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Typing in Foreign Languages  

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2013 URL: http://libguides.uky.edu/typingLOTE Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Typing in the Library

If you need to do extensive typing in a language other than English, consider checking out one of our laptops with the language bar already set up!

Just visit the Audio Visual Services desk in the basement of Young Library, and check out laptop 12, 13, 14 or 15 (availability expanding soon).

The laptop cases include basic instructions for switching languages and using the on-screen keyboard.

 

Typing on Your Own Computer

Some programs have built-in functionality for foreign language characters, but others will require some setup:

  • Microsoft Word

    In Windows:

    • Hold down Ctrl and type the punctuation for the diacritic: grave (`), acute ('), circumflex (^), umlaut (:), or tilde (~)
    • Type the letter that should have the accent.
    • For example, typing est<ctrl>'a will produce está

    On a Mac:

    • Hold down Option and type the punctuation for the diacritic: grave (`), acute ('), circumflex (^), umlaut (:), or tilde (~)
    • Type the letter that should have the accent.
    • For example, typing est<option>'a will produce está
  • Google Translate

    Google Translate facilitates typing in many languages by either providing a virtual keyboard or converting letters typed phonetically.

    To use a virtual keyboard, set your From: language to the one you want to type in, and look for a little keyboard symbol on the lower left. When you click that to open up the keyboard, you can either type on your keyboard as though it had the layout shown, or click on the individual keys with your mouse to type them.

    To type phonetically, look for a checkbox that says Allow phonetic typing. With that box checked, you can type Romanized words and they will be converted to the alphabet of the language. For example, with Russian language selected, typing Moskva followed by a space will produce Москва.

  • Windows 7 (general)

    To enable different keyboards in Windows 7:

    • Open the Control Panel and go to the Region and Language section.
    • Go to the Keyboards and Languages tab and click Change keyboards...
    • To add a new language, click the Add button, and scroll through the languages to find the one you want.
    • If you're not sure which to choose, you can enable several at the same time and try them all!
  • iPhone/iPad

    To type a single accented character on an iPhone or iPad using the on-screen keyboard, press and hold the letter and then choose the accented character from the menu.

    If you plan to do extensive typing in a foreign language you can install a keyboard for that language from the Settings screen. Click General, Keyboards, International Keyboards, Add New Keyboard…, and then choose your language. That keyboard will now be available from a globe key on the on-screen keyboard.

 

Microsoft Language Bar and On-Screen Keyboard

The Microsoft Language Bar is an easy way to type in other alphabets while in the Library; it can make accents and other diacritics easier to type, and also give you access to whole other alphabets, like Arabic and Chinese.

For some languages, an On-Screen Keyboard that will help you type letters in that alphabet.

Some languages do not have such a keyboard available, but provide an IME (Input Method Editor) to help you type its alphabet.

Here are some tips for starting up the on-screen keyboard, and making the language bar work for you in various languages:

  • On-Screen Keyboard

    To start up the On-Screen Keyboard in Windows 7:

    • Click the Windows Start Menu button.
    • In the search box, type osk or on screen keyboard and then click on that option when it appears under the Programs heading.

    This will bring up a keyboard program which will remain visible (on top of all other windows) while you work.

    To type using this keyboard, you can click on the keys with the mouse, or just type on your physical keyboard to produce the characters shown on the corresponding keys.

  • Arabic

    On a Windows computer, the Arabic keyboard has this layout.

    On a Mac, the Arabic keyboard has this layout.

  • Chinese

    The Chinese language bar has two main options for inputting Chinese language: Microsoft Pinyin ABC Input Style and Microsoft Pinyin New Experience Input Style.

    The ABC Input Style allows you to type in pinyin which it converts to Chinese characters, sometimes by offering you options from a menu after each word (after you press space or enter).

    The New Experience Input Style offers predictive options while you type. It also includes an IME Pad which allows you to select radicals and other symbols from a chart.

