New Windows 7 fonts give more scope to non-Roman languages

Windows 7 includes over 40 new fonts which expand the script and language support the system can offer. Far from simply being a means of displaying text, different fonts can change the way we read text, and even how we feel about what we are reading.

As well as allowing much more versatility for people using languages already supported by Windows, such as Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Tamil and other Indic languages, the new fonts also expand the flexibility of the system for languages such as Khmer, Vai (a Mande language of Liberia) and Lao, giving users more options for those languages.

So what do these language users get under Windows 7? Well, this is the latest step in a series of gradual developments in Windows language support. With the recent changes to allow non-Latin script web domain names, speakers of many languages that don’t use a Roman alphabet now have more freedom to choose their own language to communicate online, and interact with their computers. Previously anyone wanting to use a language not supported by Windows had to find a way around this obstacle, which often included downloading a plugin from a third party – while Thai Windows users have “enjoyed” support for their language since Windows 2000, their neighbours in Cambodia have only benefited from Khmer being welcomed into the fold since the launch of Vista.

As the economies of many countries once considered to be developing are catching up and even overtaking those in the West, progress in terms of the languages supported by Windows and other operating systems needs to keep pace. Increased support for languages certainly gets the Web-Translations vote, as it makes life much simpler for us, our translators and the clients we serve.