Hyperglot

About

Hyperglot helps type designers answer a seemingly simple question of language support in fonts: When can I use font A to set texts in language B? It takes a pragmatic answer by identifying a standard character set for each orthography used by a language.

Hyperglot’s web app allows users to preview a database of over 640 languages. Select languages on the left to preview their orthographies on the right. You can also see each language’s autonym*, speaker count, and the shapes, Unicode code points, and names of all the characters. Further options allow you to import, export, and filter the selected languages.

Alternatively, you can choose a font and have the app detect the languages it supports. The app runs in the browser and comes ready to try with selected fonts from the multilingual Rosetta library, but it also works with any font file you have on your computer. To work, Hyperglot requires only the basic list of Unicode code points from your font to be submitted to our servers, and we don’t collect any information about the fonts you use. In other words, it’s safe to use with your current font licence.

We display a basic character set derived from standard or standard-like orthographies of a language together with auxiliary characters. Note that only actively used orthographies are used when detecting language support in a font. Other, secondary or historical, orthographies are displayed just for information purposes.

Where relevant, we also provide a brief design note containing tips about shaping and positioning requirements that go beyond Unicode character code points. Hyperglot should only be used to detect whether a font can be considered for use with a particular language. It does not say anything about the quality of a font’s design.

To help you integrate Hyperglot into your font and software development workflows, we’re also sharing a free command-line tool and Python package. If you need more information about this, please refer to the project’s GitHub repository.

Hyperglot is a work in progress, and the validity of its language data varies. To help you assess the validity of the results you view, each language in the database comes with a label indicating the quality of the data we have for it (e.g. some are considered drafts, some have been verified). We have checked the information against various online and offline sources and we are committed to continually improve it. However, we admit that mapping all the languages of the world in this way is beyond our capacity – we need help from users of each respective language! So, if you spot an issue or notice a language that is altogether missing, please get in touch. We’d welcome your contribution.

We’ve made Hyperglot’s database open-source to allow it to grow and enable others to use it. Hopefully, it will help font developers support more languages and perhaps even feed back into mainstream sources used by software developers around the world.


The Hyperglot database and tools were originally developed by Rosetta, world typography specialists, publishers, and makers of original fonts addressing the needs of global typography. Our goal is to enable people to read better in their native languages.

ROSETTA WEBSITE →

Disclaimers

The database and tools are provided AS IS. We have done our best to expose incomplete records by marking the data.

We use ISO 639-3 to identify languages. The standard presents a singular opinion. Others might find languages missing or consider some languages to be dialects.

To present shapes of the characters in the database, we use Noto Sans for practical reasons. It is a great design for some languages, but lacking for others. This choice of font does not serve as our design recommendation.


Notes

* Autonym is the name of the language in the language itself. We provide it spelled out for each orthography.