[XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly community

Mike Maxwell maxwell at umiacs.umd.edu
Sat Oct 23 22:03:23 CEST 2010

On 10/23/2010 12:41 PM, Gareth Hughes wrote:
> On the matter of declining skills in typesetting I'm reminded of an
> Oxford apocryphon of a printer who was preparing a Sanskrit grammar. The
> printer contacted the author, an esteemed professor, with a crucial
> error in the Sanskrit text. The professor first felt angry at being
> questioned on matters of Sanskrit by a printer, but verified the
> reported the error in his own copy. Returning to the printer he asked
> how he'd managed to spot the error. The printer replied that, after
> setting pages and pages in a script he could not read, he had learnt
> that one of them never follows one of them! Ah... attention to detail;
> they don't make them like that anymore!

I suppose this is getting off-topic, unfortunately I can't resist :-(. 
Some years ago, I was a member of a Bible translation organization that 
worked with minority languages.  In the early days of computer use, many 
of the Bibles (or New Testaments) were hand-written in draft, or typed 
on a typewriter, then typed into a computer by someone who usually did 
not know the language.  It was not unusual for them to spot typos. 
What's going on is (presumably) that the typist is learning what 
computational linguists call "character N-grams", that is, sequences of 
common characters.

It's probably easier when the letters are in a familiar script, but I 
wouldn't doubt that it could be done with other scripts (like Devanagari).
	Mike Maxwell
	maxwell at umiacs.umd.edu
         "A library is the best possible imitation, by human beings,
         of a divine mind, where the whole universe is viewed and
         understood at the same time... we have invented libraries
         because we know that we do not have divine powers, but we
         try to do our best to imitate them." --Umberto Eco

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