[XeTeX] Greek XeLaTeX

Khaled Hosny khaledhosny at eglug.org
Tue Oct 12 11:13:41 CEST 2010

On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 10:05:51AM +0200, Ulrike Fischer wrote:
> Am Tue, 12 Oct 2010 09:21:47 +0300 schrieb Alexandros Gotsis:
> > Dear friends,
> > I am trying to "greekify" XeLaTex in order to make it easier for
> > greek writers to use. I have translated almost all the commands
> > (e.g., instead of \begin{document} I can use \áñ÷Þ{êåéìÝíïõ},
> > etc.) that I could think of and made new article, book etc.
> > classes with the greek commands. These new classes just renew the
> > commands etc. and they work rather well. There are a few errors
> > still that I try to figure out, but there are also a couple of
> > things that I do not know how to do and, therefore, ask your
> > advise/help.
> > 1. I could replace almost all commands of (Xe)LaTeX, but I can do
> > nothing with the very first one: \documentclass{}! Is there a way
> > to change the name of this command so that the XeLaTeX engine
> > still understands it? I am looking for solutions that will not
> > include any extra (latin) text in the source file, as this would
> > defy the purpose.
> > 2. While I have changed the names for "Chapter", "Figure", the
> > dates, the numbers, capitalisation etc. (thanks for all this go
> > to the work of Syropoylos in Xanthi), I do not know how to change
> > things as, e.g., [c] (center) to [ê] (êÝíôñï), the length units
> > (from mm ôï ÷ etc.). For the time being I would not change
> > anything in the math environments.
> You will have to rewrite the LaTeX formats (latex.ltx) as most of
> this things are hardcoded. For the units you will have to write some
> scanner/translater as the names are hardcoded in the xetex binary. 
> > The idea behind the changes is that a writer of greek text (or
> > arab, chinese etc.) should not be obliged to change his/her
> > computer keyboard to latin for the commands and back again for
> > the text. Also the names of the commands would be more
> > transparent for non-english speakers.
> At my opinion this won't work and it isn't a good idea. A class
> which defines alternatives in greek for the frequently used commands
> like \section or itemize is ok. But there are thousands of packages
> for (Xe)LaTeX on CTAN. Do you want to translate them all? Together
> with their documentation? 

ConTeXt has localised formats in many languages and the world did not
fall apart (ConTeXt has built-in support for localising the interface),
also I know for a project that is/was building an Arabised LaTeX format
and AFAIK they localised the most common packages and left the rest, but
the fact that LaTeX has no built-in support for such localisation makes
it a bit impractical, may be LaTeX3 (if it ever released) would be
convinced to have such support.

> Also: How will a user of a fully localized format be able to get
> help from the XeTeX-community? How will such a user be able to give
> something back to the XeTeX-community by writing a package?

And the target audience of such localised format is unable to neither
use TeX or get support at all (remind you, they don't know English),
so they either use TeX in their mother language or not use it at all, I
certainly prefer the former.

> To quote from the genesis: "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is
> one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and
> now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined
> to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language,
> that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord
> scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth:
> and they left off to build the city."

"And if thy Lord had willed, He verily would have made mankind one
nation, yet they cease not differing." Hûd, 118.


 Khaled Hosny
 Arabic localiser and member of Arabeyes.org team
 Free font developer

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