  • French

    The French language bar has two keyboard layouts: US and French.

    US is the standard US keyboard. If you have switched your language bar to French but it is set to the US keyboard, you will not be able to easily type characters specific to French. To do that, you must switch to the French keyboard.

    French is a keyboard layout commonly used in France. It is an AZERTY keyboard where accented characters have their own keys; its layout can be seen here.

  • German

    The German language bar has three keyboard layouts: US, German, and German (IBM).

    US is the standard US keyboard. If you have switched your language bar to Italian but it is set to the US keyboard, you will not be able to easily type characters specific to German. To do that, you must switch to one of the other keyboard layouts.

    German is the keyboard layout commonly used in Germany and Austria. It is a QWERTZ keyboard where the Eszett (ß) and vowels with umlauts have their own keys; its layout can be seen here.

  • Italian

    The Italian language bar has three keyboard layouts: US, Italian, and Italian (142).

    US is the standard US keyboard. If you have switched your language bar to Italian but it is set to the US keyboard, you will not be able to easily type accents. To do that, you must switch to one of the other keyboard layouts.

    Italian is the standard Italian keyboard. It is a QWERTY keyboard where some accented characters have their own keys; its layout can be seen here.

    Italian (142) is an Italian keyboard format common on Windows computers. It is very similar to the standard Italian keyboard, but includes some extra characters such as curly brackets and the tilde. More detail can be found at the Microsoft web site.

  • Japanese

    The Japanese language bar allows you to type in Romaji and can convert to Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji as you type. The options are clearer using the full language bar; to open it, click the system tray icon and choose Show the Language bar.

    If you are typing using a Hiragana or Katakana input method, characters will converted to the appropriate alphabet as you type. When you come to the end of a word and press space bar, you will be prompted with ways to write your word in the various alphabets, as shown here.

    If you find that it is not working and keeps switching you to "alphanumeric", make sure you aren't typing capital letters.
  • Russian

    The Russian language bar has three keyboard layouts: US, Russian, and Russian (Typewriter).

    US is the standard US keyboard. If you have switched your language bar to Russian but it is set to the US keyboard, you will not be able to type with Cyrillic letters. To do that, you must switch to one of the other keyboard layouts.

    Russian is the keyboard layout you will find on a Russian Windows computer. Click here to see this layout.

    Russian (Typewriter) is the keyboard layout on pre-1990 Russian typewriters. It is very similar to the Russian keyboard, differing mainly on placement of numbers and punctuation. Click here to see this layout.

  • Spanish

    The Spanish language bar has two keyboard layouts: US and Spanish.

    US is the standard US keyboard. If you have switched your language bar to Spanish but it is set to the US keyboard, you will not be able to easily type accents. To do that, you must switch to the Spanish keyboard.

    The Spanish is the keyboard layout is very similar to the US keyboard, differing mainly in punctuation. A few specific differences:

    • Punctuation marks have a different arrangement, and some characters such as n with a tilde have their own keys. Click here to see this layout.
    • To type an accented character, hit the apostrophe key followed by the character that gets the accent. For example: d'onde -> dónde
    • To type a character with a diereses (looks like an umlaut), hit the quotation mark followed by the character that gets the diereses. For example: verg"uenza -> vergüenza
    • If you want to use one of those punctuation marks not as a diacritic, hit the space bar after it rather than the next letter.
 

Searching the Catalog

Did you know that you can search the library catalog for materials in other languages? Where possible, we catalog using the alphabet on the piece, so you can search using the original language, the Romanized form, and in some cases a translation.

For example, you can search for the manga Fruits Basket by doing a title search for "フルーツバスケット" (Katakana), "Furutsu basuketto" (Romanized), or "Fruits Basket" (English).

Also, if you are searching for words with accents, other diacritics or punctuation, you can safely omit those.

For example, you can search for the book ¿Dónde están las llaves? by simply searching for donde estan las llaves.

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