5.0360 Multilingual WP (2/144)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Fri, 4 Oct 1991 17:40:57 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0360. Friday, 4 Oct 1991.

(1) Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1991 20:35 EST (118 lines)
Subject: Re: 5.0356 Multilingual WP (3/190)

(2) Date: Fri, 04 Oct 91 10:55:06 BST (26 lines)
From: Donald A Spaeth <GKHA13@cms.glasgow.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 5.0356 Multilingual WP (3/190)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1991 20:35 EST
Subject: Re: 5.0356 Multilingual WP (3/190)

n/j John Hughes is one of the gurus of computer applications to
biblical studies, and I found his lengthy response to Richard
Goerwitz's screed to be both informative and illuminating. I
possess none of the technical expertise of these two gentlemen,
but I do have some practical experience with English/Greek/Hebrew
word processing on the IBM-PC and compatibles. Like Hughes, I
missed the previous discussion of multilingual word processing on
Humanist. Like him, too, I am concerned only with what *works*,
and not at all with the matter of whether or not it is
theoretically elegant, or whether it is the "latest thing" in
computer technology. I would like to comment on a few of
Hughes's specific observations and recommendations:

(1) Unlike Hughes, I have found ScriptureFonts (a
Greek/Hebrew WordPerfect add-in) to be eccentric and unreliable,
especially when it comes to printing. I had high hopes for this
program, since WordPerfect 5.1 is my general word processor of
choice, and I was delighted by the prospect of being able to add
serious Hebrew and Greek capability to it. Now I am resigned to
waiting for WP's own long-promised "Hebrew language module,"
which the company describes as "under development," and which
supposedly will include "full screen font and right-to-left
editing capabilities" (ditto for Arabic; see _WordPerfect Report_
5/3, Fall, 1991, p. 10). Perhaps ScriptureFonts performs well if
you're printing on an HP III with Postscript (I wouldn't know),
but on my more modest Epson FX-850, which is supposedly supported
also, I have experienced all sorts of irregularities, including
one character (shva) that doesn't print out at all--not to
mention the ugliness of the Hebrew font (a matter of taste, I
know, and WP's own Hebrew font is monstrous by any standard).
Zondervan's support people have been friendly but unhelpful,
basically saying that the problems are inherent in the printer
(then why claim to support it?). As I recall, Hughes was
demonstrating ScriptureFonts on behalf of Zondervan when I
purchased it at a scholarly conference. Is there an affiliation?
(I ask this solely for the sake of information, without the
slightest intention of impugning Hughes's integrity or

(2) I also have used the Linguist's Software Hebrew fonts
for Atech's Publisher's Powerpak, which operates within
WordPerfect. The output is very nice (even on an FX-850), but
there are significant drawbacks. First of all, one must contend
with decidedly non-WYSIWYG screen display (even using WP's View
Document feature). And then printing is S-L-O-W: six passes per
line is what makes the output so nice, but imagine printing out a
book manuscript that way! It is not possible to mix Powerpak
fonts and resident printer fonts within the same document, so the
English prints out as slowly as the Hebrew.

(3) Hughes praises Nota Bene several times, without
mentioning that the program seems to be caught in an update-warp
at the moment. I had never been attracted to Nota Bene because
of its high cost and its exceeding complexity. A prototype of
the forthcoming multilingual upgrade, however, called N.B.
Lingua, was demonstrated at a conference that I attended, and I
was terrifically impressed. When I received a promotional flyer
from a dealer offering this new program for $350, I took the
advice of some friends who are N.B. devotees and ordered it.
[N.B. has "devotees"; WordPerfect merely "users" :-)] I was
supposed to receive it in March, 1991. In June, the dealer
called me to say that he had no idea when Lingua would actually
be appearing, but that (at the manufacturer's request) he was
going to put my charge order through anyway, supplying me with
the old version of Notabene and the promise of a free upgrade. I
was not inclined to subsidize development of the dilatory upgrade
in order to receive a program that I didn't want, so I instructed
him not to put the charge through for anything but the advertised
product that I had ordered. And that's where we stand as of this

(4) Hughes does not mention a multilingual word processor
that I have found to be highly functional, namely Megawriter.
There have been development and support problems, to be sure, but
it is easy to use, offers Russian and Arabic in addition to
English, Hebrew, and Greek, and it works very nicely with my FX-
850. There is also a TSR utility called Megawriter Retriever
that converts CCAT Greek and Hebrew Bible texts directly to
Megawriter format and inserts them in a document (ScriptureFonts
does this conversion for WordPerfecu)too, but by a clumsy process
that requires several steps and does not operate from within WP).
Not too long ago, copies of Megawriter v. 3.11 were being sold
for $99.95 by a dealer called Bible House in Searcy, Arkansas,
phone 800-342-4253 or 501-268-9885. This price supposedly
included a free upgrade to v. 4.0, which has never appeared (and
perhaps never will). If it's still available at that price, and
if "portability" is not an issue (for me, as for Hughes, it is
essentially irrelevant), I frankly don't see how anyone could go
wrong with it.

(5) I appreciated Hughes's advice concerning hardware, but
would not be so sanguine about buying Zeos (or any other)
products just because they have the PC Magazine seal of approval.
Even if you're less cynical than I am about the number of
advertising pages taken by the editors' perennial favorites, you
still should see if the business-oriented and speed-crazed
evaluative criteria of PC Magazine are in fact relevant to your
own needs. I have purchased three IBM-clones from local business
people whose equipment and references I checked out, saving
hundreds of dollars over the cheapest mail-order clone
manufacturers in the process, and getting *exactly* what I
wanted. These local businesses have provided loyal support and
service (for 7 years in the case of my first machine--not that
it's needed much). On the other hand, one of my best friends
just bought a Zeos 386/33 which arrived with a defective
motherboard and had to be shipped right back. Now everyone will
have their own strong views on this subject. What I'm suggesting
is that one ought to shy away from recommending specific brands
of hardware, and address the more general issue of what *kind* of
hardware is best suited to particular user needs. Probably few
people are better qualified to do that than John Hughes.

Well, there's more, but this is too long already. With good
wishes, Alan Cooper, Hebrew Union College <acooper@ucbeh>

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------36----
Date: Fri, 04 Oct 91 10:55:06 BST
From: Donald A Spaeth <GKHA13@cms.glasgow.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 5.0356 Multilingual WP (3/190)

This debate has made much so far of what can and cannot be done with
different platforms/OSs. I think more has to be said about the ease
of installation. I use an IBM all the time; in fact, I'm using one
to compose this message. I am happy to believe that the IBM can
be made to do anything (well, perhaps almost anything) that a Mac
can do in the way of multi-lingual wordprocessing. But even the
IBM's fans have to admit that it is hard work which requires
considerable computing expertise. There are too many separate
components which have to be located and chosen and which then have
to fit together precisely correctly: graphics card, software,
printer, printer driver, screen fonts, printer fonts, etc.

How many HUMANISTs have had no problems with any of these items?
I suspect John Hughes has had trouble, but then he is better placed
than most to know how to resolve such problems. Some of
my colleagues are still having trouble getting pound signs to
print instead of hashes or u-acutes; the complexities of setting
up a multilingual system on an IBM compatible are simply beyond

Donald Spaeth
University of Glasgow