PDA

View Full Version : Hebrew & English Text (best practices for mixed documents)?



Joshua Luna
12-15-2009, 12:02 PM
What "best practices" have others found while using Hebrew text in Word documents?

My first issue is with Hebrew text (Bibleworks non-Unicode font) inline with English. e.g.


Genesis 1:1
tyvarb God created the heaves and the earth.

The spacing issues with the Bibleworks font is slightly frustrating as the fault size is 18 so this inflates the spacing of the surrounding text which is typically 12 for Ariel or Times New Roman (size 12 seems to "match" the font size well). The only work around I have found is to reduce the Hebrew font size to 12--but this makes it very, very small and difficult to read, not to mention looks out of place. How have others gotten around this?

My second question is about text wrapping. I believe this has been discussed before; was there any consensus on the "right" way to ensure Hebrew text flowed correctly, especially if margins get adjusted in a document?

(I just upgraded to BW8 but I am waiting for my Win7 disk to move up to Windows 7 and Office 2007).

Michael Hanel
12-15-2009, 02:35 PM
What "best practices" have others found while using Hebrew text in Word documents?

My first issue is with Hebrew text (Bibleworks non-Unicode font) inline with English. e.g.

Genesis 1:1
tyvarb God created the heaves and the earth.
The spacing issues with the Bibleworks font is slightly frustrating as the fault size is 18 so this inflates the spacing of the surrounding text which is typically 12 for Ariel or Times New Roman (size 12 seems to "match" the font size well). The only work around I have found is to reduce the Hebrew font size to 12--but this makes it very, very small and difficult to read, not to mention looks out of place. How have others gotten around this?

My second question is about text wrapping. I believe this has been discussed before; was there any consensus on the "right" way to ensure Hebrew text flowed correctly, especially if margins get adjusted in a document?

(I just upgraded to BW8 but I am waiting for my Win7 disk to move up to Windows 7 and Office 2007).

Ideally the answer to this is using Unicode fonts. But the promise of Unicode-ease, although being talked about for years is still far from seamless. Depending on your version of Word, Unicode works with various degrees of success. The hardest test to any is the ease with which it can go back and forth from Hebrew right-to-left to English left-to-right.

Once BibleWorks exports Unicode (which it has been able to do for quite a few versions now), it doesn't have a lot of control of how the word processing programs handle it. I think if you talked to people who do a lot of word processing with Hebrew, they will actually recommend non-Microsoft products that are specifically designed for Hebrew typing and work rather flawlessly.

This is the cue for Adelphos since I know he's mentioned these programs before.

benelchi
12-15-2009, 02:40 PM
Win7/office 2007 will solve a lot of the Hebrew/English problems. Possible even within bibleworks notes area (because it uses the windows editor objects). However, nothing solves these kinds of issues perfectly. In office 2007, I still see bugs exhibited that make editing the text difficult. Sometimes I have to delete sections of text and retype them because something unseen in the text prevents it from formatting correctly.

The biggest issue with bible works and Hebrew has to do with entering Hebrew text into the command line. I typically use the Israeli keyboard, and have run into several obstacles. One, Hebrew text can only be entered if the caps lock is on or the keys are pressed in a shift state; with the caps lock off, the text appears as simply gibberish all bunched up into the right side of the window. Two, many of the extended searches cannot be performed on the command line because the command line reorders the symbols like @, ', etc... when they are mixed with Hebrew characters. Three, backspace removes the entire text entered, delete functions as a backspace when using Hebrew. I really love the BW 8 program, but the bugs I encounter daily when dealing with Hebrew on the command line are very frustrating.

benelchi
12-15-2009, 02:44 PM
Ideally the answer to this is using Unicode fonts. But the promise of Unicode-ease, although being talked about for years is still far from seamless. Depending on your version of Word, Unicode works with various degrees of success. The hardest test to any is the ease with which it can go back and forth from Hebrew right-to-left to English left-to-right.

Once BibleWorks exports Unicode (which it has been able to do for quite a few versions now), it doesn't have a lot of control of how the word processing programs handle it. I think if you talked to people who do a lot of word processing with Hebrew, they will actually recommend non-Microsoft products that are specifically designed for Hebrew typing and work rather flawlessly.

