Will an ipod display international characters?
October 19, 2006 1:35 AM   Subscribe

How does the new gen ipod handle international characters in ID3 tags of an mp3 file?

So I'm thiiis close to getting myself a 30 gig video ipod, and was wondering it'll scale to internationalized characters. My mp3 collection (all legit) is mostly world music, and I have, on prior occassions, painstakingly ensured that all non-English songs have their ID3 tags in their native languages. Which means, my iTunes collection has song titles and artists information in, among other scripts, Chinese, French, Thai, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Punjabi.

I asked the sales guy at the local Apple showroom about this, but I don't think he understood the question; he was polite about it, but he appeared incredulous as to why anyone would presume non-English songs wont play on an ipod.

I googled, of course, but I don't seem to be hitting the right keywords, which is why I'm asking here.

(If it's any help, I know that itunes for Windows supports unicode; heck, that's where I editted most of my entries.)
posted by the cydonian to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As long as your ID3v2 tags are in Unicode everything should be good. I used to have Chinese text on some of my track names back in the distant past of my 2nd generation iPod.

I imagine if you are using iTunes it does it all for you.
posted by public at 1:52 AM on October 19, 2006

A link off of "Fixing Language Problems in iTunes/iPod" suggests that if you have valid ID3v2 data in your files in iTunes, the information will transfer over to the iPod and be rendered properly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 AM on October 19, 2006

The iPod does understand Unicode, but I think that the font it uses out of the box only has characters for European languages (including accented characters), Japanese, Korean and Chinese (Traditional and Simplified). I think it will have trouble displaying your Thai, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Punjabi.

There are third-party hacks for displaying some of those languages, some of which are linked to from the page Blazecock Pileon linked to.
posted by chrismear at 2:10 AM on October 19, 2006

Here's the official word from the specs page:

Languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish

Additional language support for display of song, album and artist information: Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Ukrainian

Given that they specifically have a section for 'additional support for display of song, album and artist information', it's a pretty sure bet that if it were capable of displaying Thai, etc., they would list it there. Since they don't, I'm pretty certain it isn't.
posted by chrismear at 2:13 AM on October 19, 2006

Appreciate the responses, everyone!

Blazecock Pigeon: Thanks for the link! That was really helpful; I now know where to begin.

chrismear: Thought as much. I do remember seeing Chinese characters in a colleague's ipod, but Indic characters was an interesting question to ask. However, here's the fun part: because the basic structure is the same for Thai/Khmer/Devnaagri/etc, I'm thinking it'll be an interesting thing to try and get them on an ipod. Need to do further research, of course, but I have a hunch it might be possible to do it very easily. Thanks for looking up, in any case!
posted by the cydonian at 6:34 AM on October 19, 2006

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