January 01, 2005

×åñòèòà Íîâà Ãîäèíà

According to the New Year Wishes Around the World web site, "Happy New Year" in Bulgarian is:

×åñòèòà Íîâà Ãîäèíà
Bulgarian is not one of my better languages, but that didn't seem quite right. If you copy this into a greeting card and send it to a Bulgarian friend, as the site suggests, I'm not sure what reaction you'll get. That last word looks a lot like an attempt at transcribing Howard Dean's notorious howl. You might lose a friend, or start a war.

A little investigation shows that the problem is that the web page tells the browser that it is encoded in ISO-8859-1, which is used for a lot of Western European languages, but the Bulgarian is actually in Microsoft's CP1251 encoding. What you're supposed to see is this:

Честита Нова Година

I'm afraid that isn't the only problem. The Hungarian isn't right either:

Boldog £j vet k¡v nok!
It isn't in ISO-8859-1 as the page claims to be, nor in CP1251 like the Bulgarian. It's in the IBM 852 encoding. It should look like this:
Boldog új vet kívánok!
A good New Year's resolution would be to use Unicode. It's a Good Thing™.

Posted by Bill Poser at January 1, 2005 02:15 AM