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- Reading Chinese Characters -

How to Read and Type Chinese Characters on Your Computer

Republished here with permission from the excellent website Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center (LACLC)*
(The first three links below lead to a section of LACLC)

I. Reading Chinese Characters

If you use Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, you don't have to worry about reading Chinese characters because the latest version of both of these browsers can support Chinese without any other programs. All you need is to visit the Chinese pages you want, and the text will be displayed automatically into Chinese.  By the way, if you need a Chinese translator to read Chinese symbols, please contact LACLC.

If you are using previous versions of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, you might need a Chinese font, and there are many good free fonts you can download. The best method is to download Microsoft's free language packs and input methods for Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

Installing these language packs will automatically set up Internet Explorer for Chinese. Netscape still needs one more step. From Netscape's main menu, select "Edit", then "Preferences". In the window that appears, select "Appearance" and "Fonts". First select "Simplified Chinese" for the encoding, and choose "MS Song" or "MS Hei" for the proportional and fixed length fonts. For the "Traditional Chinese Encoding", select "MingLiU" as the font. Selecting a larger font size might also be easier on your eyes.

Now as you surf around different Chinese websites, two situations may occur. Some web pages "know" that they are in Chinese, and the browser automatically knows to use the Chinese fonts to display them. For web pages that do not have this information, you can manually change to Chinese. On Netscape, this is done from "View" and then "Character Set" on the main menu. On Internet Explorer, this can be done from "View" and then "Fonts".

These fonts will also allow you to read (in Netscape Messenger and Outlook) and write (in Outlook) Chinese in e-mails.

II. Displaying and Typing Chinese Characters

There are several approaches to working with Chinese on computers. First is to have the entire operating system support Chinese. This is the most popular option where the user only deals with Chinese and not other languages. Microsoft sells both traditional and simplified Chinese versions of its Windows operating system.

If you already have an English operating system, then you can use a program that adds Chinese capabilities to your existing programs. Program like this include TwinBridge Chinese Partner and UnionWay for Windows.  A highly recommended program is called NJStar Software.  Its trial version of the software can be downloaded for free and it allows you to read and type Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

*Special thanks to Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center (LACLC) for allowing the content on their website at http://chinese-school.netfirms.com/Chinese-characters.html to be republished here.

This page does not fall under either the GNU Free Documentation License or the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License


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