This is the cue for Adelphos since I know he's mentioned these programs before.

I used to use daggesh quite extensively, but new versions of word work quite well and a number of the Hebrew specific programs (like daggash) haven't been updated for new versions of windows. The biggest difficulty in using windows is dealing with pointed text, adding pointings is more difficult in windows, but most everything else is a little easier.

Adelphos
12-15-2009, 03:14 PM
This is the cue for Adelphos since I know he's mentioned these programs before.

I wasn't going to say anything because I don't know if Windows 7 will actually solve the main problems once and for all, but having said that, if you're going to do a lot of Hebrew/English-English/Hebrew, there is nothing out there that compares to Davka, IMO.

With Davka, I simply hit Alt+/ to toggle back and forth between English and Hebrew, and the formatting is taken care of automatically, i.e., right-to-left is automatically implemented, and when I hit Alt+/ to switch back to English, the cursor automatically appears in the right place so all I have to do is keep typing with no interruption whatsoever.

The big problem with Davka, and I happen to think it's a HUGE problem, is that they refuse to make any of their fonts available for public consumption, such as BibleWorks has done with their fonts.

As long as Davka keeps this almost paranoid strangle-hold on its fonts, then Davka's use will remain severely limited as compared with other software programs who have had the foresight to share their fonts and other basic resources.

SkipB
12-15-2009, 06:13 PM
I work mostly in NotaBene, and for the most part, have no complaints with mixing Greek, Hebrew, and Roman characters on the same line. The issue with the apparent size difference has to do with designing a character set within the letter space of a given point size.
You need to remember, even though we are able to shift the character within each letter space we still have to be able to fit the letter and all relevant diacriticals into the space between 2 base lines. The space between those base lines is measured in points, 72 points per inch. In order to fit sub-linear vowels and super-linear accents into a 12 point space, requires the actual letter form to be small enough to allow room for everything else. If you increase the size of the character, the space around it for potential diacriticals must increase, so the line leading must increase. I had a wonderful font that was only consonants, because there were no accents or vowels, it could exploit more of the letterspace. I can't remember the name of it. I will look for it though, it makes a nice page.
I find that printing Hebrew at 14 point in a 12 point document is a nice compromise the difference in the line spacing is only just noticeable and yet there is a significant difference in the character size.

bkMitchell
12-15-2009, 10:48 PM
... if you're going to do a lot of Hebrew/English-English/Hebrew, there is nothing out there that compares to Davka, IMO.
...

I totally agree with Adelphos here. Davka writer is not too expensive and it's great for Hebrew/English work. I have Windows 7 and Davka6 works on it with out a problem for me. DW6 is probably your best bet and you can even export to PDF to ensure everyone else can read your documents.

If money is really tight though, you might consider OpenOffice Hebrew edition it's simply free and can get most jobs done.

If you are seriously into typesetting then I'd recomemend either a TeX distribution(free) or the Adobe InDesign 'CS4' Middle Eastern(expensive) and their Biblical Hebrew Publishing add on. However, having said that; one of the BW forums' members type set The Readers Hebrew Bible with Bibleworks and an older version of word. So, anything is possible with a little time and effort.

ISalzman
12-16-2009, 10:11 AM
The big problem with Davka, and I happen to think it's a HUGE problem, is that they refuse to make any of their fonts available for public consumption, such as BibleWorks has done with their fonts.

As long as Davka keeps this almost paranoid strangle-hold on its fonts, then Davka's use will remain severely limited as compared with other software programs who have had the foresight to share their fonts and other basic resources.

While this doesn't absolve Davka of this fact, what should be mentioned here is that Davka allows you to export and publish to pdf format from within the program.

Adelphos
12-16-2009, 12:05 PM
While this doesn't absolve Davka of this fact, what should be mentioned here is that Davka allows you to export and publish to pdf format from within the program.

You can also save them as RTF files, but it does you not one whit of good if you don't have the Davka fonts. I have written them about this more than once, but to no avail.

They seem to be ignorant of the fact that until they remove the proprietary hold on their fonts that their program simply isn't viable for a whole HORDE of applications.