InDesign Canadian Dictionary Problems

sushi sans's picture

HI All,
I'm having major problems getting the Candian dictionary in InDesign to work in my documents. Our text is breaking in horrible ways right now after I've tried to fix it. Needless to say, my co-workers are angry at me. It was my idea to switch our dictionary to Canadian from US.

After we typeset stories the editors check it for "bad breaks". I thought this was a ridiculous waste of time since we had a Canadian dictionary within the progam that we could apply to our documents. The "bad breaks" occur because the auto-hyphenation of the US dictionary which we've been using up until now. We want our words to break in the Canadian style.

My question is this:

I've changed the InD dictionary preferences of all the computers in the art dept. to the Canadian dictionary. We flowed in our text and typeset it but now how it's hyphenating is worse than ever. It's breaking in very un-canadian and un-american ways.
I can't figure out what I've done wrong and the editors are really annoyed with me. Also, in my preferences, I have "Merge User Dictionary" checked off.

When I'm in a document and go to the dictionary, it's default is ENG. USA and Language: USA

We haven't created a new template for this issue, so I wonder if that's the problem?

Has Adobe played a cruel joke on us? Is there really no Canadian dictionary or like many others, do they just lump us in with the US figuring we're all the same?

Thanks so much for any help or any suggestions anyone can offer.

I'm going to hide out in the bathroom 'til this all blows over.


track and kern's picture

From my experience, and from what I hear others say, is that generally the proofing tools within InD are crap, especially the dictionary. In any language, its garbage as far as I am concerned, and I use it in english. I am forever adding word to the damn thing that should most certainly be part of its lexicon already. You may consider integrating Adobe InCopy into your workflow, as it seems to be something that major publications use now. Essentially, its the linking program that combines the editing capabilities of a processing application with the design capabilities of the layout program. I have never personally used this program, so I have no idea if it is worth the expense, or the hassle of teaching your department. I have heard from a few though, that it works as a great solution to link editors and copywriters with their designer counterparts.

Hope that helps.

sushi sans's picture

Thanks for your help. Yes, we do use InCopy. We had the edit team switch their InCopy prefs to the Canadian dictionary as well. We have had a lot of success with InCopy and it's much easier to use than the Quark counterpart, QPS. Unfortunately, this dictionary thing has just blown up in our face...well, my face. I just can't believe I have to have someone sit beside me with a CDN Oxford dictionary to check that InDesign hyphenated words in the right place. It seems so, well, lame and a big waste of time.

I'm angry that I trusted Adobe to get that part right of their program right.


Nick Shinn's picture

On a related note, there's a full-page ad in the Toronto Star today for MDG Computers, featuring NBA 2006 MVP Steve Nash (a Canadian). Nash has avoided the usual sponsorship opportunities and is plugging MDG, a Canadian computer manufacturer. The headline reads,
LIGHTENING IS NOT SUPPOSE TO STRIKE TWICE. Set in Goudy Bold Caps with faux horizontal scaling and a dropshadow. You'd think they could of use a Canadian typeface, eh?!

track and kern's picture

On another related note, from what I remember from English Classes and such, that you can really hyphenate a word anywhere, as long as you place the hyphen in between syllables, and not just arbitrairly in between two letters. For instance, the word typophile could be hyphenated as:


Is this incorrect? I only ask because if this rule is kosher, then you don't need to sit with the OED and a editing buddy, assuming though that you can sound out your syllables.

P.S.- I am not familiar with Canadian, as I am English, the ones that live in America, not in England.

sushi sans's picture

You're right about that but there's often a preferred hyphenation. At the magazine we have to be extremely consistent about our style so we use the Oxford Canadian Dictionary hyphenation style. Surprisingly, what's recommened is often different from US style of hyphenation. Oh! It's all so boring!

On another note, we found out that people have incorrectly changed their InDesign dictionary prefs so that might be where our stupid problem lies. We're going to start from scratch next issue. New templates and I'm going to change everyone's dictionary prefs myself. I think we're trailblazers on this one!


Eddie 1's picture

This is an old thread, but has become relevant to us lately. I'm an editor at a Canadian magazine. We've just completed a redesign, and suddenly the hyphenation is terrible. It's not just a question of US vs. Canadian vs. UK style (they're all slightly different). Some of the breaks InDesign/InCopy is making aren't acceptable in any dictionary AFAIK. We use Canadian Oxford as our main dictionary, but we'd be willing to use another for hyphenation if InDesign would just do so consistently.

I can't see how the change in body font could affect hyphenation, and our prefs haven't changed with the redesign, as far as we can tell. Any thoughts?

By the way, Track and Kern asks whether you can just break by syllable. That's not always true. From what I remember, US hyphenation tends to break according to the way a word is spoken and UK hyphenation tends to break according to word origin (so a break would fall right before a suffix, even if the pronounced syllable breaks elsewhere). Canadian probably falls in the middle. There are other subtleties that some publications follow, such as not breaking on so-called "liquid ells," a final syllable ending (usually) in "le." We avoid breaking bub-ble, for example.

charles ellertson's picture

There are a number of bugs that pop up with adding a user dictionary to the stock ID dictionary, with both both CS2 and CS3. We've reported this to Adobe, they have acknowledged it, and it *may* change in future releases. We go through bloody hell to use a custom dictionary, and vigilance is required to make sure the correct dictionary is in play with each job.

As to the hyphenation of "typophile":

The usual practice, in the States anyway, is that single vowels stay up. The proper hyphenation is typo-phile.

You will find some of those who don't break before a liquid ell (good idea) extending the notion, so that bubbling is not breakable. I've always felt that bub-bling is OK, bub-ble is not.

Remember that disallowing hyphen points always involves a compromise: word spacing will be more uneven.

emenninga's picture

I'm curious about the types of problems that you guys are seeing. Can you give me examples of words that are incorrectly hyphenating in Canadian English? We try to get as much information as possible back to our dictionary vendors so they can be improved. It sounds serious.

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