:09 2004
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 13:17:59 -0500
From: Ed Miller <emiller@fas.harvard.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Unicode and Vietkey

Dear Chuck (and list):

Thanks very much for the informative post about Vietkey. I'm intrigued by the news of the availability of a unicode application for Palm and especially interested in the dictionary. I was able to find a description of this product on the Vietkey website, but couldn't find any information about how to acquire it. Can you (or anyone else) provide any advice in this regard?

Ed Miller

From chucksearcy@yahoo.com Mon Mar 22 12:07:15 2004
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 20:28:40 -0800 (PST)
From: Chuck Searcy <chucksearcy@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: Unicode and Vietkey


Yes, I'll get the ordering info and respond to you and the list as well, later today, hopefully.


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