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I’m translating to Italian an English manual for a game about 1980’s Poland and it often mentions the Solidarity movement, which is spelled Solidarność in Polish and Solidarity in the manual.

Here in Italy, we never used anything but Solidarność in our books and newspapers. Starting to call it Solidarietà, i.e. translating the word into the used language like the author of the original manual does, would feel very strange.

Hence, the author never had to use the ś and ć glyphs, while I need to.

The font used in the manual, Meridien LT std Medium, has the ś and ć glyphs, but they do not resemble the standard s and c glyphs (they look like they were ported from a different, Sans Serifs font).

How can I go about getting an ś or ć that looks like it’s been written in the right font?

Anything goes, from using a very similar font to using a software to modifying the font, importing the tick from a letter that already has it, as long as it is free. This is a homemade project published under CC-BY-US 3.0 and I won’t die if it has some blemishes, even if I’d rather polish (ha!) it to my best.


If it helps, I’m doing my translation in OOo-Writer. Yes, Open Office. Because I don’t have InDesign here at home and Scribus was too hard to grok with my deadline.

  • My compliments for doing such a document and then giving it away by CC. I know about deadlines, but I encourage you to look again into Scribus for your next project; it is getting better every year. Scribus 1.5.3 (coming soon) will much better handle combining diacritics and "exotic" languages. Scribus is so powerful, you could - just for fun - even make the accents appear right inside the character "c", because you got total control over vertical and horizontal positioning of each character. I am not affiliated with Scribus, except as a happy user. – Martin Zaske Jan 18 '17 at 14:13
  • @MartinZaske Unless it gets a WYSIWYG paragraph editor, I don't think I will be using it again... – Zachiel Jan 18 '17 at 19:31
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If you do not want to switch to a different font, I see two quick and dirty options:

  • As the font has a single ´ as a character, you can type in your document and insert negative space in between the two, to correctly position the accent. In LibreOffice, You can do this via Format → Character → Position → Spacing → Condensed. For some reason, this is limited to 2.0 pt, but you can circumvent this by inserting zero-width characters, e.g., the zero-width non-joiner. This will almost certainly break such things as searches.

  • Open the font in a free font editor and add the desired characters. For example, in FontForge, all you have to do is select the empty box for ś and choose Element → Build → Build Accented Glyph. You probably want to adjust the accent’s horizontal position after this. (Also do not forget to export and install the resulting font.) Note that this may destroy certain features of the font such as hinting, but then again, this font may not have such in the first place – best compare the results directly to see any such problems.

The font used in the manual, Meridien LT std Medium, has the "ś" and "ć" glyphs

At least for the version I found, this is not the case. The glyphs you see are probably chosen from some fallback font.

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    OOo has a worse spacing setting, but the FontForge way worked fine. – Zachiel Jan 3 '17 at 14:51
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Use a "Unicode combining acute accent" character (U+0301) combined with the regular s and c characters. e.g.

Solidarność

NB The combining acute accent character should be typed AFTER the character which you want to combine it with.

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    Unless I am very much mistaken, this requires the font to support the combining character with appropriate negative spacing – which does not seem to be the case for this font. – Wrzlprmft Jan 4 '17 at 8:43
  • Combining diacritics are made exactly for this purpose. This is a very valid answer, not least because the OP is open to change to another "very similar font". In properly created fonts, combining diacritics have inbuilt "automatic" negative spacing, i.e. they will align with the previous character. OpenOffice can handle that very well, so time is best spent looking for a font which looks similar and is "ready for Polish". Why not google for other CC publishing efforts in Poland and spy what fonts they are using... – Martin Zaske Jan 18 '17 at 14:06

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