Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

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Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby lyndondrake » Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:05 pm

Hi,

I've been using the Taamey David font, one of a set of free fonts released by the Culmus Project http://culmus.sourceforge.net/taamim/
It has support for vowel pointing and cantillation marks. This works fine in most applications, such as Apple Pages and InDesign, but strangely enough Mellel can't deal with the cantillation marks correctly. They overlap with vowels, which is a real nuisance. It's easy to replicate (just copy and paste some Biblical text across with cantillation marks included—the same text will be set correctly by Pages or in fact any other Mac application using the Mac OS layout engine, but will fail in Mellel).

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
Lyndon
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby jannuss » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:28 pm

lyndondrake wrote:Hi,

I've been using the Taamey David font, one of a set of free fonts released by the Culmus Project http://culmus.sourceforge.net/taamim/
It has support for vowel pointing and cantillation marks. This works fine in most applications, such as Apple Pages and InDesign, but strangely enough Mellel can't deal with the cantillation marks correctly. They overlap with vowels, which is a real nuisance. It's easy to replicate (just copy and paste some Biblical text across with cantillation marks included—the same text will be set correctly by Pages or in fact any other Mac application using the Mac OS layout engine, but will fail in Mellel).


Lyndon, these kinds of problems usually occur when the fonts are not truly designed according to the OpenType standard.

I use two other free OpenType Hebrew fonts that have excellent alignment both for NIKUD and TAAMIM
-- SBL Hebrew https://www.sbl-site.org/educational/Bi ... ebrew.aspx
-- Ezra SIL SR http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page ... lhebrunic2

Janet
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby jannuss » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:03 am

Lyndon, Finally had time look at the Taamey David font -- it is TrueType, not OpenType (Unicode) and that is the source of your problem.

Many word processors, most notably Microsoft WORD, recognize the faults and/or missing components of a font and compensate for them. For example, if you call for italics but your font has no italic option, WORD will create "false italics."

Mellel takes the opposite approach. The Redlers assume you have selected your fonts wisely and they do not mess with them. There is no "false italics" in Mellel and no correction for lack of OpenType features.

If you want proper NIKUD and TAAMIM placement in Mellel, you have to use an OpenType font that supports them fully.
The two free fonts I mentioned do a very good job, there are also many excellent Hebrew fonts available for purchase.

By the way, I tend to avoid using David because many Hebrew speakers find the more traditional versions of that font difficult to read. For example, the letter HET.

Janet
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby lyndondrake » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:02 am

Hi Jannus, Thanks for your response, but I'm not convinced (yet :-). The fonts do use OpenType layout, or at least the authors claim to. In fact, I'm not aware that it would be possible to use them in InDesign without OpenType support. And as far as I know, Pages, InDesign and the other Mac OS apps all rely on the OpenType layout logic in the font to set the cantillation marks correctly.

Obviously, a couple of years ago Apple's OpenType support was rather poor and Pages (among other things) couldn't set Biblical Hebrew text correctly. Now Apple's OpenType has at least in some areas surpassed the Redlers' version in Mellel.

The gold standard on this is InDesign, and Taamey David works correctly there. To me, this looks like a Mellel bug, but I'm happy to be corrected if you could point out the faults in the OpenType layout logic of this particular font, or even just the differences in assumptions that means that the fonts work everywhere *except* Mellel. (Then I can take a bug report back to the font developers.) But the fact that Mellel is the *only* app that cannot render the font gives us a pretty strong hint that it's a Mellel bug, not a font bug.

And thanks too for the links to those fonts — SBL Hebrew in particular is excellent and very useful, it's just quite heavy and I like the lighter weight of David. I found your other thread and am looking at some of the other fonts, but it's so nice to find a free Hebrew font with all the marks which fits in with a modern Latin font that I'm keen to persist with David if I can.

Any other suggestions?
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby jannuss » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:36 pm

Lyndon, I don't use inDesign, so I can't say how it handles fonts that don't completely comply with the OpenType standard
but
the Taamey Culmus site states that Taamey David is a TrueType font, not OpenType.

Sometimes there are multiple versions of a font, some are correctly implemented and some not.
[This is the problem we have all encountered with Times New Roman.]
I just downloaded the version of the Taamey David from the website and tested it with Mellel -- no apparent problems.

Janet
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby lyndondrake » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:42 am

I think there might some confusion here between the OpenType container format and OpenType features (it's the latter that I think is vital for Hebrew type and what the Culmus fonts support), but it's encouraging that it works for you and gives me hope that I can get it working too!

If you're happy to keep looking at this with me, here's what happens when I set Esther 2.2 first in Mellel, then in InDesign, in each case in three different fonts: Times New Roman, SBL Hebrew, and then Taamey David.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0jg8v9xkvz7zraf/Screenshot%202016-10-20%2008.33.31.png?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/a1vttf8s48dvb8m/Screenshot%202016-10-20%2008.37.03.png?dl=0

What is immediately evident is that:

Times New Roman doesn't render correctly in either Mellel or InDesign (no surprises!)

SBL Hebrew renders correctly in both

Taamey David renders correctly in InDesign, but not in Mellel.

Could you post a screenshot of the same verse in your copy of Mellel for comparison? I'm using Mellel 3.5.1b2 on MacOS Sierra 10.12.
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby jannuss » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:47 am

OK, Lyndon, now I see the problem more clearly: the spacing of the TAAMIM to the left of the NIKUD is wrong.
For example, the ETNACHTA has been pushed into the KAMATZ under the TET in the 4th word.
This also happens to me with Mellel and Taamey David.

Like you I'm using Mellel 3.5.1b2 on MacOS Sierra 10.12.

I get my biblical texts from Machon Mamre, but that shouldn't make a difference.

I tried using the font with no script and with script=Hebrew, but that made no difference.
I tried using the font with script=Hebrew, with the main font Lucida Grande (True Type), but that made no difference.
I tried using the font with script=Hebrew, with the main font URW Geometric (Open Type), but that made no difference.

I observe that there are none of the problems we often see with TrueType fonts. For example, the SHVAH under CHOF SHOFI is positioned correctly.

So far I'm out of ideas.
I've got to get back to "work." [I'm a retired volunteer helping run an NGO.]

I'm going to give the matter more thought . . . I suspect the problem is going, somehow, to be associated with the font definition
but
I suggest you get the Redlers involved. Send some sample texts to support-at-redlers and see what they have to say.

Janet
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby jannuss » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:23 pm

Out of curiosity I downloaded Taamey Ashkenazy -- exact same problem.
I believe the TAAMIM were copied from here to Taamey David.

Makes me more and more suspicious that the problem comes, at least in part, from the font itself.

Janet
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby lyndondrake » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:24 pm

Thanks, I really appreciate your help with this. At the very least it confirms that it's not just me seeing it, which is always a worry. I'll drop the support email a note, and will update the thread if I hear anything back.
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Re: Hebrew cantillation mark problem with Taamey David font

Postby lyndondrake » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:25 pm

BTW I'd agree that the font was the problem — if it didn't work correctly in InDesign.

But it *does* work correctly in InDesign (and in fact in other software too), which is what pushes me towards thinking it's a Mellel issue, at least in part.
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