On 05/05/07, Harry Kakueki <list.push / gmail.com> wrote:
> Can you view Japanese documents on the internet with an English OS
> without special settings or is it garbled text?
> This may seem like a silly question but I have always used a Japanese
> OS so I do not know.
>
> Is it just about the browser? Or is this a thing of the past?
>
It is not thing of the past. You need Japanese fonts. Most OSes or
distributions install some but  some do not. But this part works in
most cases, and users of obscure distributions are responsible for
their choice I'd guess ;-)

On the other hand, many web page authors fail to specify the encoding
properly. This doesn't matter for English and a few Western languages.
For most languages that use Latin characters the problem is not
critical, the page is still readable. And many browsers would
autodetect the character set given a hint what language you expect.
But this really hurts for Japanese and other non-Latin scripts. Of
course, I do not set up my browser to try and guess what Japanese
encoding would fit the gibberish I received. There are about five
encodings to try, and only one of them shows some readable characters.

So I would guess that about half of the problem are poorly designed web pages.

Of course, when you install a Japanese font and view a page that
specifies the encoding properly the page is *displayed*. You asked
about the ability to *read* the page which requires special skills of
the reader. So in most cases the proper setup does not help much
anyway ;-)

Thanks

Michal