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  1. #1
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    Nov 2012
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    Lao language support

    Hi there,

    I’m looking for a way to add Lao language support to Symbian phones.
    I would like to do it the proper way by adding Lao to the official south-east Asian language pack.
    Who should I contact at Symbian or Nokia to get such a process rolling?

    In the mean time, I would also like pointers to the technical aspects of adding support for a new language to Symbian.
    Is there a quick solution (hack) that would enable typing and displaying Lao text?

    In your answers please take into consideration that I’m completely new to Symbian
    but do have extensive development experience in other environments.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Lao language support

    For starters, there is no separate Symbian any more (Nokia acquired Symbian Ltd some years ago, and established Symbian Foundation, which has more or less been shut down in practice; just a licensing organization licensing software that mostly nobody is licensing any more).

    Nokia has also never really on Symbian supported user-installable language packs, so language support has been usually just part of Nokia firmware releases, and Nokia has never provided or supported user-generated firmware creation (note also that the firmware releases would have to be made separately for each and every phone model). Without support from Nokia, you can't really customize any device fully for a different language.

    You can, of course, ask Nokia for help officially via their tech support channels https://www.developer.nokia.com/Resources/Support/ but I wouldn't hope for much if I were you.

    Some limited support you can achieve with your own fonts (you can override/replace system fonts), and if it required for text entry, by writing your own FEP/IME (Front-End Processor/Input Method Editor), however those activities will not help to translate the whole UI.

    In the past, there has been examples such as Psiloc's products (not sure if they rely on private knowledge) such as Crystal Chinese, etc.: http://shop.psiloc.com/# (As far as I know, they're no longer maintaining their products, and I don't know if they'll even work with the later Symbian devices, and whether they could do Lao support or not).

    There is also an old Symbian^3 source code snapshot on sourceforge ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/symbiandump/ ) in case you want to see if there's something that'd help (note, though, that soon after Symbian^3 source code was opened up, Nokia closed it again, and no updates have been made available as open source, and since then we've seen multiple Symbian releases with changes; Symbian Anna (which was later renamed to Nokia Anna), Belle, Belle FP1, Belle FP2 (FP = Feature Pack).

  3. #3
    Nokia Developer Moderator
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    Re: Lao language support

    AFAIK, there are no plans for official support for Lao language on Symbian devices, thus I think there would not be any help available from the technical support team either. In general this would leave the options on having FEP & Font made, though making a FEP which would work well would require extensive knowledge on Symbian development, thus if this is you first project, I would strongly suggest not attempting to do it.

  4. #4
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    Re: Lao language support

    Thanks for the detailed info.
    I'll look at the hack options further.

    The basic requests are to be able to SMS and view websites in Lao.
    I understand that replacing some system fonts might enable viewing Lao text in websites and SMS.
    But would it do any good when trying to type an SMS in Lao?

  5. #5
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    Re: Lao language support

    For writing/typing SMS, you'd have to write a new messaging application, or a suitable FEP/IME.

  6. #6
    Nokia Developer Moderator
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    Re: Lao language support

    basically for simply making sms messages with Lao, I would not suggest doing FEP. But simply making an SMS application, in which you would have your own virtual keyboard implementing the language input

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