One of the first comments from the feedback from some professional expats working in Istanbul was: how to type in the Turkish characters.

Turkish alphabet 

The Turkish language has 29 letters in the alphabet including six letters which aren’t found in the English alphabet (but only four letters which aren’t found in the German alphabet since German shares the umlauted ö and ü).

In return for the extra letters, Turkish has streamlined their alphabet somewhat and omitted the letters W, Q and X.

Turkish was originally written with Arabic script until the Latin alphabet was adopted during Atatürk period.

For a long time, it was beleived that K was chosen over Q because Mustafa Kemal Atatürk prefered his name spellt with a K, although this is debatable

The importance of the Turkish letters cannot be underestimated, as evidenced in this most tragic of stories:

http://gizmodo.com/382026/a-cellphones-missing-dot-kills-two-people-puts-three-more-in-jail

At any rate, the modified letters are used regularly in Turkish words however writing them on a standard QWERTY keyboard is not straight forward.

Solutions

Technologically, we have two options:

  1. A mapping system

Users can enter a series key combinations (see below) which the software recognises and then displays the desired letter.

turkish_key_combinations

This is quick but does require some remembering. Personally, I reckon the combinations are fairly easy to remember apart from the ‘closed i’. The modified Turkish ı has the same as our capital I and the dotted i has a capital I with a dot. It makes sense in Turkish but it’s the opposite way round for us.

  1. Extra buttons in the interface.

This system couldn’t be easier: you click on the letter you want and it appears in your text box.

turkish_special_characters

The downside is that after typing, you move over to the mouse, select your letter, move back to keyboard, type, and, if need be, then back to the mouse (etc, etc) depending how many special letters you need per word. Consequently, the process is slightly more time (and labour!) consuming.

It’s difficult to say which is better…

So we’re integrating both! This was partly due to the emergence of two camps in the development group. Those who can remember the key combinations and users who prefer to ‘point and click’. Or as the others would say, ‘those who cannot remember the key combinations and those who cannot be bothered to lift their hands from the keyboard’. The issue is thus resolved!

As for mobile and tablet device users: they can usually import an Turkish keyboard. But this causes other issues as the pop-up keyboards take up half the usuable screen

These updates are currently in the beta version and are expected to be uploaded at the start of next week along with a few extra


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