Feature Request: True multi-lingual spell check.

Feature requests, and in-depth discussions of features and the way Mellel works

Moderators: redlers, Eyal Redler, Ori Redler

What do we want? Multi-lingual spellcheck! When do we want it?

Now!
23
42%
Soon!
13
24%
Sometime, maybe!
17
31%
Huh?
2
4%
 
Total votes: 55

nvalvo
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Feature Request: True multi-lingual spell check.

Post by nvalvo » Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:58 pm

Forgive me if this is already here; I gave a cursory effort at searching first.

My oldest feature request for Mellel is the ability to designate the language of text (probably at the level of character style) for the purposes of spellcheck. The Character Appearance palette has a language pulldown menu that selects languages for the purpose of font features, e.g. 1o versus 1st; stuff like that. But not spelling.

This being the premier multi-lingual word processor, it seems to me that support for so basic a multi-lingual feature as spellcheck is important.

I understand that this will require reinventing the spellcheck wheel, insofar as spellcheck is currently provided by OS X, and tuned to the system language. So a workaround is to set one's system into the language you want to check, and go from there. But I want to be able to spell check the odd French passage and German word in my primarily-English documents without a lot of hassle.

Do y'all agree?

wilder
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Post by wilder » Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:28 am

I requested this feature to Ori long time ago. MacWrite Pro had this wonderful option. I used to spell check Spanish, Portuguese, French and English in the same document. I really hope Ori respond to my prayers,
Cheers,
Wilder

transalpin
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Post by transalpin » Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:57 am

My oldest feature request for Mellel is the ability to designate the language of text (probably at the level of character style) for the purposes of spellcheck.
Thank you for this suggestion! Yes, there is a multilingual dictionary, but it’s pretty useless.

I agree with you that the language should be specified on character level for spell checking control, OpenType features, or for that matter, also the choice of the hyphenation dictionary. (I never quite understood why this should be defined for a whole paragraph.)

With a language option on character style level one could assign style variations to each language used in a style set.

Also, there should be a “Language Palette” allowing for ad-hoc switching.

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Post by macsailor » Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:23 am

It would (also) be nice to already at the writing phase be able to select the text and choose the language that would go for this part of the text. When you later want to make a spell checker, the application (in this case Mellel) would automatically choose the appropriate dictionary.

If I'm not mistaken, the Nisus Writer Express has this function.
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Marco
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badly needed for Academic papers

Post by Marco » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:15 am

I second the request. The ability to check the spelling in different languages is badly needed in Academic papers. It can hardly be considered an optional.
Last edited by Marco on Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

verma
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Post by verma » Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:49 pm

I second this request as well, but would like to enhance it.

The spell-check is a must have, but I would also prefer a language-setting that incorporates both spelling and hyphenation (and typographers quotes). This would probably require taking a language setting into the Preferences pane:

a) allow option of "monolinguistic" or polilinguistic setting

b) in the mono/polilinguistic setting:
* define language / define hyphenation, spelling & typographers quotes dependencies (if you select your language X, make sure all the rest automatically follows); or not (only spelling, and not hyphenation or typo quotes ...)

c) allow individual (word/character-based) linguistic settings for spelling and hyphenation (e.g. quote an English word in a French text, or vice versa). This can then be done via the Character Appearance palette, for each individual word - and if you check the dependencies as "ON", then an Icelandic word will be checked with the Icelandic spellchecker, and, if needed, with the Icelandic hyphenation dictionary.

Mart°n
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Post by Mart°n » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:53 pm

verma wrote:I second this request as well, but would like to enhance it.

The spell-check is a must have, but I would also prefer a language-setting that incorporates both spelling and hyphenation (and typographers quotes). This would probably require taking a language setting into the Preferences pane:
Sounds like the request I’ve send over a year ago to the redlers and I would still like to see today. For me it makes perfect sense to combine the settings:

• Spell checking language
• Hyphenation dictionary
• Typographer’s quotes
• An optional bound keyboard language setting

into one setting which could be attached on a per word basis (which includes one-letter-words as „a” but should make
[english]atta[german]ch[/german]ment[english] constructs impossible.

However, I don’t think that you need to specify the level of detail within the preferences. The thing you could set insid the preferences are, which languages you like to use. There are seveal pre-defined languages you could check (via a checkbox) to activate them and you could create new languages. If you edit a language, you could set the:

• Display name of the language
• The language itself (for OpenType features)
• Spelling dictionary
• Hyphenation Dictionary
• Typographer’s quotes
• Keyboard input method (that activates the language setting automatically)
• Keyboard shortcut (for those who don’t like to change the input method

Every language you activate within the preferences then will show up as a entry of the new language palette (with a flag picture) and you could select the language of the actual paragraph or word by either clicking the entry, pressing the shortcut or switching your keyboard.

Hope that makes sense.

