This is a technical post, to help people who like me have been struggling with MS Word and Japanese text.

I’ve decided to switch to doing preparation for my warhammer 3 campaign in Japanese, just so I get used to the language a little more. But I want to put furigana over the words I am not familiar with, so I don’t have to look at separate tables of vocabulary while I’m gaming (warhammer vocabulary is really really weird). Unfortunately, furigana don’t have an automatic menu option in MS Word for Mac OS X the way they do for MS Word in Windows. I did a search on how to get furigana to work on a mac, and found this advice:

  • Install a software package called the MS Office Language Register on your Apple
  • Drag the MS Word application onto the language register icon in the applications folder
  • Choose your language
  • You can then access the furigana using the Format->Phonetic Guide option (see below)

The language register program is on your MS Office disk in the “Additional Tools” folder.

I tried this and my MS Word slowed down to a crawl, which on a computer like the one I’m using is a thoroughly unacceptable phenomenon. I tried uninstalling the language register but this didn’t help. So, what to do?

I’m sure other people have this problem (that Word is slow after installing the language register), and if you do then the reason is probably the same as mine:

  • The Language Register is already installed when you do a full install of MS Office
  • When I read on the internet “install the language register” I naturally did so by dragging and dropping it into my applications folder
  • It actually needs to be in /Applications/MS Office/Additional Tools
  • If you install it in the applications folder you’ll have two versions of the software, and your computer will die horribly, in the arse (as they say)

So, my guess is that for most people out there the best way to get furigana on word in mac os is:

  • Check in the /Applications/MS Office/Additional Tools folder for the language reference software
  • If it’s not there, drag and drop it there from the install disc
  • Once it’s there, drag the MS Word application onto it
  • Choose the language you want to use
  • Bob’s your uncle, MS Word will have the power to apply furigana without any pain or slowness at all

Note that when you do this, some of the menus in word (e.g. print) turn Japanese, so you need to have some familiarity with Japanese computer menus (or know the layout of the menus in your sleep) to survive this bit.

Applying furigana

Applying furigana is a little more tricky than in windows. You need to do the following:

  • Highlight the word of interest
  • Select the Format->Phonetic Guide option
  • In the text box at the top, type in the hiragana
  • Click apply (or apply to all)

Note you need to type the hiragana yourself, not like in word.

Note there is an “apply to all” option, that you can use to have the furigana through the whole document; you will need to do this once the words are all written (I think).

To remove hiragana you need to do the same thing, but select “remove”. I think this applies to all words in the document instantly.

So it’s a bit trickier than Windows but not hard.

A note on rikaichan

Get it. It will change your life. You can save word documents you don’t understand into html and then open them in firefox, and your life will never be the same. Plus you can read newspapers without having to learn 3500 kanji, which makes it a lot easier to practice reading.

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