[OS X TeX] bibtex and Japanese (or Chinese)

Adam R. Maxwell amaxwell at mac.com
Tue Nov 13 18:59:46 CET 2007

On Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at 09:02AM, "Simon Spiegel" <simon at simifilm.ch> wrote:
>On 13.11.2007, at 17:30, Álex Bueno wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm wondering anyone knows if there's a way to easily incorporate  
>> Japanese text along with its romanization in bibtex. The idea is to  
>> produce something like this, ideally with the option to not print  
>> the Japanese:
>> Natsume Sōseki [夏目漱石], Wagahai wa neko de aru (I am a cat)  
>> [吾輩は猫である], Tōkyō: Ōkura Shoten, 1905.
>> While not especially common in publishing, it seems useful to  
>> include kanji in a bibliography, if only for personal archival  
>> purposes. The problem here is with the author names, naturally, not  
>> with the titles. Also, dealing with name and surname order properly  
>> would be good.
>> I am using jurabib at the moment because it seems it's the closest  
>> thing out there to the Chicago footnote citation/bibliography  
>> system that we use in the humanities.

You can probably do this by adding a BibTeX field for your translations, e.g. Title-Kanji and Author-Kanji, then modifying a .bst file to print those appropriately.  If you use XeTeX and UTF-8 for your .tex and .bib file, this will likely work, but don't try and sort by those fields.

>Personally, I don't have any experience with bibtex and Japanese but  
>the general question of bibtex and Unicode has recently been  
>discussed on comp.text.tex and the general consensus was that there  
>currently simply is no bibtex replacement which handles Unicode  
>properly (whether there is a special CJK bibtex replacement, I don't  
>know). At the moment, the results of bibtex in combination Unicode  
>files are quite unpredictable and there's no other tool to do the  
>job. Mlbibtex is a project which has been in development for quite  
>some time, but there's no place to download it although it has been  
>presented at various occasions. There's also CrossTeX (http:// 
>www.cs.cornell.edu/People/egs/crosstex/ ) which is meant as a modern  
>bibtex replacement but I have no idea whether it handles Unicode  
>better (the website doesn't say anything about this).
>To be honest, I find this situation quite strange and a bit  
>embarrassing. With XeTeX (and the forthcoming LuaTeX) and OpenType  
>(La)TeX is moving fast towards Unicode but bibtex hasn't evolved a  
>bit. Of course, it's always easy to say for a non-programmer like me,  
>but coming up with a bibtex replacement which handles Unicode really  
>doesn't seem like something complicated to me and I'm surprised that  
>there aren't more people who see the need for such a tool.

It's really complicated, especially if you want a standard that makes "everyone" happy (or upsets everyone equally); just go ask Bruce D'Arcus about this.  The problem with developing such a standard is that it apparently takes years of arguing, at which point the people who need to use it have gotten fed up and developed a bunch of partial workarounds.  The programming is trivial compared to dealing with the users and getting consensus.

In my opinion (possibly ill-informed) CrossTeX doesn't break with BibTeX conventions enough, although it has some nice features.  It's .xtx files appear to keep the basic syntax of a .bib file...and I consider .bib a syntactic abomination.  The CrossTeX project software is also GPL, which limits its inclusion in other projects.  Other projects seem to be vaporware (BibTeX 1.0 has been discussed longer than Duke Nukem Forever).


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