Originally Posted by Sanakreon
Here is my japanese keyboard of a laptop that I bought in japan.
There are only 4 special keys(circled red) to change between kanji, hiragana, katakana, wide characters and narrow characters. Notice that because of these keys the space bar button is much shorter comparing to that of english keyboards.
Also each key with a letter on it also contains a hiragana symbol, but japanese rarely use it. For the most part everybody is typing hiragana in english letters and then changing it to kanji by pressing space bar button. For example on my laptop the default input method was set to this, so if you wanted to change to writing directly in hiragana you would need to change some language settings.
So the way you input kanji on this keyboard is as follows. For example you want to input the word 都市, which means "town". In hiragana that would be とし and in english letters it is "tosi".
So first you type tosi on the keyboard by using the english letters. As the letters make syllables found in hiragana, the words will be changed into hiragana directly. So while you type t+o+s+i, what you see on the monitor will be as follows: ｔ, と, とｓ, とし.
The syllables here are : to(と)+si(し).
Once you type とし、 now it is necessary to change that into the corresponding kanji. Unfortunately there are many kanjis in japanese that correspond to とし in hiragana. So you need to somehow obtain the list of all possible kanjis that can be read as tosi, and choose the one that you need. Fortunately the computer does that for you.
Once you type とし and press space bar, computer will give you his best guess on what kanji could that be. If you see that this kanji is incorrect, you can press spacebar again, and then a list of all kanji variations corresponding to とし will appear. You can scroll the list by pressing spacebar or up or down buttons and then pressing enter key to confirm your selection, pressing corresponding numeral key, or by using mouse.
Here is how it appears:
After typing t+o+s+i:
Wow - is it that "complicated"? No wonder my "backwater" Thai IDN domains where the locals are fortunate to have the entire alphabet "there" on the keyboard get many more type-ins than a typical Japanese name....
You know, I'm beginning to think Thai IDNs aren't merely such an "exotic alternative destination for your IDN investment bucks" after all. Consider the evidence:
1) Thais love .com, very little affinity for their .th ccTLD which as everyone knows is covered in more tape than a CSI crime scene.
2) But better than that, Thais really love ".com" in Thai = ".คอม"
. What evidence do I have for that statement?
a) Thais speak and write Thai, not English!
b) When Thais write ".com" in website titles, or incorporate into logos, most sites use the Thai ".คอม" not the English ".com". That is even knowing that ".คอม" doesn't exist yet. Imagine when it does exist ....
c) (For you hardcore statisticians rather than lovers of "fluffy" arguments) -
A few stats from truehits.net, showing what Thais search for when they are looking for a full domain name:
น่ารักดอทคอม = 6336 searches in December 2009
narak.com = 4257 searches in December 2009
น่ารัก.com = 93 searches in December 2009
เด็กดีดอทคอม = 42533 searches in December 2009
เด็กดี.คอม = 7378 searches in December 2009
เด็กดี.com = 1689 searches in December 2009
If nothing else, this shows that Thais are very comfortable with "คอม" being *their* version of ".com", even before it exists. When they start getting used to domains that begin with Thai letters, they just will not switch to ASCII ".com" - they will type "คอม", and ".com" will go straight to the Thai history books.
So that says to me I am already losing a huge % of type-ins because Thais are typing in ".คอม", not ".com".
Add to that the type-ins being lost because of the 40% of sleepy Thais still using IE6 ......
If type-ins were bad, the potential "multipliers" wouldn't mean much. But type-ins have already doubled every year or so for the last four years.
3) For a country where Wikipedia says only 20M speak Thai, you would think search volumes would be very low compared with more populous languages .... wrong!
a) For a start, 60M people in Thailand can speak Thai, its the official language, nobody gets taught to read and write "Iisaan" in school every day. So when typing Thai into the internet, its 60M not 20M. Any Thai can tell you that.
b) For "big volume" search terms that you can compare across the major IDN languages, Thai comes out very well. For both "music" and "games" it comes out top 5 or 6 in terms of absolute search numbers. We aren't talking Bulgaria or Hindi here (no offense either language), Thais are avid searchers for popular terms. I'm not publishing results for this as its part of a larger project but check out Google Insight if you want to do your own research here.
Sorry for the rant, I just get rather tired of seeing "top IDN destinations" and nobody ever seems to mention Thai as a possibility even. The "normal suspects" are fine, each has strengths and weaknesses, but when everyone is getting in a frenzy and the prices just keep going up and up, don't forget the "exotic alternatives" like Thailand, its not just a great vacation destination
And btw, I'm not selling anything here. My Thai IDNs are locked up now for the next 12 months at least. If I was on a sales drive, I would have written this before the auction.