- East-asian students will have a hard time spotting typos even in important words as their own name
- Even on designs with the most extravagant typography choices for their native fonts, choices for roman fonts are not prioritized
- "Letter people" do the same thing the other way around ("OK, we got a nice asian feel to this poster ... now to add some cool chinese characters... done") It's exactly the same feeling for people used to seeing asian scripts, to see the basic printed version everywhere and the same old standard fonts.
Next time you make something using a foreign script, please keep in mind that how you're looking at it != how natives look at it!
For more on different traditional script styles see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_script_styles
However, the best information on font choices for Ch, Jp and Kor is in the languages themselves, unfortunately.
edit: : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_unification
As an aside, if you look at the top of my screenshot, you'll see a little lyric display on my taskbar. I use it to learn Japanese while I listen to anime songs. I wrote it in Python3 and there was not a single instance where I had to bother with Unicode or encoding issues.
with open(file) as f:
lines = f.readlines()
>>> s = "ｉ ｗｏｒｋ ｉｎ ｃｈｉｎａ，ｆｅｅｌｓ ｌｉｋｅ ｈａｌｆ ｍｙ ｊｏｂ ｉｓ ａｄｄｉｎｇ ＆ ｓｕｂｔｒａｃｔｉｎｇ ｓｐａｃｅｓ ｆｒｏｍ ｔｈｅ ｓｔｒａｎｇｅ ｔｙｐｅ ｆａｃｅ ｈｅｒｅ．"
>>> import unicodedata
>>> print(unicodedata.normalize('NFKC', s))
i work in china,feels like half my job is adding & subtracting spaces from the strange type face here.
I'm guessing their continued use is because there are also aesthetic considerations at play for native readers, for whom variable-width latin script could look plain weird.
Op's screenshot is also different from what normal Chinese user could see.
I can't find op's screenshot of the exact linked page, but here is my on rMBP+Safari screenshot anyway
At the time, NLQ was a passable imitation of real typesetting. But somehow it looks like that style has become fossilised as "how you write Roman characters".
FYI Korean script (Hangul) is actually an alphabet, so relatively easy to type.
Still, the topic of font choices remains interesting. While we have been accustomed to very differently looking typefaces for Roman scripts for a few hundred years, we know relatively little about CJK fonts. Does anyone know a good article describing Asian font choices in English?
It's not just "symbols" - there's different ways to draw these lines, too, taking into account the purpose of the design.
Japanese is typed using kana, though they're syllabaries and have about twice the number of characters as hangul, the end-result is mostly similar (so is the on-the-fly transformative effect, in japanese kana entry is transformed into kanji OTF, in hangul jamo get merged into natsori).
(My post history has some longer, less dense comments on Korean.)
Here's an example of printed linear Hangul:
I remember there was a "Linear Hangul" movement around the middle of the 20th century or so to do away with the blocks entirely, but it didn't catch on.
I'm kind of glad it didn't because I think the blocks forcing the retainment of more morphological information is actually a really cool trait of the writing system. Basically, you sometimes have multiple options for how to distribute letters over blocks when writing down a word, and the ortography then fairly consistently prefers the variants that keep the same morpheme spelled consistently across different words. It promotes morpheme reuse and makes the writing more LEGO-like.
Purely phonemic spelling is sort of overrated. Hangul lets you write phonetically if you want to (though it's more rigid than Latin because of the block grouping forcing certain consonant/vowel patterns) but for practical use of an established language there's many other concerns.
The newly designed fonts in recent years for Chinese have much better Roman parts which are already distributed by operating system or could obtained for free:
- Microsoft YaHei in Windows http://www.fonts.com/font/microsoft-corporation#product_top
- Hiragino Sans GB in Mac (http://blog.jjgod.org/2009/06/04/updates-on-font-changes-in-...)
- Source Han Sans free from Adobe (http://blog.typekit.com/2014/07/15/introducing-source-han-sa...)
Many Chinese websites have already using one of them as their default font. There are also a dozen of commercial Chinese fonts which contain higher quality Roman typeface (although could not catch up most classic ones).
And for professionals (like book publishers or designers) in China, they often combine one Chinese font and one Roman font in their product for better result. (e.g. FZNew ShuSong + Sabon for Serif).
There are just far better fixed-width serif fonts out there and I always have to replace the English characters within Chinese documents with those fonts (I usually try to find one that matches in weight and blends in). Also not to mention a lot of English text within Chinese documents does not need to be in a fixed-width font to look good. There's a reason why there exist separate Unicode points for the fixed-width English characters when you do need them.