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Post by transalpin » Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:49 am

Many of the requests above sound very similar. This is a little photoshop mockup I made:
mellel-language-palette-moc.png
1. For every foreign language create a Character Style Variation.
2. Choose a spelling dictionary. Spelling can be turned off in the “Edit” menu.
3. Choose a hyphenation dictionary. Word length, before/after hyphen, etc can be customized in the “Preferences”. Hyphenation can be disabled by choosing “none”.
4. Select the Typographer’s Quotes you like or set to “none”. New schemes can be added in the “Preferences”.
5. Select the language for OpenType features or “none”.
6. Save your changes to the Character Style Variation.

(edit: attached img)
Last edited by transalpin on Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mart°n
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Post by Mart°n » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:28 am

transalpin wrote: 1. For every foreign language create a Character Style Variation.
I’m not sure, if I would like the language settings to be part of a character Variation as for most people (as read on this forum) the 8 variations are already skimpy. If I use all 8 variations for different font attributes, there are none left for language settings. Even if two or three are left, it would still be hard to squeeze the language thing in.

Quessed one has a regular, bold, italic and small caps variation and likes to add two different languages to the same character style, you have to create the four styles for every language (English-regular, English-bold, English-italic, English-small caps | French-regular, French-bold… | Greece-regular…) which results in 12 variations in this case.

It also may be confusing, if you have to press different F-keys to get the same style (regular) but a different language setting.

That’s why I think, that the language thing should be independent from the character style. They are also a different kind of attribute (styles are a visual thing, language settings aren’t). Maintaining and updating a Style Set with the language bound to the Character Style would become a job of its own.

transalpin
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Post by transalpin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:15 pm

Mart°n wrote:I’m not sure, if I would like the language settings to be part of a character Variation ...
Martin,
whether you define a new style for each language, or just variations of the same style is up to you, the user, and has nothing to do with the suggested implementation. You could even change the language settings the ad-hoc way.

The current situation, however, is unacceptable for anyone who writes in more than one language! At present you are forced to define a new paragraph style for each language, there is no ad-hoc editing, and for multilingual paragraphs you have to hyphenate words manually!

So, the first step towards a more usable approach in multilingual word-processing is moving hyphenation to character level! There is no reason why it should remain in the Paragraph Style options.

Mart°n
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Post by Mart°n » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:51 pm

transalpin wrote:
Mart°n wrote:I’m not sure, if I would like the language settings to be part of a character Variation ...
Martin,
whether you define a new style for each language, or just variations of the same style is up to you, the user, and has nothing to do with the suggested implementation. You could even change the language settings the ad-hoc way.
Sure, it’s up to me, if I create new styles or use variations but pushing the language settings into character level, overcomplicates the whole thing. You’ve wrote, that you would like to see the language options inside the Character Style or Character Variations.
In one of my Style Sets, I have and use 13 Character Styles and all variations of all styles are already defined (but not all are used). If I take my normal-text-style (which is used for most of the content) and look at it’s variations, I have regular, bold, italic, bold-italic, small caps, bold small caps, grey and color and I use most of those variations inside the text. If I now like to add a language format, I have to duplicate this style for each language:

(English regular, English bold, English italic, English small caps…)
(French regular, French bold, French italic…)
(Italian regular, Italian bold…)

This would give me an incredible number of styles (if I have to multiply some of my other styles too) which would be hard to maintain. If I like to duplicate the whole Style Set and like to change the font in all character styles and variations, it would take an hour or more.
transalpin wrote: The current situation, however, is unacceptable for anyone who writes in more than one language! At present you are forced to define a new paragraph style for each language
That’s true and I agree completely.
transalpin wrote: So, the first step towards a more usable approach in multilingual word-processing is moving hyphenation to character level! There is no reason why it should remain in the Paragraph Style options.
And that’s the point I (still) don’t agree. As I’ve written in my first post on this topic, I would like to see a separate language style that could be set on a per word basis. Let’s look at a picture:

Image

As you could see, there are many levels at which you could control some details of your text. The smallest level are Character Styles, where you could control every pice of a single character. It doesn’t make sense, to put language settings at this level, because the language thing doesn’t control the appearance of a character like any other character setting and it should not be possible to assign a different language to a single letter of a word that has another language (as explained in the first post).

It also doesn’t make sense (as you’ve said) to attach the language settings to the Paragraph Style (where at least the hypenation-settings are located at the moment) as you may have one word of a different language in a paragraph of another language. So the solution is, to create a new Style Level right between the Character Style and the Paragraph Style (as shown in the image) on which you could control the language aspect independent from character or paragraph settings on a per word basis. You could choose your language settings ad hoc or via a defined Language Style, that’s up to you.

So I agree, that the language thing shouldn’t be part of a Paragraph Style but it also shouldn’t be part of a Character Style. I vote for a own Language Style.
You then could create some Language Styles once and re-use them with every Paragraph- and Character-Style you already have or will create in future.
One should be able to attach a Language Style to a Paragraph- or Section-Style as you may use different hyphenation-settings with different paragraph- or column settings and it could be a mess to adjust the Language Style every time you change your Paragraph- or Section-Style (I think that’s the reason, why the hyphenation-settings are currently bound to the paragraph style).

