InDesign CS6…. Welcome to India!

This article talks about new market or in business terms as an “Emerging Market”. You might wonder, “why that specific word Emerging?” Because of the business opportunity it presents by taking a product to a new market where the demand exists, but somehow the product was not made available.

In the publishing domain, India is still one of the few countries where Print has seen a steady growth. Excerpts from one of the famous research site below:

“Contrary to most other markets in the world that continue to witness an erosion of the print media industry, in India, the sector witnessed a growth of ten percent in 2010 and is expected to continue to grow at a similar pace over the next five years. Rising literacy levels and low print media penetration offer significant headroom for growth, says a FICCI-KPMG report, recently released at FICCI FRAMES 2011 event…………”[Source All About Newspaper, publish date March`2011]

Does this present an opportunity for Adobe to expand in the Print Media space leveraging its one of the most popular Desktop publishing software InDesign®. Yes, but at what cost? Let’s weigh in the cost and benefits.

  1. Over the course of last few years, Adobe India sales force has been meeting Indian customers to understand how InDesign can be made ‘India ready’.
  2. In India, English is quite close to as being the second most spoken language just behind Hindi, giving a leeway to probably still hit the market with an English user interface (UI).
  3. The most talked about area in the frequent customer meetings was the support of Indic scripts in Print and Desktop Publishing Adobe applications. The current World-Ready composers for middle-eastern text included partial support for several Indic scripts. However, a number of bug fixes and product support requirements were needed for Adobe to officially certify and launch the product in India.

The specifics listed above did carve a path for InDesign to see support for Indic scripts in CS6 release. Based on input from the Product Management, the 10 Indic scripts ranked highest on the priority list to support:

Each of the locales above have a good percentage of Print Media in the Indian market ranging from Newspaper, Magazines, Journals, etc. To support these locales was a tough road ahead since most of these locales use complex character combination, glyphs, hyphenation rules, dictionary support.

Phase 1 of this project included adding dictionary support in InDesign for these locales. We integrated the locale-specific open source dictionaries, evaluated them against competing products (with similar support) spanning a series of script specific test data hand-picked by linguists. The test criteria being:

  • Test maturity and quality of the dictionaries embedded
  • Misspell words intentionally and compare the corrected words
  • Ensure the words in InDesign when copied maintain their sanctity

Dictionary evaluation did show quite impressive results, allowing us to move to second phase of this endeavor of analyzing InDesign for Indic scripts.  After a significant number of complex workflows, a few engineering tweaks along the way, we were able to achieve what we set our eyes at initially.

  • Added dictionaries and spell checkers for the 10 scripts
  • Added Hyphenation for the 10 scripts
  • Bundled 1 Indic font family: Adobe Devanagari
  • Included a script that users can run to set relevant defaults and correctly handle imports from Word docs etc.

Even though we started off this effort as a seed project, codenamed as InDesign Indic 1.0, we were able to achieve more than we shot for. InDesign proved not just compatible for the majority of the locales listed above but offered notable support for even the most complex glyphs.

Switch to the World-Ready Composer, an alternate composition engine, with a single click of indicPreferences.js in Window > Utilities > Scripts panel to explore the Indic world in InDesign. By virtue of basic Indic script support in InDesign CS6, you can now type in these languages and characters would shape and render correctly. And yes, there will be more refinements to the Indic Script support in future releases to come.

Let us know what you think and how you plan to use these features.  in InDesign CS6.

5 thoughts on “InDesign CS6…. Welcome to India!”

  1. I am very happy to hear of the progress Adobe has made in making their products work correctly with languages other than English (especially complex-text languages!). Part of my job is book publishing in Cambodia, and we are very happy with the results for the Khmer language. The only fault right now that we continue to face is that the Hunspell API used in InDesign fails to recognize the zero-width-space character U+200B as a break between words. The Khmer language (along with many other languages) does not use “real” spaces between words, and so we use the U+200B space to break words (for line-breaking as well as spell-checking). It would be great to see InDesign adopt the U+200B as a word-breaking character for the Hunspell API so that we could use our Hunspell dictionary with Khmer.

    Thank you,
    Nathan Wells

  2. I need help for Bengali:
    Is it possible to import a text file from BanglaWord into Indesign?
    To explain my situation: I work with Apple MAC OS 10.7.3 and Indesign Design and Web Premium CS 6 European English.
    My Bengali translator has written the text but we are not able to import this text and he is not able to type the text directly into Indesign. He don`t know how to find which letter and ligatures and …
    If we find no solution, are there typesetting offices in India where I can send the text as pdf and they send my back an Indesign file?
    Thanks a lot!

  3. Now Adobe is preparing to launch Indic versions of InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Does Adobe is planning to add more Indian Language fonts similar to “Adobe Devanagari”. I am a font developer and developed few fonts in Telugu. I can be helpful if Adobe is planning to include more languages in addition to Devanagari.

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