newcomer - multilingual text input

Alan K Melby akmttt at
Fri Nov 4 17:49:20 MST 2005

Thanks for the encouragement. Here goes:
I am a certified French-into-English translator, and I am helping out the American Translators Association ( as an unpaid volunteer technical consultant on a project called CCE (computerized certification exam). We have put out an RFP ( ) for a system to allow us to switch from handwritten certification exams to keyboarded exams.
A little background:
The exams will be given at university computer labs, where the source text will be downloaded to the computer the candidate is working on. Then the candidate's translation will be uploaded to a server somewhere and sent to the graders. The computers in the labs will be running Windows. Security is an issue. Candidates are not allowed to consult with colleagues. There is a proctor there to make sure they don't call a colleague on their cell phone to get help with a difficult sentence. Now, with a keyboarded exam, we need to lock down the computer so they can't contact a colleague by e-mail, instant messaging, FTP, etc., but the computermust still access the predesignated server to save the translation to the server every five minutes or so.  And a lot of time is put into creating grading instructions for the passages, so we use them at multiple exam sitting in several cities and change the passages only once a year. So the candidate must not be able to save or transmit a copy of the
 source text passages.
Now how Linux comes in:
Some vendors propose a solution where the proctor runs a Windows application on each computer that includes a text editor and the download/upload logic -- and features to try to lock down the Windows computer.  One vendor proposes a solution where the proctor re-boots each computer with a Linux CD that has a locked-down version of Linux on it.  So which is the better approach? I assume you guys on this list will say that we should use Linux. Several people, including Professor Roper of the BYU CS Department, have told me we will be able to produced a locked down bootable Linux CD without too much work.  I even have an initial test CD.
Where I need help:
The problem is that we do not know if we can provide keyboard layouts and input methods for the various language we give exams into -- keyboard layouts and input methods that will act the same as the keyboards and input methods they are currently using on their own computers. Most translators use  Windows PCs. Hardly any use Linux PCs. A few use Macs. So the question, finally, is this: has anyone has experience entering text into a text both in Firefox under Linux in any of the following languages (in alphabetical order)?
Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Sorry to be so long winded, but I needed to provide some context for my question.
Alan K. Melby
= = =

Jonathan Ellis <jonathan at> wrote:
On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 17:12:31 -0700, "Shane Hathaway"
> I like to think this list is a lot friendlier than the lists that beat
> people up for not reading archives. Redundancy is often useful anyway. 
> Ask away!

And everyone here is a huge fan of off-topic threads, so don't let that
stop you either! :)
C++ is history repeated as tragedy. Java is history repeated as farce. --Scott McKay

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