I hope this clarifies what I really have meant.

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What does a "Language Style" actually affect?

Post by joewiz » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:09 am

Mart°n wrote:One should be able to attach a Language Style to a Paragraph- or Section-Style as you may use different hyphenation-settings with different paragraph- or column settings and it could be a mess to adjust the Language Style every time you change your Paragraph- or Section-Style (I think that’s the reason, why the hyphenation-settings are currently bound to the paragraph style).
Very clear description and excellent illustration - I think Language Styles as you've described them could be a really useful distinction for the Redlers to implement. But I lost you on this last point. If Language comes between Character and Paragraph, how could you "attach" it to a Section Style? Are there language-specific aspects of section definitions? (I can see how there would be for List Styles.)

Second, let's assume that Language Style determines 'typographers quote' styles. If I apply a new Language Style to a region of text, will the quotes already in that section be 'updated'? Or will the setting only affect quotes typed from that point forward? What other aspects of a Language Style would require 'updating' existing text? It seems like that could be tricky.

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Post by transalpin » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:53 pm

Keep it simple and stupid!

A new language style between Paragraph (= block) and Character (= inline) Level is likely to cause confusion among users.

Where in the document would one find the physical unit of such a “language” level? Is it a “word level”?
What about CJK languages which don’t separate words with white-spaces? A Japanese word could very well appear in a Chinese text!

Another issue of Mart°n’s suggestion is the visible markup of foreign language text:
Let’s assume, you want to use a number of French terms or expressions in an otherwise German essay. You might want to assign the French spelling and hyphenation dictionaries to these parts of the text. But beyond this functional markup you would also want the presentational distinction of an italic font and French OpenType features.
If you intersperse some non-latin words now, it would become really complicated.

I think these examples above make quite clear that the character level is the place where the language should be defined, because language is strongly related to font, size, OpenType features and other means of character representation.
The number of possible format sets and character styles is virtually unlimited. I use style variations already now; one for each Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chinese sections.

Mart°n has made his point clear, and so did I. Given, that more than two third want to see this feature in one of the upcoming versions, and not one voted against it (naturally, there are monolingual users who don’t care), I would now rather like to hear about the Redlers’ point of view on this subject.

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Post by joewiz » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:37 am

transalpin wrote:A new language style between Paragraph (= block) and Character (= inline) Level is likely to cause confusion among users.
I wouldn't be so hasty to dismiss this as needless complexity. We have a constellation of 4 settings that are really determined by language: Spell-checking settings, opentype language settings, typographers quotes, and hyphenation. Yes, these all affect characters, but as Martin shows, they shouldn't be fused to a character style. They are meta-character qualities.
transalpin wrote:Where in the document would one find the physical unit of such a “language” level? Is it a “word level”?
What about CJK languages which don’t separate words with white-spaces? A Japanese word could very well appear in a Chinese text!
The physical unit is the character, but, again, the 4 aspects of 'language style' are truly meta-character features. I like your 'word level' but think you misunderstood Martin's diagram to imply a centrality of white spaces in defining words. I don't see any conflict between his proposal and a Chinese/Japanese set-up. (In fact, I think CJK is a particularly poor example for discussing the applicability of Language Style, but I'd be interested to hear what others think about Opentype & CJK.)
transalpin wrote:Another issue of Mart°n’s suggestion is the visible markup of foreign language text:
Let’s assume, you want to use a number of French terms or expressions in an otherwise German essay. You might want to assign the French spelling and hyphenation dictionaries to these parts of the text. But beyond this functional markup you would also want the presentational distinction of an italic font and French OpenType features.
If you intersperse some non-latin words now, it would become really complicated.
Actually, opentype is the one thing that I'm still not convinced belongs strictly to a Language Style. Spelling and hyphenation, though, really do.
transalpin wrote:The number of possible format sets and character styles is virtually unlimited. I use style variations already now; one for each Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chinese sections.
Virtually unlimited? Many here have called for tertiary styles, and for more than 8 style variations -- all requests for more control over characters themselves. That's quite a different direction from the one brought up here: meta-character styles, or Language Style. Far from making things more complicated, Language Styles would greatly help -- particularly the problem of multilingual spell-checking that prompted this thread. I'm not saying implementing this is priority #1 for me (it may be for other voters), but I think it's true to the mission of Mellel as a multilingual word processor.

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Post by rpcameron » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:57 am

joewiz wrote:Actually, opentype is the one thing that I'm still not convinced belongs strictly to a Language Style. Spelling and hyphenation, though, really do.
Just for a realword example of OpenType merging with language features:

If the OpenType language is set to German, and a section of text is converted from lowercase to small caps, "ß" becomes "SS", since there is no uppercase version of "ß". I feel that OpenType language settings should be linked to a language meta-style if Mellel precedes in that direction.
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