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HANDS-ON: FRENCH, ITALIAN, AND GERMAN > DIACRITICS AND SPECIAL CHARACTERS

DIACRITICS AND SPECIAL CHARACTERS

Although you don’t need to be a linguistic expert to localize a web site, understanding the major diacritics and how they are used is helpful when you’re working with European languages. Diacritics are those marks placed above and below characters, such as A or n or e, to create new characters, such as á or ñ or è. Diacritics are used to stress a syllable or alter its pronunciation in some way. Different European languages rely on different diacritics. All the diacritics required for the major Western European languages are included in the ISO 8859-1 and Windows 1252 character sets. Central and Eastern European languages require additional diacritics, which in turn require additional character sets. Fortunately, all diacritics are included in the Unicode character set.

Source for information on diacritics and accent marks: British & Foreign Bible Society, Machine Assisted Translation Team (www.bfbs.org.uk), 2002.


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