Not being anywhere near proficient in pinyin and not knowing the majority of Chinese characters, what’s a girl to do to include Chinese in her blogs?
I’ve installed the IME (Input Method Editor) and aggravatingly turn it on in the middle of doing other stuff on my computer, not knowing exactly which keystroke does it. It’s an acceptable method when I’m pretty sure I know the pinyin, either from my rudimentary pinyin education or it’s a no-brainer (e.g., “ding”).
My mother is from Canton province and grew up speaking Cantonese. She learned Mandarin in China, without pinyin, so IME does not work at all for her. Given English is her second language, using the same alphabet to teach her corresponding pinyin is really difficult.
Without installing a fancy system of radical-based input, the way I showed her how to input Chinese was this: look up the word using nciku English-Chinese dictionary and copy-and-paste the characters. These days, the standards for displaying Chinese on our U.S. Windows systems is pretty universal so it works most of the time. Sometimes nciku is dead-slow and I recently came upon a case where it wouldn’t give me the traditional characters for “what”*. When nciku fails me, you can Google anything, then copy-and-paste it.
That said, I would love to learn how to do radical-based input!
* This is the fugly simplified form: 什么. In the brackets where nciku usually puts the traditional form, they listed 什麼. But the true traditional form I had to find else where and is 甚麼.