Re: Blind people typing Chinese

Clement Chou

Thanks for the fascinating information Larry!

On 4/7/19, Larry Wang <> wrote:
There are numerous Chinese input methods. This was a key problem when
processing Chinese with computers. There are roughly one hunderd
thousand number of Chinese characters. About six thousand of them are
mostly used in daily life. But there are only about one hunderd keys on
keyboard. At first publishing houses use big key board with many keys.
Input methods based on pinyin or zhuyin is not very popular at that time
since you need to spend many time on finding the correct character you
want to type. Also users at that time mostly rely on word processing
jobs, accuracy and efficiency is important.
A man called Wang JiangMin invented WuBi.With that you can type in most
Chinese character within four letters, as long as you memorize a set of
rules and practice for about a week.
At about 2006, people brought smart prediction into pinyin input
methods. The experience of pinyin input methods are much better now.
Since most people in mainland China have already learned pinyin in
primary school. Other types of input methods which requires additional
rules practice start fading away. Few people learn other input methods.
Wubi and other input methods are now learned by professionals and
enthusiasts. Sougou is the most popular one of these pinyin input
methods. But smart prediction is based on collecting your keyborad input
data, so there is a privacy issue. Sougou pinyin also pop up
advertisement sometimes. So I do not recomment using this. Input methods
bundled with operation system is just enough.

Support for microsoft pinyin and wubi is broken in windows 10 and 8.1 so
you may find it hard to use.

As for braille.
There are three types of braille in mainland China. Two of them are in
NVDA, another one has just been published about a year ago and has not
gain popularity yet. However all of them are based on pinyin. They
cannot represent the shape of Chinese characters. Most schools for blind
in mainland China do not teach how to write Chinese characters. So even
if you use braille input, you still have to choose between many
candidates. Someone created a braille based on Chinese characters, but
it is not widely used. Braille display is more expensive than smart
phones and computers and its usage is very limited. Braille has
advantage in proof reading and learing but the nature of Chinese braille
make braille less appealing for students. Word segmentation and tone
mark makes braille even harder to understand. Even braile itself is not
popular among blind people in China.

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