Malayalam is not a major language when other languages like Chinese or Latin are compared. Majority languages have always got attention and care and minority languages have always suffered. It is an accurate reflection of our society where majority have all the benefits and minorities are begging for help.
Being a native speaker of a minority language, Malayalam, I am raising some concerns here.
CAT tool coding people think that Arial Unicode MS can display all the languages in the world.
Arial Unicode MS which I have on my machine has 22 MB! And font says “digitized data copyright (c) 1993 – 2000 Afga Monotype Corporation”. I assume that this is the latest version of Arial Unicode MS. It means for the past 13 years, no new version has come out.
Interesting fact is that Malayalam Unicode matured only after 2000. If this is the case, how can CAT vendors or CAT users assume that Arial Unicode MS supports Malayalam Unicode?!
Mobile manufacturing companies like Sony, Nokia etc also thinks in the same way. Recently, some of my colleagues and I involved in a mobile UI localization project for a leader in the mobile manufacturing industry.
We tried our level best to convince them the unfortunate non-supporting status of Arial Unicode MS. Our concerns ended up as a ‘cry in the wilderness’!
Each time we raise this issue, the answer we get is clear and simple – latest Malayalam does not have support in the CAT tool used! So, please follow what CAT tool supports
CAT coding companies do not want to include complex changes for minor languages. Major players in CAT tool industry are Wordfast and Trados.
“Can they sell something around 1000 licenses for Malayalam?”
“No. They can not even sell 50 licenses!”
“Then, why should they include latest changes of Malayalam Unicode in their CAT tools?”
This is the attitude of CAT tool companies. They ignore Malayalam. They provide only basic support for Malayalam in their CAT tools.
In nut shell, even though Malayalam Unicode is somewhat perfect after the introduction of atomic chillaksharas, most of the CAT tools do not allow translators / localizers to enjoy this benefit of rendering the text properly.
Microsoft and Google have their own CAT tools. Still we can not type directly onto the tool’s interface due to odd display. You can not select a particular character from Microsoft or Google CAT tools. We need to use a Notepad for editing purpose during the process.
It is high time that CAT tool coding companies recognize Malayalam as a full-fledged language and include the changes Malayalam Unicode adapted during these years. Governments, vendors, end clients and translators should pressurize CAT tool producers to do so.