Display Koine Greek quickly and easily in most* web browsers

I’ve been finding it a frustration for a while now that the standard WordPress editor that I use seems to have an inherent dislike for Greek – saving a draft through the visual editor returns Greek text like this: ??????. Useless.
As a quick workaround for this, you can type in unicode (α β γ δ) which produces α β γ δ etc.

This is fine for the odd word, but for sentences, or even paragraphs, it’s nothing short of a big hassle, not to mention time consuming.

unicorn

I’m sure there are lots of tools out there which would help you to bulk convert text, I have recently discovered Unicorn. This is a simple text editor for use with Latin, ancient Greek, and Hebrew text. It also has a integrated Latin and Greek dictionary and runs on the Windows, Mac OS X, and all varieties of Unix.

Unicorn supports keyboards for Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. You choose the keyboard you want from the menu with a Edit|Change and press the Escape key twice, the background of the editor turns Green and you can type in Greek.

This is the really exciting bit (yes, geeky I know): you can then copy and paste into unicorn greek text in bulk, and convet this into HTML escape codes to paste into your blog post by doing the following:

1. Find a big chunk of biblical greek.

zhubert

I love using The Resurgence Greek Project for looking up verses. I was able to look up 2 Cor 5:17.

escape

2. Cut and paste this into Unicorn and convert to unicode

To do this you highlight the greek text and click on Tools|HTML Escape Codes.

This triggers another window to pop up with 2 Cor 5:17 in Unicode.

3. Paste this Unicode into your blog post

unicode

… and there you have 2 Cor 5:17 in Greek with all the diacritical marks as per below!

ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ καινὴ κτίσις τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν ἰδοὺ γέγονεν καινά

[If you use WordPress, be mindful not to switch to using the visual editor at any point as this seems to replace the unicode with the dreaded ????? yet again.]

If you’re viewing this post in a web browser which isn’t displaying the greek text properly, please let me know by leaving a comment below. You might first find it helpful to try and install a greek font and see if that helps. Here are a whole load for you to try.

* IE Workaround

Internet Explorer has some problems when it comes to displaying polytonic Greek Unicode text. Unfortunately users of versions 6, 5.5, or 5.01 may see little square boxes instead of accented vowels. If this bothers you, you can update your stylesheet (often called style.css) to use any of the following fonts: Palatino Linotype, Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Grande, or Gentium. The vast majority of users should have one of these fonts available!

I do this by adding the following css:

.greek {
font-family:”Palatino Linotype”, “Arial Unicode MS”,
“Lucida Grande”, Gentium, sans-serif;
}

… and then put any text you use within the “greek” class.

That *should* solve it.

Update:

You may also be interested to read my post on converting betacode to koine Greek as you type.

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