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About Foreign Language Fonts

Unfortunately, the City of Seattle cannot technically support the installation of foreign language fonts on your computer. There are a number of issues involved, including copyright laws, and version and instruction differences between platforms, operating systems, and internet browsers. However we are happy to provide some general info and instructions on this subject.

The web pages we use for our translated languages index are web-encoded following Unicode standards and using Unicode fonts. Unicode has become the dominant web-encoding scheme in the internationalization of fonts for multilingual environments. To find out more about Unicode, visit the Unicode web site.

Unicode fonts need to be installed on your computer to view some of our translated web pages. The types of Unicode fonts you will need varies from language to language. You may already have these fonts installed, so find the folder on your hard drive that contains fonts to check and see if you have them.

If you do not have them on your computer, you will need to find, download and install the proper foreign language font(s) for your computer platform (PC, Mac, Linux, etc.) and operating system (Windows, Mac OS X, etc.).

The primary Unicode fonts we recommend for reading our translated languages index web pages are Arial Unicode MS (for PCs) and Lucida Unicode (for Macs). We also suggest the GF Zemen Unicode font for the Amharic and Tigrigna language web pages, the Saysettha OT font for the Lao web page, and the Khmer OS System font for the Cambodian web page. Many font versions have been released for various languages, and installing one of these font versions may not guarantee the language it is associated with will be readable on your computer.

There are also issues with various browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari, on how they are set up on your computer so that they can display various international fonts properly. Remember to consider this as well in your research on this subject.

In some cases, there are basic incompatibilities with some browser versions that will prevent you from seeing the web-encoded fonts properly. Our recommendation to improve this problem is to always use the most up-to-date version of whatever browser you use, then optimize your browser set-up for viewing international fonts.

We have also provided the right-side navigation links on all our translated index pages in GIF format, so you should be able to see them as well.

Here are some good search, reference and resource web sites to help you on your quest.