From Local Script to Global Standard: The Lifecycle of a Script in Unicode

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The first step to making the world’s languages accessible on digital platforms is to get the characters in their writing systems into the Unicode Standard. Although great headway has been made, over 100 scripts are not yet in Unicode and many more are only marginally supported on digital platforms. This talk, by the head of the Script Encoding Initiative at UC Berkeley and a principal script proposal author for SEI, will provide insight into the entire script encoding process by presenting two case studies related to scripts for the Gondi languages of India. The presentation will trace the process from the “first contact” with a script, to identification and analysis for encoding, to engagement and collaboration with users, and the standards approval process itself. Yet, approval of a script is only half of the story. The talk will continue by discussing the requirements for implementing new Unicode encodings so that users can communicate in their scripts and languages in the digital realm, including rendering, input methods, fonts, and locale data.

Deborah (Debbie) Anderson is a Researcher in the Department of Linguistics at UC Berkeley. She founded and runs the Script Encoding Initiative, a project dedicated to encode the world's scripts and characters in the Unicode Standard. Debbie holds a Ph.D. from UCLA in Indo-European Studies (with an emphasis on linguistics).

Anshuman Pandey is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Linguistics at UC Berkeley, funded by a Google Research Award. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan. Over the past decade, Anshuman has developed Unicode standards for numerous scripts and characters of Asia, for which he was given a Unicode Bulldog Award.


6:30-7:00 Social time with snacks
7:00-8:00 Presentation and discussion
8:00-8:30 Social time