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HANDS-ON: CHINESE AND JAPANESE > WHICH CHARACTER SET?

WHICH CHARACTER SET?

More than 20 Chinese and Japanese character sets and encodings have evolved over the years, making localization very confusing. Particularly confusing is the difference between a Chinese encoding and a Chinese character set. As mentioned in Chapter 2, “Navigating the Multilingual Internet,” the character set is a group of characters, and an encoding is the mapping of characters to numbers so that computers can display them. Sometimes a character set and an encoding are one and the same, as with Big5 and GB-18030; you can call these coded character sets. Figure 13 charts the more popular character sets and encodings and shows what languages they represent. For a thorough explanation of Asian character sets and encodings, get a copy of Ken Lunde’s book, CJKV Information Processing (O’Reilly and Assoc., 1999).

Figure 13. Character sets and encodings for Asian languages.



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