I am testing out a new Cantonese phonetic input system that is available for free download:
I just started using it…so It might take me a while to offer a more comprehensive review.
While there are many Character input systems for Mandarin…very few resources are available for non-native Cantonese speakers. If you know of any other systems that I can try for free…let me know…I am all ears!
I have been using Cantoinput for a long time. It is a barebones input system that uses a Java window to convert English Romanization Systems into Chinese Characters. It uses Yale and Jyutping ( two of the most popular Cantonese Romanization systems), along with Mandarin Pinyin. It will also display both Simplified and Traditional characters.
It is quite easy to use…my only complaint is that it requires “cut and paste” from the java window onto any application I am using. This process is extremely slow, and makes for difficulty in live internet chat situations.
CPIME is a Cantonese Romanization system that works within the existing windows language framework. The major advantage of this system is that it allows English Romanization to be typed directly into the browser…or internet chat session. no need for cut and paste, and no need for start-up, it is always running (on your windows language bar).
Another advantage to both input systems is that they support Characters that are specific to Cantonese. While NJStar and other similar programs have Cantonese input options, They were really made for Mandarin, and lacks some of the characters used in mostly in spoken and colloquial Cantonese or those found in some Major Hong Kong Publications.
While CPIME might certainly be faster than Canto input…I have already seen several drawbacks.
First…the input system is selected at download…and the input system CAN NOT be changed. This means that when I selected “Yale input” I can turn it on or off…but it will only find Characters using Yale input, and only type Traditional Characters. This also means that if I know a character using Mandarin pinyin, but not Cantonese, I am unable to change the input method in order to find the character another way.
Another disappointment is that The downloaded CPIME file has no installation documentation…but fortunately the website is very helpful (if you have Windows XP). Follow the website instructions for download and installation. If you have Windows Vista (Which I have) and are not technically minded…the installation walkthrough might be difficult to follow.
Another minor complaint I have about the product…is that when the “spacebar” is hit…it changes to another character or page, and I am forced to type the number of the character or group of characters i want to select. This is especially frustrating for common words like “我”， or “你”，that are usually selected by typing “ngo” or “nei” and hitting the space bar. This will take some getting used to.
In any case, at least I now have both, and both systems are free to use.