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Title says it all, should I have my text using a variable width font, or fixed width. I didn't know if it is easier to read if its aligned on a grid?

So here is my dialog with fixed width, one issue is where the space is, since its half the width of the characters it unalignes the remaining characters on the row, same for numbers in the text, should I not worry about this?

dialog with fixed width

By the way, the text is a google translation and may not be correct.

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I would encourage you to hire a translator or ask reddit.com/r/chineselanguage for help (if the text volume is sufficiently small). If you use Google translate, you're going to get a lot of weird sentences. –  juckele Dec 12 '12 at 17:30
    
Thank you, yes I am hiring a professional translator, the text I have currently is for testing purposes. –  Rasterman Dec 12 '12 at 17:35

7 Answers 7

There are full width unicode spaces and punctuation (which take up the same width as any other character). I recommend you use them:

U+3000

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As a Chinese person in the Gaming business, I don't think you need to worry about this. Check this design:

A very successful Chinese web-RPG game

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Bad example, the example is list-item style text, line wrapping them up is a bad idea, and I assume the line wrap is at right border which is not exceeded. –  Mengdi Gao Feb 12 '13 at 12:13

In general, we don't care if it is grid aligned or not. And even in fonts that are not fixed-width, the Chinese characters usually have the same width.

To make it to look better, it is better to make the right boundary a straight line, not zigzaged. If you find it hard to achieve, then just leave it as it is.

Some punctuation marks, such as commas (,), periods (。), question marks (?), etc. do not appear at the beginning of a sentence, and can stick out of the right boundary.

In Chinese, we use full-width punctuation, not the half-width counterpart. And we don't include spaces in sentences. If English is mixed in the text, half-width spaces are usually used to separate English words (not between English word and Chinese characters).

Edit:

In Microsoft Word, there is a list of punctuation that should not start line:

!%),.:;>?]}¢¨°·ˇˉ―‖’”…‰′″›℃∶、。〃〉》」』】〕〗〞︶︺︾﹀﹄﹚﹜﹞!"%'),.:;?]`|}~¢

And there is also a list punctuations that should not end a line:

$([{£¥·‘“〈《「『【〔〖〝﹙﹛﹝$(.[{£¥
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does your third paragraph mean that you should not line wrap in such a way that a line starts with punctuation, and it's instead better to dip into the right boundary with punctuation? Does the enumeration comma also follow this rule? –  juckele Dec 13 '12 at 14:50
    
@juckele Yes, they would better be dropped into the right boundary. However, I don't think it matters much in a game. The enumeration comma (I think your meena "、") follows this rule. Some punctuation can start a line, such as the opening quote(“). –  fefe Dec 14 '12 at 1:50

Other than what others have already said

  1. No extra space after period /full stop (。)
  2. Use full-width punctuation

You also need proper line spacing and paragraph spacing, as Chinese can be read left to right or top down. In many case (eg. newspaper), there is no paragraph spacing, but the first line of each paragraph is indent with 2 full-width character space.

If you use top-down flow, punctuation that is center to the character field should be used.

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1  
Agree with most of what you said, but I'd like to point out that almost all modern Chinese text is aligned left-to-right, top-to-bottom (like western languages). –  Stumpy Joe Pete Dec 16 '12 at 0:38
1  
@Stumpy Joe Pete, Yes for computer. For publication, both horizontal and vertical flow are common. –  John Siu Dec 16 '12 at 3:22
    
I've only seen vertical flow in novels and collections of essays. Any other places I'm missing? –  Stumpy Joe Pete Dec 16 '12 at 22:48
    
@StumpyJoePete Newspaper, magazine, text book, movie starting scenes, neon sign, etc. –  John Siu Dec 16 '12 at 23:09
    
@StumpyJoePete ok, this is rare, but website too episode.hopto.org –  John Siu Dec 16 '12 at 23:15

You do not need to use a space after a period (or any other punctuation) in Chinese, and as a matter of fact you shouldn't for this very reason. If you need to use a space for another reason, Stumpy Joe Pete's answer is correct.

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I hand wrote a letter in Chinese. For aesthetics I choose what I will call a half-grid.

Basically the Chinese Characters are grided, but the grid can shift so that, I guess the best way I can describe it is like this.

Imagine every character is a square. 2 units wide by 2 units tall.

The lines on "the grid" are 1 unit wide across and 1 unit tall going down. One line of text is 2 unit tall. Punctuation counts as 1 unit. So when you get to the end of a sentence and the beginning of another. 我想找一个二胡老师。你认识不认识一个老师吗? So the first sentence above excluding the period takes up 18 units across, then the period takes the 19th unit. and the aesthetic some in by shifting the grid for the next sentence so that the next character starts on the 20th unit instead of the 21st where it would be if it had no punctuation.

I still feel like that is not clear so refer to figure 1.1 as I think that will explain it all. Hastily done thing

(Photoshop didn't render some characters... oops)

I don't know, this is what I used for my letter, not as much spacing between the characters though so it's not a square like I made in the picture but rather a rectangle. But it gives you an idea/different possibility.


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No

You can't align them to a gird!

Becouse you can't put punctuations in front of a line, just like in English.

So the spacing between chars must adjust dynamically.

of course you have several ways to write every line with same length, but... these is a game... not government reports.. right? :P

ALL Chinese characters has the same width (Full with). Chinese monospaced fonts means “monospace english font + extra chinese character”


EDIT

in english, monospace means:

'A','W' don't have same width when writng on paper.

When using these font, 'A' and 'W' has same width on screen.

in chinese, everything is "same width", but latin letters and digits inside chinese sentence.

  • "Normal" way, everything align well.

normal

  • Justified align
  • the first line stretched

align just

  • Left align
  • NOT the normal why of showing chinese

align left

  • digits inside
  • Most sentence has this form, and you can't change formatting behavior in most computer program
  • left align not recommend

half width

also

a big paragraph with many many un-align line is ugly.

you may want to split paragraph. (text align will be "force" reset)

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If they're all the same width, they're "aligned to a grid". Notice that many fonts for writing English are not monospaced, and the differing widths cause characters on subsequent lines to be not directly under the characters above them. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 28 '13 at 8:42
    
no, you must pull one char to the next line when there will be a punctuation. Then the space of these one char must average distribut to other char's spacing. –  GongT Jun 28 '13 at 9:21
    
are you talking about using half-width punctuation or full-width punctuation? perhaps a picture would be clearer... –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 28 '13 at 9:42

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