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Old 06-07-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
ugotdave
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Default Need opinions on software to use for a project

I am starting up my project again.

My project, in short, is digitizing an old biblical document that has 5 languages contained within. English, Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, and German.

The Hebrew will also have some pointing call "puncta extraordinaria" (which the puncta appear both above and below the consonant). And if that were not complex enough, some of the puncta extraordinaria will have additional undefined marking as well.

I basically have very little knowledge of desktop publishing, except for some MS Word experience.

My question, what desktop publishing software would you use for a project such as this?

From what I have read thus far, a unicode program will ease my pain a little, and I may have to create some fonts along the way as well.


David
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:45 PM   #2
annc
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Adobe InDesign, and probably QuarkXPress, will do the job you want. InDesign comes with a good set of OpenType fonts, all Unicode.

You would need InDesign ME for bidirectional typesetting, and you may find the fonts you need available from type foundries on the Internet.

We had a thread about a similar topic here a couple of years ago that could be of assistance to you:

Arabic fonts in INDD

   
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #3
ugotdave
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Ouch!! That price hurt!!

Thanks Annc, any other suggestions anyone?

I was hoping for an Open Source app or the like. My budget is almost empty for this project. But never the less I must continue on...
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugotdave View Post
Ouch!! That price hurt!!

Thanks Annc, any other suggestions anyone?

I was hoping for an Open Source app or the like. My budget is almost empty for this project. But never the less I must continue on...
Check out PageStream, an established application (about as old as PageMaker) that is capable and reasonably priced — $99 for first-time buyers. I have to confess that I have only played with the new version (5), so cannot say how well it would do with your type-setting requirements. But the owner is responsive, knows typesetting and page layout, and should be able to advise with one e-mail.

There is also an open source page layout program: Scribus. It has by some accounts a fairly steep learning curve, but so do QuarkXPress or InDesign. Its weakness seems to be typography (lack of good hyphenation and justification functions). Its ability to set type may be no better than Word’s (which is wretched). But if you stick with flush left/ragged right text, it might do, and the price is right.

TeX is another option. It is available in many sub-versions, most of them cheap if not free. It deals with different script directions (R-L, L-R, vertical) but I am not sure how it deals with newer font formats. The link is to a WikiPedia article, and there are several references from there.

The main thing about TeX is that it is not WYSIWYG — it is more like an old-fashioned typesetting system, in which codes control the text. I am not sure how well it deals with illustrations, but you can undoubtedly find that out.

   
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for all your quick responses, I will most likely try Scribus and TeX, and also see if PageStream has a free trial version as well.

Any Ideas on open source font creation programs???


David
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Thanks for all your quick responses, I will most likely try Scribus and TeX, and also see if PageStream has a free trial version as well.
Good luck with it all — please let us know how it goes.

Quote:
Any Ideas on open source font creation programs???
There is FontForge. I have no idea how capable it is, however.

   
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:51 AM   #7
Gerry Kowarsky
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Originally Posted by ugotdave View Post
I was hoping for an Open Source app or the like. My budget is almost empty for this project. But never the less I must continue on...
I can't say whether the Open Source word processor, OpenOffice.org, will meet all your needs, but the documentation says it supports both Hebrew and Arabic as complex text layout languages. There is a Hebrew version as well.

If you do have to "create some fonts along the way," as you said in your first post, a good starting point might be the Ezra SIL Unicode font, "a typeface fashioned after the square letter forms of the typography of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), a beautiful Old Testament volume familiar to Biblical Hebrew scholars. The Ezra SIL font is an OpenType “smart” font. It is designed to work with Office 2003 and above....This font is available under the SIL Open Font License. If you are a type designer or font programmer, you may freely modify and re-distribute the font under another name." If Ezra SIL doesn't meet your needs, you might want to look into the SBL Hebrew Font from the Society of Biblical Literature. "SBL fonts are made available without cost to individual scholars for non-profit use," but if commercial publication is your eventual goal, there's a restriction you need to be aware of: "Commercial use by publishers is reserved for members of the SBL Font Foundation." More information on Unicode fonts can be found at Alan Wood's Unicode Resources.

If you are on a Mac, you might want to look into a fairly inexpensive word processor called Mellel. I've never used it, but its web site touts its suitability for working with right-to-left languages and its other multilingual capabilities.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:40 PM   #8
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If you're looking for something less expensive, check out PagePlus by Serif. I believe it can be had for less than $100 and it quite capable. I believe there are some members on this forum that use it or have used it.

   
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #9
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If you're looking for something less expensive, check out PagePlus by Serif. I believe it can be had for less than $100 and it quite capable. I believe there are some members on this forum that use it or have used it.
I have used Serif PagePlusX3. I found it very good for what I needed, which was transcribing old letters and setting them up for publishing. Like you I was new to desktop publishing but still managed it quite well. Serif has a very good forum which I used extensively to get answers.
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:15 AM   #10
Michael Beloved
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If you are dealing mostly with text and with little illustration and graphics, it might be possible to use Word 2007 if you already have that. For one thing Indesign and other comparable graphic/text programs get to be funny when you have to thread frames and set up master pages.
With Word 2007 you won't have to do that.
I recently did a book interior using Word 2007 mostly but I imported some graphics from Illustrator and Expression Design. An artist recommended Indesign but I found that it is very complicated to operate and if you are already familiar with Word, you can do just about everything with it in terms of compiling a final product. Microsoft does have a program which mimics much of what Indesign can do and that is called Publisher but that too is complicated
See a book I just did with Word for the interior at this URL.
http://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Pic.../dp/098193322X

You can use the search inside feature to see the pages

As far as fonts are concerned, I did well with Sanskrit fonts which are complicated but I stuck to the unicode system. If you do not stick with a standard system then later when you have to make changes in the file for one reason or the other, you will regret it. A friend did a file for me with odd fonts and then later they refused to convert to standard fonts and I had to do the whole thing over from scratch.
See any of my(Michael Beloved) books with sanskrit fonts at this URL. Use the search inside feature and you may see some of the pages with Sanskrit and transliterated English:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?...ichael+beloved+
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