We’re finally getting The Great Firewall of China off the ground – set to launch later this month. It was up to me to install the Chinese Language Pack for Movable Type on our server. Installation itself was fairly easy. Somewhat more tricky for a non-Chinese speaker is using the back-end in Chinese mode. Only via intimacy with the UI was I able to negotiate my way around. Let’s see… the Rebuild button is second from the bottom, and the Rebuild Category Indexes option is the third item in the picklist. If you switch languages without either knowing the language or having the muscle memory, you won’t be able to get back to the language selector to return to English mode – you’d have to wander around the labyrinth pecking half-random ’til you got it right.
The key is not just to get menu items to display in Chinese, but to have proper encodings on both the back-end and on your public site. Learned something interesting: If you’re in charset=iso-8859-1 and paste Chinese characters into a form, then save the record and look back at what you just entered, the characters will all be HTML entities (i.e. they’ll render okay for readers, but will be virtually uneditable). The browser does this, not MT. On the other hand, if you’re in charset=UTF-8, the characters are retained properly.
If you set the default encoding to UTF-8 in the MT config file, you’ll affect all blogs under the installation, which is probably not what you want to do. If you just want to affect one blog, leave the config file alone and hard-wire the encoding into the templates for that blog. That covers the public pages. The back-end language is selected per-user, and form encodings are switched automagically.