Wikimedia Blog/Drafts/Can't read your language in an Android phone? Here is a hack for Indian languages

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  • Can't read your language in an Android phone? Here is a hack for Indian languages
  • Hack for reading Indian languages in Android phones

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  • Many users speaking Indian languages often fail to read their language content including Wikipedia in Android phones. With over 350 million Indian mobile users already by last year and many more coming in the near future, lack of access to information in native languages could be alarming to a project like Wikipedia. This post shows some light on simple hacks to enable Indian-language scripts in mobile devices.

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Tutorial to learn enabling Odia in Android

Even today, many Android users speaking Indian languages often fail to read their language content including Wikipedia in phones. With over 350 million Indian mobile users already by last year and many more coming in the near future, lack of access to information in native languages could be alarming to a project like Wikipedia. Where some of the largely spoken Indian languages like Bangla, Hindi and Tamil have been there in many Android phones, some of the languages like Odia were not supported until Android 5.1.1. Android device has a folder /system/fonts which contains font files for different languages. Though Android keeps adding new font files with its newer versions, all devices are not compatible with newer Android updates. The basic solution is to manually add font files on the device for which the device needs to be rooted for write access. Rooting requires little bit of computer skills and can be cumbersome and also may void the phone's warranty. Another way to get a font support is to use fallback fonts on a browser. In this method, one can read the missing fonts only on the browser. This method has been successfully tested for Odia fonts and the steps are mentioned below.

1. Browse https://or.wikipedia.org/s/cx.If you see check boxes or empty page, this means Odia font is missing on your Android phone.
2. Get Mozilla Firefox from Google Play for your device. [ URL: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox&hl=en ]
3. Launch Firefox and go to the Oriya fonts package Add-Ons page and select “Add to Firefox".
4. Say Install in the confirmation pop-up window and re-launch the Firefox browser.
5. Now try accessing the same page as in point#1, you should be able to read Odia fonts now.

Nihar Kumar Dalai, Wikimedian and IT Professional
Subhashish Panigrahi, Wikimedian and Programme Officer, Accesss To Knowledge, Centre for Internet and Society (CIS-A2K)

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