Many kinds of characters are used in computer systems, even for the same language. This sometimes causes a lot of inconvenience.
In Chinese world, there are two kind of writing systems: simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese. The former is mainly used in mainland China and Singapore, while the latter is used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It’s a lot of trouble to convert an article written in one system to another. In order to make this easy, I wrote this simplified & traditional Chinese characters online conversion tool. With this tool, you can convert an article in a snap. This tool is actively used by Christian organizations in Vancouver where materials in both simplified and traditional Chinese are needed. Some Chinese language students also find it useful to learn characters or convert materials in the two writing systems. Even some professional translators are users of this tool.
In Chinese & Japanese character sets, there are full-width characters for English letters, numbers and symbols. I don’t really know when they should be used. In my opinion, in most cases we should use the ordinary half-width characters. But when you turn on the input method, it’s very easy to type a lot of full-width characters in an article. It’s very troublesome to change all these stuffs from full-width to half-width, or vice versa. This full-width & half-width character online conversion tool provides a quick solution.
A problem with Japanese character sets is that the not-so-good but old half-width katakana characters are still widely used nowadays. These characters are mainly used in following two situations:
- bank fund transfer
- mobile phone oriented web sites
Maybe it’s very tricky to renew all bank systems and ATM’s to switch from half-width katakana to full-width ones, when you wire some money via internet, you must enter the beneficiary’s information in half-width katakana (and English letters, numbers and symbols when applicable). The problem is that usually people show you their information in full-width katakana in their web sites or emails: if they write them in half-width ones, these characters may show scrambled. As a result, you have to type these information by yourself with half-width characters. This is error-prone, also sometimes you don’t have Japanese input method installed at all. So it’s always painful to wire money using web sites of Japanese banks. In order to make this process easier, I developed this full-width & half-width katakana online conversion tool.
BTW, I really don’t think it looks good to show a bunch of half-width katakana characters in an article full of full-width kanji and hiragana characters. But due to the size of mobile phones, it seems that there is no other choice to make Japanese mobile web sites show reasonable amount of information in a small screen, unless everyone throw away their mobile phones at once and switch to something like iPhone…
These tools, together with the Suzhou numerals & Arabic numerals online conversion tool, forms the online character conversion tool set provided by me. It’s advised to check the result thoroughly after conversion, and of course I won’t be responsible for any bad result that these tools may cause. Hope these tools can help you out and make your life easier in Asia.