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Wycliffe Canada Blog


Starting from scratch: creating fonts


People are often surprised to find that font design is crucial to many Bible translation projects. In fact, Bible translation can’t start until you have a way to input the language into a computer.

For any of the hundreds of languages in the world that are written using something other than the Roman alphabet, the Non-Roman Script Initiative team offers advice and practical assistance. They design and build fonts and computer  keyboards (input systems) which enable different writing systems to be used.

"We create solutions for people," says Robert Fox* of the NRSI team. "That means if there’s a language out there that cannot be used on a computer, because there’s no font available, then we will help source a font for them that contains all the letters of their alphabet. If it doesn’t exist, we’ll find someone who can help meet that need or we’ll meet it ourselves.

"We’ll design the font, and create it in such a way that it can be installed on computers, phones and tablets, and then develop a way to input it so that you can type it. And we work with people in the computing industry to be able to work as a team with them, to be able to solve these problems together."

*pseudonym used for security reasons


More: SIL's Non-Roman Script Initiative



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