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Chinese input methods for computers

From Academic Kids

Because the Chinese language uses a logographic script—one in which one "character" corresponds roughly to one "word" or meaning—there are vastly more characters, or glyphs, than there are keys on a standard computer keyboard.

A variety of keyboard input method editors or IMEs have been designed to allow the input of Chinese characters using standard keyboards.

Keyboard input methods can be classified in three main types: by encoding, by pronunciation, and by structure of the characters. The following are just some samples of Chinese input methods. Many of those input methods have variations. Full Pinyin and Double Pinyin are variations of the Pinyin input method. In addition, the methods which require the user to select a character from a menu generally have sophisticated methods for guessing which characters the user intends based on context.

Different people are most comfortable with different methods and each standard has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, for someone who is already familiar with Pinyin, the Pinyin method can be learned most quickly. However, the maximum typing rate is limited, and learning the system is difficult. Wubi takes much effort to learn, but expert typists can enter text much faster than the phonetic methods. Because of these factors, there is no likelihood of a "standard" method evolving.

Other means of inputting Chinese characters are not widely used but include stylus and tablet, with hand-writing recognition software, as the most common alternative, and then OCR and voice recognition. As with the English language, all these methods suffer from high error rates, though the error rates are acceptable to many users.

Yet some systems allow Chinese characters to be input by typing their equivalent English words.

Pronunciation

Character structure

Combination of pronunciation and character structure

See also

Character encodings

Main article: Chinese character encoding

Other

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